611.8131/55: Telegram

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

942. My telegram No. 919, November 8, 6 p.m.93 Monick94 who called today to say good-bye told me that his suggestion that the Marshal might desire to send a personal representative to the United States fell on fertile soil. He said it was given serious consideration in Government circles. It was, however, firmly vetoed by Laval.95

The latter he said explained that his son-in-law René de Chambrun is now in Washington, that he goes frequently to the White House and that he is in a position to keep the Government well informed of what goes on in the United States. Monick went on to say that in spite of the “low opinion” in which young de Chambrun is held here the Marshal and others in the Government were impressed by Laval’s picture of his ready access to the highest Government quarters in Washington. He said he felt the only other procedure for bringing [Page 452] about a “better understanding” between France and the United States would be for the President to send a personal representative to Vichy “in the nature of a Colonel House”.96 I interrupted to say that in my purely personal opinion, given the present state of feeling in the United States, the sending of any such personal emissary was entirely out of the question. That it seemed to me, furthermore, that since France was the country which felt itself misunderstood any initiative should come from this side. I said that he had drawn a picture for me of growing resistance within the Government to Laval’s policies.

The fact, however, that Laval had been able to “veto” the suggestion to send an emissary—which apparently even had the serious consideration of the Marshal—seemed just one more bit of evidence of the powerful position which he occupies here today.

In conclusion Monick said that he had not yet given up hope that some personal friend of the Marshal would be found and sent soon. He admitted that frankly he did not know of a man sufficiently in the Marshal’s confidence to fill the bill. Apparently for one reason or another the General Laure mentioned in my telegram 918 [919] would not do.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Emmanuel Monick, Secretary General of French Morocco.
  3. Pierre Laval, French Vice President of the Council of Ministers.
  4. Colonel Edward M. House, sent to Europe in January 1915 by President Wilson as his private and personal representative to seek peace between belligerents.