124.51/172: Telegram

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

258. Following telephoned by Barnes87 from Paris:

“At a luncheon at my house yesterday Achenbach, from the German Embassy, somewhat laughingly observed that of course my position in Paris was a rather delicate one as strictly speaking Paris was no place for foreign diplomats—in reality they should all be with the French Government at Vichy. However, said he, we are willing for the time being ‘to indulge in a little make believe’ and treat with the members of the foreign missions who have been left in Paris as if they did enjoy diplomatic status. This observation was made in connection with a half amusing discussion of the difficulty of operating an Embassy in Paris at this time. It followed on my statement that we had just received by courier from Berlin some 250 telegrams that had been accumulating there for this Embassy since about July 5. Achenbach proceeded to make the point that while the German authorities were at the present moment willing to indulge in ‘diplomatic make believe’ with us, the time might come when this would have to cease, at least with respect to communication. He said that if military action should so develop as to require complete secrecy, the missions in Paris would be deprived without hesitation of all means of communication with the outside.

In connection with the foregoing it is interesting to note that the Secretary General of the Ministry of Communications has announced in the Paris press this morning that in conformity with orders of the German high command, postal communications are suspended provisionally between the occupied zone on the one hand and the free zone, the French colonies and foreign countries on the other. Postal communication is authorized within the limits of the occupied zone for letters, postal cards, printed material, circulars, samples, parcel post, newspapers, registered letters and declared valuables, as well as articles in silver.

There might be no telegraph service available to the public or to us within the occupied zone and telephone communication is restricted to a very limited area around Paris.”

  1. Maynard B. Barnes, First Secretary of Embassy in France.