740.00119 European War 1939/406

The French Minister for Foreign Affairs (Baudouin) to the French Ambassador in the United States (Saint-Quentin)7


For several days the French army has borne, almost alone, the pressure of the German army which had a crushing superiority in men and material at its disposal. Fighting day and night against the ever-renewed reserves of the enemy, the French soldiers have been able to save only honor. All their heroism could not suffice, at the cost of the most sanguinary sacrifices, longer to protect the territory.

This situation has constrained the Government of the Republic to seek information regarding the enemy’s intentions. The Government, headed by Marshal Pétain, assisted by General Weygand and Admiral [Page 457] Darlan, through the intermediary of the Spanish Government, requested Germany to cease hostilities and to make known its peace terms. This step was made known to the Italian Government through the intermediary of the Holy See.

The British Government and the American Government have been kept informed.

The French Government is, however, resolved not to yield to any condition contrary to national honor, dignity or independence. If, in reply to the overtures made to Germany, inacceptable demands should be returned, it is with fierce resolution that the whole country, preferring to suffer what it could not accept, would continue the struggle on bases in the French empire until the day when the common effort of all free peoples would lead to its liberation.

  1. This message was handed to Under Secretary of State Welles by the French Ambassador on June 18.