890D.00/861

The Ambassador to the Polish Government in Exile ( Biddle )48 to the Secretary of State
No. 58

Sir: I have the honor to report that M. Maurice Dejean, National Commissioner for Foreign Affairs in the recently formed De Gaulle National Committee, has asked me to forward the attached copy and translation of an Aide-Mémoire, dated October 2, 1941.

In handing me these documents, M. Dejean pointed out that the American Consul General in Beirut had inquired what opportunity would be offered our Government for consultation on the possible termination of the French Mandate in Syria. Moreover, the Consul General there asked what guarantees would be given for the safeguard of American rights acquired by virtue of the existing treaties and of the present position of the United States in relation to Syria.

M. Dejean believed that the attached Aide-Mémoire clearly set forth the Free French position in relation to these questions.

Respectfully yours,

A. J. Drexel Biddle, Jr.
[Enclosure—Translation]
Aide-Mémoire by the National Commission for Foreign Affairs of Free France

The United States Consul-General in Beirut has enquired what opportunities would be offered to his Government for consultation on the subject of the possible termination of the French mandate in Syria. Moreover, he has asked what guarantees would be given for the safeguard of American rights acquired by virtue of the existing treaties and of America’s present position in Syria.

Free France has no intention whatsoever of encroaching on the rights and position of the United States in Syria. In particular, she means to respect the Franco-American Convention of August [April] 4th, 1924. Nevertheless, however desirous Free France may be to grant in fact to the States of the Levant the maximum independence compatible with the necessities of the war, she holds that there can be no question of legally putting an end to the mandate régime as instituted by an act of the Council of the League of Nations, dated July 22nd, 1922, which entered into force on September 29th, 1923.

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Free France, which is only recognised—in certain conditions—by Great Britain and the U. S. S. R., is not qualified to ask for the discharge of this mandate, which could only be granted by the Council of the League of Nations.

The régime to be set up in Syria during the war cannot be anything but provisional. Nonetheless, the Free French authorities could not at any time tolerate that special rights should be set aside or neglected in the case of a nation which, by the help it is giving to Great Britain and the U. S. S. R., is making such an important contribution to the struggle for the liberation of France.

  1. Mr. Biddle was also accredited to various other exiled governments established in England.