851.00/2443: Telegram

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


1417. Embassy’s telegram 1385, October 2 [28], 11 a.m.

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We asked Rochat1 this afternoon what basis there is for these current reports of Weygand’s removal from Africa. He said in reply: “I know of no very recent developments. I won’t conceal the fact though that ever since Weygand’s last visit here and a few weeks prior thereto the question of his status in Africa has been a burning one. It remains so. What will come out of it I do not know.”

We asked him whether he felt that higher circles in the Government, mentioning specifically the Marshal and Admiral Darlan, realize the interpretation that would be placed in the United States upon General Weygand’s departure from Africa and whether they are fully aware of the effect thereof not only upon our program of economic aid to Africa but in the whole field of relations between the United States and the Marshal and his Government. We said that we do not in any way wish to question the Marshal’s complete right to choose his own associates. We said however that there would be widespread belief in the United States, if Weygand departs from Africa, that his removal has been brought about by German dictation. It would be tragic therefore, we said, if the effect of the General’s removal on relations between our two countries is not fully and carefully considered before any final decision is taken, and we asked whether he feels that this factor is being fully weighed. He replied: “I believe that they are all, including the Marshal, well aware of this aspect of the question.”

Repeated to Algiers.

  1. Charles Antoine Rochat, Acting Secretary General of the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs.