862.24/595: Telegram

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

268. At 5 p.m. today I obtained an interview with Marshal Pétain with Admiral Darlan and Mr. Rochat present and delivered to him orally the President’s message contained in your 114, February 19, 3 p.m. The Marshal stated that he would make a reply to me in writing.

Admiral Darlan then said that shipment of Italian trucks in French ships to Tunis for Rommel’s forces had been stopped. I understand that the shipment of foodstuffs has not been stopped.

Darlan also said that Japan had requisitioned French merchant ships in Indochina but has consented not to use them for military purposes.

The Marshal thereupon stated that he has not signed any agreement with Japan in regard to the use by Japan of French shipping.

Upon my departure I specifically asked the Marshal if I may inform my Government that he would include in his promised written reply a statement as to whether he can or can not give the assurances requested by the President in his message of February 10. His reply, although not clear, appeared to be in the affirmative.