710.Consultation (2)/204b: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul at Bordeaux (Waterman)

171. Please communicate the following message immediately to Ambassador Biddle:49

[Page 494]

“The President desires you to inform the Prime Minister50 at the earliest possible moment that in view of the decision of the French Cabinet to ask for the terms of an armistice from Germany, the President feels sure that the Prime Minister will bear in mind the traditional policy of the United States with regard to the Western Hemisphere which would make it impossible for the United States to recognize any transfer or to acquiesce in any attempt to transfer any geographic region of the Western Hemisphere from one non-American power to another non-American power.

Should conditions in the judgment of this Government make such a step necessary, the United States would be prepared in conjunction with the other American Republics to undertake to constitute an inter-American trusteeship for the French possessions in the Western Hemisphere, this trusteeship to be of a temporary character and to continue only until such time as the complete autonomy and independence of France were fully restored.”

Please telegraph the results of your conversation in this sense with the Prime Minister.

A statement of the position of the United States in this regard has been likewise officially communicated to the Governments of Germany and of Italy.

  1. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Deputy Ambassador in France.
  2. Henri Philippe Pétain, appointed President of the French Council of Ministers on June 16, 1940.