862.24/596: Telegram

The Consul General at Algiers (Cole) to the Secretary of State

111. From Murphy. Vichy’s 1558, December 17, noon, and my 62, January 28, noon.21 I learn from a reliable source that up to the present a total of 1700 tons of aviation gasoline and 1600 tons of automotive gasoline have now been delivered to the Axis forces in Libya under the Turin accord of December 12. There remains 300 tons of aviation gasoline for delivery which is expected to be accomplished within a few days. The aviation gasoline has been taken from French military stocks in Algeria, most of the automotive gasoline in question was shipped from France as was the 1800 tons of aviation gasoline shipped by the tanker Port Bouc from Marseille to Dakar (Department’s 44 [41], February 3, 7 p.m. to Casablanca22).

From reliable sources in the oil business I learn that the effort to incorporate French North African oil business in the Metropolitan Syndicate made by General Blanchard, President of the Petroleum Syndicate with headquarters at Paris, encountered strong resistance in French Africa. Blanchard’s principal argument was that as far as petroleum products is concerned the North African economic accord with the United States had ceased to operate and that France is no longer bound, that it could make deliveries to Libya or Europe from North Africa and that French North Africa has nothing to expect in the way of assistance from the United States. This seemed to please Blanchard.

During the past weeks I have actively encouraged oil representatives in the three territories to believe the United States earnestly desires [Page 135]to provide for their needs if obvious conditions which to them are most acceptable can be met.

Representative oil men see in the present trend increasing French dependence on the Axis for oil supplies with a policy of Franco-German collaboration in this field. They view the forthcoming visit of Pucheu, Minister of the Interior, to this area with alarm as marking an important step toward the incorporation of French North Africa in the scheme of active collaboration with the Axis.

Repeated to Vichy for Tangier. [Murphy.]

Cole
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