740.00112 European War 1939/3098: Telegram

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

957. We learn that a plan is on foot which has its origin in German annoyance over the position and excellent relationships enjoyed by Murphy in North Africa to make some démarche looking toward Murphy’s return to Vichy ostensibly for a visit of a few days duration. Several pretexts would be given for discussing details having to do with operation or [of?] our control system in effect in North Africa, efforts to increase the number of ships employed, etc. In addition to German annoyance there is a disgruntled feeling among Vichy officials, particularly the “collaborationist” element, that their authority concerning matters pertaining to that area has been decreased in a corresponding amount to the increase of that of General Weygand and his associates.

We were approached Monday by an official of the Foreign Office with an inquiry as to whether Murphy’s movements depended on instructions from the Embassy or from Washington.

2. Same question was asked us by Rochat this afternoon. In both instances we replied that Murphy is Counselor of this Embassy; that his present detail to Africa is however under instructions from the Department and that his movements to and from North Africa were governed by direct instructions from Washington. Rochat admitted that there is a move under consideration to suggest that Murphy be “invited” to come to Vichy on one pretext or another and he likewise admitted tacitly that once here obstacles might arise with respect to [Page 405] his return to North Africa. He said, however, when we pointed out the obvious dangers of any such démarche on the part of the French Government to the present program of supplying North Africa, that he would endeavor to forestall any such move.

(In this connection the Department will recall the Embassy’s telegram 566, May 16, 10 p.m.61)

Repeated to Algiers.

  1. Ante, p. 335.