Hopkins Papers

Notes by the President’s Special Assistant (Hopkins)1

Up at seven to get the communiqué—the telegram to Stalin2—and one to the Generalissimo3 in final shape. Robert came in to breakfast and Averell—and then Bob Murphy who had just been to see Giraud. Giraud was quite willing to co-operate with de Gaulle but was unwilling to work under him. Bob told me that Macmillan of the British thinks that de Gaulle is going to be difficult and insist on being top dog. Macmillan came in in a moment and told us that de Gaulle’s proposition to Giraud is that “he (de Gaulle) is to be Clemenceau and Giraud Foch”. I told them the President would not stand for that but might agree to a joint leadership of the two of them—with Giraud running Africa and de Gaulle the rest of the show.

[Page 840]

I left them in my room and went to see the President to tell him the news. He was none too happy about it but I urged him not to disavow de Gaulle even tho he was acting badly. Believing as I did and still do that Giraud and de Gaulle want to work together I urged the President to be conciliatory and not beat de Gaulle too hard. If there is any beating to be done let Churchill do it because the whole Free French movement is financed by them. I told the Pres. I thot we could get an agreement on a joint statement issued by de Gaulle and Giraud—and a picture of the two of them. Bob and I then told Macmillan that Churchill had to bring de Gaulle around.

Churchill had amended the communiqué4 and General Jacobs [sic] brot it around—and I revised it some more—I got a final draft at 11.15 which the President approved with slight modifications in language.

Giraud arrived at 11.30—de Gaulle was with Churchill by this time.5 Giraud wanted a confirmation on supplying his army but the President referred him to Eisenhower. The conference went well. Giraud will play ball with de Gaulle. Giraud goes out, de Gaulle and his staff come in. De Gaulle calm and confident—I liked him—but no joint communiqué6 and Giraud must be under him. The President expressed his disappointment in pretty forceful terms and made an urgent plea to de Gaulle to come to terms with Giraud to win the war and liberate France. The Secret Service called me out to tell me Churchill was outside. He was talking to Giraud, saying good bye to him. Churchill walked in and I went after Giraud believing that if the four of them could get into a room together we could get an agreement. This was nearly 12 o’clock and the press conference was to be at that hour. The President was surprised at seeing Giraud but took it in his stride. De Gaulle was a little bewildered. Churchill grunted. But the President went to work on them with Churchill backing him up vigorously. De Gaulle finally agreed to a joint statement and before he could catch his breath, the President suggested a photograph. By this time the garden was full of camera men and war correspondents who had been flown down the day before.

I don’t know who was the most surprised—the photographers or de Gaulle when the four of them walked out—or rather the three of them because the President was carried to his chair. I confess they were a pretty solemn group—the cameras ground out the pictures. The [Page 841] President suggested de Gaulle and Giraud shake hands. They stood up and obliged—some of the camera men missed it and they did it again.7 The two Frenchmen and their staffs left and Churchill and the President were left sitting together in the warm African sun—thousands of miles from home to talk to the correspondents of war and the waging of war. It would be flashed around the world the moment a release date was fixed.8

The President gave a background statement—not for quotation—he chose his words very carefully and talked from notes. The only important addition to the communiqué was the President’s statement that he and Churchill were determined to accept nothing less than unconditional surrender of Germany, Japan and Italy. The President talked for about fifteen minutes. He told them of his visit to our troops and later agreed to be quoted on that. Churchill supplemented this with a masterly review of the military situation. He emphasized his personal friendship for the President and said the two of them were going to see the war through together. They have had no disagreements.

I talked after the conference to a number of newspaper [men] I had met in Washington, London and Moscow. The fact that Churchill and Roosevelt were in Africa was a complete surprise.

At 1.15 we drove to Marrakesh—picnic lunch on the way everyone tired but relaxed. As the British had fixed up the lunch we had plenty of wine and Scotch. We were put up at the villa of the late Moses Taylor—very pleasant—our host was a young archaeologist named Pendar (Louise rented his flat in Paris)—he was one of our secret agents in N. Africa prior to the Landing.9

Averell, Randolph, Robert and I went to visit a big fair—story tellers—dancers—snake charmers—and 15,000 natives. Very colorful. The great trading market was near—but nothing much to sell—tho thousands were milling thru.

Dinner was good—army style—the company aglow—much banter—Churchill at his best. The President tired.

After dinner we agreed on the drafts to Stalin—Averell and I had re-written it. I made a draft for the Generalissimo—they agreed and both dispatches were put on the cables. At 2 A.M. we retired leaving a call for seven.

Robert roomed with me—he is flying to Algiers with Averell early in the morning.

  1. The source text is handwritten. For a facsimile of one page, see Sherwood, p. 692.
  2. For text of the final version of the joint message from the President and the Prime Minister to Marshal Stalin, January 25, 1943, see post, p. 805.
  3. For text of the final version of the joint message from the President and the Prime Minister to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, January 25, 1943, see post, p. 807.
  4. For the final text of the Communiqué of the Casablanca Conference as released to the press on January 26, 1943, see post, p. 847.
  5. Regarding the Roosevelt–Giraud conversation under reference here and the subsequent Roosevelt–de Gaulle and Roosevelt–Churchill–de Gaulle–Giraud conversations on the morning of January 24, see the editorial notes, ante, pp. 724 and 725. For accounts of the Church-de Gaulle conversation on the morning of January 24, see de Gaulle, p. 94, and Catroux, p. 322.
  6. For text of a suggested statement by General Giraud and General de Gaulle, probably prepared on January 24, 1943, see ante, p. 822.
  7. The photograph referred to here is among those reproduced following p. 483.
  8. January 26 was fixed as the release date.
  9. Kenneth W. Pendar was American Vice Consul in Algiers. Prior to the American landings in North Africa on November 8, 1942, Pendar had been Vice Consul in Casablanca. His exploits in Morocco are related in his book Adventures in Diplomacy (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1945).