740.0011 European War 1939/27641: Telegram

The President’s Personal Representative ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State


124. Secret for Atherton from Murphy. No other distribution.

A few minutes before his departure from Anfa the President had a short conversation with General Giraud1 during the course of which Giraud presented two memoranda dated January 24, 1943. The first memorandum2 reads as follows:

  • [“] 1. The intervention of the Anglo-American troops on the 8th of November on French territory in Africa, brought about at the demand of the French who, since 1940 have wanted to take up the fight against Germany, was the first act of liberation of an oppressed nation accomplished by the United Nations.
  • 2. The form of the relations between France and the Foreign powers temporarily occupying part of French territory, the post war consequences of the association of France and the United States in the fight against Germany the military, economic and financial aid given to France, have all been defined in letters3 exchanged between the Consul, Mr. Murphy, in the name of President Roosevelt, and General Giraud, before the landing. They remain in force. However, the paragraph dealing with the military question and with the Inter Allied command is excepted.
  • 3. Because of the fact that the French nation and the French people are the only ones who may fix their representation and designate their government, and because it is impossible for the French in other land [French motherland?] to pronounce freely her will, France no longer possesses a government.

In the interests of the French people, in order to safeguard France’s past, her present, and her future, the Government of the United States and the Government of Great Britain recognize in the Commander-in-Chief,4 with his headquarters in Algiers, the right and duty of preserving all French interests under the military, economic, financial, and moral plan. They bind themselves to aid him by all the means in their power until the day when, in complete freedom, the French people and the French nation shall be able to designate their regular government.

General Eisenhower and Minister Murphy will work out with the French Commander-in-Chief, with his headquarters as Algiers, the details of the present understanding. In so doing, they will be governed by the conversations exchanged in Washington between the twenty-eighth of December and the second [eleventh] of January, by the representative of General Giraud and the State Department,5 and the decisions which have been made by President Roosevelt, Mr. Churchill, and General Giraud in the interviews at Casablanca between the seventeenth and twenty-fourth of January 1943”.6

The foregoing was endorsed “approved” by the President.

It is my understanding of the second paragraph of Article III from the conversations between the President and General Giraud that this phraseology relates to French interests in French Africa together with such interests outside of that area as have rallied or may adhere in the future to [the] General’s authority.

[Page 827]

The second memorandum is entitled “résumé of the agreements in principle resulting from the conversations at Anfa.[”]7 First paragraph reads as follows:

“Under the military plan, it has been agreed between the President of the United States and General Giraud that the French forces will receive, by priority, the equipment which is indispensable to them and that this shall be made up of the most modern material.”

The President made a marginal notation okaying the foregoing paragraph. The second paragraph relates to conversations with General Marshall and General Somervell regarding the delivery of military matériel. I shall not quote this paragraph for reasons of military security.8

The third paragraph reads as follows:

“In regard to transport, it has been agreed with General Somervell that the resupplying of French Africa would be assured by the monthly allocation of 65,000 tons (50,000 tons of wheat, 12,000 tons of sugar, and 3,000 tons of material) and that the shipment of this material would be made before next summer. France would furnish to the interallied pool a share of 165,000 tons of shipping and the Allies would furnish the remainder necessary for the delivery to be completed within the agreed time. The aviation material would be sent, as far as possible, by air”.

The President made a marginal notation regarding paragraphs two and three as follows:

“Okay in principle. Work out with Eisenhower and Somervell”.

Paragraph four reads as follows:

“Under the political plan, it was agreed between the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and General Giraud, that it was to their common interest for all the French fighting against Germany to be reunited under one authority, and that every facility would be given to General Giraud in order to bring about this union”.

The paragraph was okayed by the President. Paragraph five reads as follows:

“In connection with this, it has been agreed by the President of the United States that the exchange would be brought to fifty francs to the dollar in order to ameliorate the existing differences with the exchange rate given to the territories placed under the control of General de Gaulle (it being the strong hope that, in the latter territories, the rate will be lowered from forty-three to fifty francs to the dollar)”.

The parenthetical reference is language inserted by the President. [Page 828] He made a marginal note to this paragraph “okay as amended”. Paragraph six reads as follows:

“It has also been agreed that the necessary propaganda (for France in the French language) should be carried on from the African territory by the French authorities and that, for this reason, (conferences should be held regarding the use of the short wave radio stations)”.

The President made a marginal notation to this paragraph “amend”. In the conversation he agreed that in principle propaganda by radio from French North Africa in the French language for metropolitan France should be directed by the French authorities in consultation with Allied authorities. Allied authorities would conduct propaganda activity destined for other European countries. It was understood between the President and General Giraud that this entire subject is one for conversations between the French and Allied authorities looking to the most advantageous use of French North African radio facilities in the prosecution of the war.

These two memoranda were not discussed in advance with the British as there was no opportunity to do so, but I have provided copies of them to Macmillan.9 General Eisenhower of course is fully informed.

Giraud acted extremely well throughout the conference, making a favorable impression on both the President and the Prime Minister. I believe every one noted Giraud’s obvious simplicity and sincerity of purpose to prosecute the war against the Axis—a consideration with him which overrides everything.

This telegram is addressed to you as I believe that the Secretary would wish to limit distribution.

Repeated to Matthews for his information only.10

  1. See the editorial note, ante, p. 724.
  2. A copy in French of this memorandum was handed to General Marshall by Major General Béthouart, Chief of the French Military Mission in the United States, on February 3, 1943. This French copy, which is included among the files of the Department of the Army, is headed “Commandant en Chef en Afrique Française, Anfa, le 24 Janvier 1943” and bears the marginal handwritten notation “Text signed by Pres Roosevelt”. This same French text of the memorandum is printed in Giraud, pp. 353–354, and in Richard and Sérigny, L’Enigme d’Alger, pp. 232–233, with the additional heading “Protocole d’Anfa”. Lemaigre-Dubreuil, who appears to have been the drafter of the memorandum, gives an account of its preparation in Crusoe (Jacques Lemaigre-Dubreuil), Vicissitudes d’une Victavre: Documents du Temps Present (Paris: Les Editions de l’Ame Française, 1946), pp. 87–98. For documentation regarding the subsequent modification of this memorandum, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, pp. 48 ff.
  3. For texts of the correspondence exchanged between General Giraud and Mr. Murphy in October and November 1942, see enclosures to despatch 76, March 22, 1943, from Murphy to the Secretary of State, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. ii, p. 412.
  4. i.e., General Giraud.
  5. Regarding the conversations held in Washington between representatives of General Giraud and officers of the Department of State, see the memoranda of conversation by the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs, dated December 27 and December 28, 1942, and January 9 and January 11, 1943, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. ii, pp. 492 and 493, and ibid., 1943, vol. ii, pp. 36 and 38, respectively.
  6. For the records of the President’s meetings with General Giraud on January 17 and 19, see ante, pp. 609 and 644; see also the editorial note regarding the meeting of January 24, ante, p. 724.
  7. For text of an English translation of this memorandum handed to General Marshall by Major General Béthouart in the course of a meeting in Washington on February 3, 1943, see supra.
  8. This paragraph in English translation is included in the document printed supra.
  9. Woodward, British Foreign Policy in the Second World War, pp. 218–219, confirms that the two memoranda, which were communicated to Macmillan by Murphy on January 27, 1943, had not been seen by the Prime Minister, and that the President had not consulted him about them.
  10. Matthews replied to this message in telegram 45, February 3, 1943, from London to Algiers, for Murphy’s eyes only, which reads in part as follows: “Hal Mack told me last evening (before I had read your 124 Feb 1 noon) that a telegr had been received from Macmillan giving the text of two memoranda you had given him. He said that you and Giraud had [drafted?] these memoranda, presented them to the President just a few minutes before his departure and after the Prime Minister had left, and obtained the President’s hurried approval. The memoranda, Mack said, went much farther in recognizing Giraud as the protector of all French interests everywhere than the British had ever gone with de Gaulle and not only committed our govt but also the British govt.” (Algiers Consulate Files: 710 Gt. Britain, U.S. Fr. North Africa) Telegram 153, February 6, 1943, from Murphy at Algiers, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, p. 48, reported that Churchill understood “how the two memoranda of points agreed at the Anfa Conference were approved by the President immediately prior to his departure from Anfa which left no opportunity for coordination with the Prime Minister.” American and British representatives did subsequently prepare slightly modified versions of these memoranda; see ibid., pp. 4853 passim.