740.0011 European War 1939/12999: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Leahy) to the Secretary of State

851. Embassy’s telegram 839, July 9, midnight.37 The person referred to38 in the Embassy’s telegram 459, April 18, 2 p.m.,37 called tonight to tell us of Weygand’s arrival in Vichy. He inquired, he said, of a member of Darlan’s immediate entourage as to the reasons for the visit and the latter replied as follows: “The whole question of bases at Dakar and Bizerte is up again.”

Our informant had dined tonight with General Odic, chief of the French Air Force in North Africa, in whom he has full confidence. He said that the latter who is in Vichy only for 3 days told him apropos of Weygand’s visit that “unless Weygand has changed, which would surprise me a great deal, I do not think he will fall in with any proposals to let the Germans have bases in Africa”.

Our informant went on to say that General Odic retires on August 9 next and proposes to remain for the time being in Algiers thereafter; that he is completely in sympathy with the Allied cause; and that he will then feel himself completely free to act as appears best and he urges that through Murphy we “utilize” the General’s abilities and his prestige to the fullest extent.

We were shown the original of a letter and accompanying report which General Odic has written the Marshal criticizing very strongly the condition into which the French air force had been allowed to fall. The report concludes with a statement that, while the author had hoped that “during the days of Pierre Cot and Guy La Chambre the French Air Force had reached its lowest ebb, but the situation today is far worse”.

Repeated to Casablanca.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Charles Antoine Rochat, Acting Secretary General of the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Not printed.