862.24/617: Telegram

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

369. We saw Rochat this afternoon who informed us that owing to the Marshal’s and Admiral Darlan’s brief temporary absences from Vichy it would not be possible to give us the answers to the subjects specified in the Department’s 156, March 9, 9 p.m.32 before 2 or 3 days.

In connection with the subject of the Department’s 139, March 2, 8 p.m., Rochat gave us to understand that his Government will express its willingness to put an end to the future shipment of all supplies of any kind to the Axis forces in North Africa. He added, however, that insofar as food supplies and trucks were concerned small shipments amounting to only a few tons of the former and possibly six or eight trucks were actually in the course of delivery. As regards fuel he said that of the original 3600 tons 1600 had been delivered. The question of the delivery of the remaining 2,000 tons had been taken up with the Italian Government in an endeavor to stop its shipment. The French Government had contended that Italian insistence on the delivery of the remaining 2,000 tons would imperil the future of the entire American North African economic program. From Rochat’s remarks we gathered that the Italians had been given to understand that if the whole matter could be settled to the satisfaction of the American Government there was a possibility of the quick resumption of shipments from the United States to North Africa.

Repeated to Murphy.

  1. Post, p. 620.