893.24/1105: Telegram

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

849. Department’s telegram 440, May 28, 7 p.m., Embassy’s telegram 666, June 20 [10], 7 p.m. and despatch 212, May 31:82

A formal reply signed by Admiral Darlan has now been received to the Embassy’s note. The pertinent paragraphs read as follows:

“According to information which has been furnished me by Admiral Decoux, it was under the categorical threat of the Japanese military authorities to have recourse to measures of violence and in order to avoid serious incidents and loss of human life that the resident mayor felt obliged to write to representatives of the American concerns Far Eastern Train [Trading] Corporation and North American Syndicate to ask them to turn over the keys of their warehouses. In his letter, the resident mayor indicated, furthermore, very clearly that he was acting under duress.

In spite of the intervention of this high official, the Japanese military authorities had recourse to violence in order to take possession of the warehouses. As Your Excellency knows, the French authorities of Indochina are not always in a position under present circumstances to exercise their functions normally. Furthermore, the representations made in connection with this question of stocks by the Ambassador of the United States at Tokyo have also remained without result. The Government of the United States cannot therefore question the good will of the authorities of the Government General who will always endeavor to assure to the best of their ability respect for foreign interests in the territories of the Indochinese Union.”

Copy and translation of the foregoing communication are being forwarded by air mail.83

  1. Despatch not printed, but see footnote 18a, p. 163.
  2. Not printed.