862.24/604: Telegram

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

139. Your 292, February 25, 10 a.m. In response to the memorandum received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs please address a communication to the Ministry along the following lines:

The Government of the United States has received and has taken note with satisfaction of the statement of the French Government that it will not lend any military aid to one of the belligerents in any place in the theatre of operations, particularly the use of French vessels for purposes of war, nor adopt a policy of open assistance to the Axis powers beyond the terms of the Armistice Agreement.

The Government of the United States, however, considers that shipments of food, fuel, trucks and other supplies to the Axis forces in North Africa and other theaters of operations constitute military aid and could not accept any other contention. In considering future questions to be discussed between the two governments this Government must request assurances from the French Government that its agreement not to supply “military aid” to the belligerents includes the delivery or transportation of such supplies from whatever source obtained.

It has been noted that the explanations given by the French Government concerning the delivery of certain supplies of fuel and foodstuffs did not in any way deplete the supply available to the inhabitants of France. Their delivery, however, constitutes valuable aid to the German and Italian forces and it cannot be justified on the ground merely that they do not deprive the civilian population of needed supplies.