740.0011 European War 1939/13011: Telegram

The Consul General at Algiers (Cole) to the Secretary of State

309. From Murphy. Personal for the Acting Secretary. Weygand departed for Vichy at 2:30 today in response to the French Government’s request. The reason for the request is not indicated. I am now told that when he visited Vichy in June he was informed that Darlan had signed an accord with the Germans granting them the use of certain bases in French Africa. He has not communicated to me the names of those bases. Weygand at that time informed Pétain36a and Darlan that as long as he remained in Africa he would not tolerate such a concession and definitely refused assent. He also stated that should the French Government be in no position to resist he would resign.

Fearing the consequences of such a development the French Government decided to discuss the question further with the Germans.

The reason for the present summons to Vichy are not known but it is expected that the Germans must have given a reply which requires further discussion with Weygand. The latter departed determined not to yield and in a fighting mood.

I urgently recommend that until we learn from Weygand the results of his conversation at Vichy that no representations be made to the French Government and that the matter be treated as secret. May I respectfully suggest that for the moment at least this be not communicated to the British. It is evident that the use by the Germans of French African bases is still in the discussion stage. [Murphy.]

  1. Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, French Chief of State.