851.00/2420: Telegram

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

1385. Embassy’s telegram 1356, October 21, 3 p.m.93 and Murphy’s94 telegram 525, October 23, midnight.95 In spite of the perhaps natural reluctance of General Weygand96 to indicate to Murphy that the question of his position in Africa was under consideration during his recent visit to Vichy, we have heard sufficient confirmation from a number of other sources to leave no doubt in our minds that a real effort was in fact made to oust him. We believe that neither the General’s person nor his policies in Africa enjoy the support either of Admiral Darlan97 or of his ambitious and even more “collaborationist” rival Pucheu97a and that both would like nothing better than to “eliminate” the General. We are not inclined to believe that the Marshal98 gave the detractors of Weygand more than lip service support, but it is not unlike his nature to have offered various posts outside Africa to General Weygand in order to satisfy the General’s enemies in his Government knowing full well that the General would decline and in fact approving his decision to do so. We hear from many sides (including Rist99) of the Marshal’s firm wish not to “break” with the United States and he must be aware of the importance we attach to Weygand’s presence and authority in Africa.

Repeated to Algiers.

  1. Ante, p. 447.
  2. Robert D. Murphy, Counselor of Embassy in France, temporarily at Algiers.
  3. Ante, p. 449.
  4. Gen. Maxime Weygand, Delegate General of the French Government in North Africa.
  5. Adm. Jean François Darlan, Vice President of the French Council of Ministers, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Navy, and National Defense.
  6. Pierre Pucheu, Minister of the Interior.
  7. Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain, French Chief of State.
  8. Prof. Charles Rist, French economist and financier.