740.0011 European War 1939/4626: Telegram

The Ambassador in Spain (Weddell) to the Secretary of State

359. Following from Bullitt.

“For President and the Secretary: The intense anger caused in France by the British attacks on the French Navy is so universal at Vichy, even among the Frenchmen who have been intensely pro-British, that little stands between French acts of war against British except the good sense of Marshal Pétain. During the last week I have said to each member of the French Cabinet that in my opinion he must realize that only a British victory can restore the independence of France. In each case the member of Cabinet in question has agreed, but Baudouin is apparently anxious to bring France into war on the side of Germany and argues that as an ally of Germany, France could obtain much better terms than as a defeated enemy. Laval is not far from acceptance of this point of view.

If the British should continue acts of aggression against France which should further arouse French opinion, I am not sure that Marshal Pétain would be able to hold back the tide.”