Department of Defense Files

Memorandum by the High Commissioner in French North and West Africa (Giraud)1


Resumé of the Agreements in Principle Resulting from the Anfa Conversations

[Page 825]
Yes2  In the military field it has been agreed between the President of the United States and General Giraud that the French forces are to receive under priority the armament which is absolutely necessary for them to have, and that this matériel shall be made up of the most modern kind.
Yes in Principle  In the ulterior conversations with General Marshall and General Somervell it was specified that the total amount of this materiel should be enough for 3 armored divisions and Yes 8 motorized divisions, plus first line aviation matériel consisting of 500 pursuit planes, 300 bombers and 200 transport planes, and that of these quantities there shall be delivered in the course of the next few weeks 400 trucks and the armament for 2 armored regiments, 3 reconnaissance battalions, [Page 824] 3 tank destroyer battalions and 3 motorized divisions and such aviation matériel as may be sent by air.
 As concerns shipments it has been agreed with General Somervell that the supplying of French Africa would be assured by a monthly contingent of 65,000 tons (50,000 tons of wheat, 12,000 tons of sugar, 3,000 tons of fabrics) and that the transportation of the matériel would be effected before next summer. France is to furnish in the inter-allied pool a contingent of 165,000 ship tonnage, and the Allies are to supply the additional tonnage necessary for making the delivery within the period fixed. The aviation matériel is to be sent insofar as possible by air and the coal and petroleum are to be sent separately.3
Yes  In the political field it has been agreed between the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and General Giraud that [it] is in the common interest that all Frenchmen fighting against Germany be united under the same authority, and that all facilities be given to General Giraud for realizing this union.
Yes  Along these lines it has been agreed by the President of the United States that the rate of exchange shall be brought back to 50 francs to the dollar to lessen the difference existing between the rate prevailing in the territories under the control of General de Gaulle, in the hope that in the other territories the rate will be lowered from 654 to 50.
It is likewise agreed that the necessary propaganda (for France and in the French language) should be conducted from African territory by the French authorities and that for this reason conferences should be held concerning the use of stations and short waves.

(The remarks in the margin are those of President Roosevelt)

  1. This is one of two memoranda presented to President Roosevelt by General Giraud on the morning of January 24, 1943; regarding the meeting, see the editorial note, ante, p. 724. English translations of both memoranda are contained in telegram 124, February 1, 1943, from Algiers, infra. The English translation printed here, together with a copy of the French original of this memorandum, was handed to General Marshall by Major General Béthouart in the course of a meeting in Washington on February 3, 1943. For the original French text, except for a portion of the second paragraph dealing with supply, see René Richard and Alain de Sérigny, L’Enigme d’Alger (Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 1947), pp. 231–232. For an account of the background of this memorandum and a commentary on the English translations, see Vigneras, Rearming the French, pp. 36–38, For documentation relative to the clarification of the agreement set forth in this memorandum, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, pp. 44138, and Vigneras, pp. 38–44.
  2. A parenthetical sentence at the end of this memorandum indicates that the remarks in the margin are those of President Roosevelt.
  3. In a memorandum of February 4, 1943, to Assistant Secretary of War McCloy, not printed, Marshall reported on his meeting of February 3, 1943, with Béthouart and reviewed his knowledge of the Roosevelt–Giraud agreement in the following manner: “I told General Béthouart that the President had not advised me as to specific agreements with General Giraud other than the confirmation of what I had already assured General Giraud—that we would proceed with the greatest possible speed to equip his troops, and that the matter of cargo space, character of equipment as to priorities of shipment, etc., would be determined later.” (Department of Defense Files)

    In telegrams 1453, February 17, 1943, and 1628, February 18, 1943, from Algiers, General Eisenhower reported on the strong representations made by General Giraud on February 16 with respect to his understanding of the agreement reached at Casablanca. General Marshall’s reply in telegram ZRH 2641, February 20, 1943, contained the following review of the President’s understanding of the agreement worked out with General Giraud: “In the conversations which took place at Casablanca, no commitments were made by the President, by General Somervell or by me, as to how much equipment could be sent or when it would be sent. The paper entitled, ‘Résumé of the Agreements in Principle Resulting from the Conversation at Anfa ,’ prepared by General Giraud and submitted to the President was approved in principle by the President. This was not intended as an agreement that the specific amount of materiel would be shipped, nor obviously that it would be shipped within a specific period. Clearly it was to be sent as fast as possible, considering the whole war effort.… Neither General Somervell nor I had made any detailed commitments as are directed in the paper submitted to the President. In our conversations with General Giraud, Somervell and I dealt only in general terms, in which we did specifically agree to reequip the French forces in North Africa as rapidly as could be managed. We had informed General Giraud that because of the shipping limitations, the program which he proposed would be impossible of attainment immediately, particularly in view of our commitments with Russia and China and of our requirements in the southwest Pacific. The President had no opportunity to see either General Somervell or me after his receipt of the paper in question from General Giraud. The President’s agreement in principle, therefore, was based on General Giraud’s statement of a detailed arrangement with General Somewhere and me which had not been reached. Furthermore, the President considered that his agreement ‘in principle’ did not involve detailed commitments.” (Department of Defense Files)

  4. In the French original (see Richard and Sérigny, L’Enigme d’Alger, p. 232) and in the English translation transmitted in telegram 124, February 1, 1943, from Algiers, infra, this number reads “43”.