740.0011 European War 1939/6878: Telegram

The Consul at Leopoldville (Mallon) to the Secretary of State

Referring to Department’s telegram of November 18. I returned yesterday from visit to Gabon and observed that aerial bombardment Libreville caused slight damage to the hospital which is within 100 yards of wireless station and military headquarters. One 10-kilo bomb which was dropped by plane about to crash struck Catholic Mission causing little damage. Otherwise practically no visible signs of hostilities.

At Lambaréné official residency slightly damaged by aerial bombardment. Catholic priest said to have been acting as army chaplain killed by shell while with defending troops.
At Port Gentil no shots fired and no bombardment from the air.
Except for the Catholic priest no civilians killed or hurt anywhere in Gabon. Former Governor Masson committed suicide after surrender.
About 2,000 were engaged in military and naval operations on each side. Free French forces had 16 dead including 4 Europeans and total of 40 wounded. Vichy forces had 25 killed of which 5 were white, total wounded 60. The wounded and the prisoners receiving excellent treatment.
The Government of French Equatorial Africa claim that Vichy radio has accused them of bombing civilian population, destruction of property and inhuman treatment of prisoners of war. They want me to refute the charges. I have made it clear that my visit was strictly personal and my observations would be communicated only to my Government.