740.00119 European War 1939/559: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Matthews) to the Secretary of State

864. My telegram No. 857, October 31, noon.36 Georges Bonnet37 who as the Department is aware has maintained some contact with the Germans sought an interview with me this morning accompanied by Jules Henry38 in order to plead the cause of peace and appeasement. It was the usual story that Europe could not afford a war every 25 years; that France’s present situation is intolerable and she must seek collaboration with her German neighbor and that the continuance of war in Europe for any period of time will result in such destruction of lives and material wealth that Stalin alone will be the victor. He said that he hoped our Government would see the situation “in its true light” and that we would bring our influence to bear in favor of an early peace—if not now perhaps in 3 months—“certainly the sooner the better for France.” The British he said might be ready for a “reasonable” peace, unless the United States [“]push them too far and encourage them too much.” (Incidentally he admitted the “probability” of a British victory.)

I left him in little doubt as to where we stood or as to how American opinion would view a peace offensive with Germany dominating the continent of Europe.

  1. Post, p. 478.
  2. French ex-Minister of Justice.
  3. French Ambassador to Turkey.