740.0011 European War 1939/13469: Telegram

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

943. Reference section 352 Embassy’s telegram 927, July 24, 3 p.m. Monick called at the Embassy this morning. He said that so far the efforts to “fire him” had failed and he is returning to Morocco Monday.53 Darlan had told him, he said, that the Germans had made it quite clear that there could be no “collaboration” in Morocco as long as Monick stayed there and were charging that he had had some of Auer’s useful active contacts in that area shot; that he “cooked up too many things” with the Americans, etc. Monick said that he had informed Admiral Darlan that he would accept no other post and that if he were dismissed it must be publicly announced that it was on the demand of the Germans; that every one in Morocco knows that Auer is complaining loudly and publicly of his, Monick’s, activities and has threatened his immediate dismissal; that knowledge of his sacking would hardly serve to increase the prestige of the Vichy Government either among the French elements or among the natives of that area. Darlan, according to Monick, replied that the latter was putting him in an “impossible” position. The upshot of the conversation was that Monick is to return to Morocco for the time being and that Darlan is to obtain from Von Ribbentrop54 a full report setting forth exactly what complaints the Germans have against Monick’s conduct.

Monick referred to his last conversation with us (Embassy telegram 626, June 4, noon55) and of the developments subsequent thereto: How Weygand, upon further thought and with the full backing and [Page 403] encouragement of Boisson and Esteva, had returned to The Chargé and had delayed any German move into North Africa, all of which was fully covered in Murphy’s telegrams (for example, No. 229, June 7, 6 p.m., and 231, June 8, 6 p.m.56). He did say, however, that he had learned from Weygand that Darlan had actually signed, apparently not at Berchtesgaden but at Paris, some sort of “Provisional Protocol” which would place Franco-German relations on a plane “differing from the Armistice Convention” and which involved German utilization of bases at Bizerte and Dakar. (Monick does not know whether Casablanca was specifically included as he has not personally seen the document. Its existence in German hands, he says, may prove extremely embarrassing at some future date if they choose to make it public.)

It was following the second Cabinet meeting those days of early June and on Weygand’s insistence that a written “message” of some sort was drawn up and transmitted to the Germans: It stated, said Monick, that France on the basis of such a “vague provisional document” could not turn over African bases to Germany, particularly in view of the vagueness of the indications as to what Germany planned to give in return. To this “delaying measure”, said Monick, the Germans have never replied. He confirmed the insistent reports which we have heard from many quarters (Embassy’s telegram No. 916, July 21, 11 a.m.57) of German annoyance not only at Admiral Darlan but at the French Government as a whole and he also confirmed the anxiety and uncertainty caused thereby in Government circles which we have noted in recent conversations with the Marshal and Admiral Darlan. He too attributes German annoyance primarily, as have other sources, to this refusal—for the time being at least under these tactics of delay—to “collaborate” more fully in Africa.

We mentioned to Monick the report (Embassy’s telegram 926, July 24, 2 p.m.57) that De Brinon58 is issuing to Germans “a hundred visas a day” and inquired whether many of the recipients thereby were getting into Morocco.

He said that he did not question the accuracy of the report as far as De Brinon was concerned but has no information to indicate that these German Fifth Columnists are reaching Morocco in any number clandestinely through Tangier. He said that the residency is being very strict in such matters and pointed out that a visa from De Brinon to visit Morocco, “like the visa of any prefect”, must be specifically confirmed by authorization from Morocco. In conclusion he said that [Page 404] General Weygand is convinced, as is he, that the Germans will renew their pressure for bases in French Africa as well as for general infiltration into that area by October. (Please compare Berlin’s telegram to Department 2821, July 14, 4 p.m.60) That is why he, with his great interest in that area and his personal position so much at stake finds the “joint defense” analogy of Indochina such a dangerous precedent. (Incidentally other officials here in Vichy have also pointed out to us the logical presumption that the Germans will endeavor to profit by the precedent set for “joint defense” in France’s Far Eastern colony.[)]

Repeated to Algiers, Tangier and Casablanca.

  1. Last two paragraphs.
  2. July 28.
  3. Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister.
  4. Ante, p. 361.
  5. Ante, pp. 369 and 371, respectively.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Fernand de Brinon, Delegate General of the French Government for the occupied areas at Paris, with rank of Ambassador.
  9. Not printed.