The Ambassador in France (Leahy) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 15—12:55 p.m.]
390. The following is a translation of a note dated March 14 which has just been received from the Foreign Office signed by Darlan in reply to my note conveying the substance of the Department’s 139, March 2, 8 p.m.:
“In its note of March 5 Your Excellency had the kindness to inform me that the American Government had taken note with satisfaction of the contents of the note which I addressed to him on February 24.
Your Excellency adds, however, that the United States Government considers that the shipment of food supplies, fuel, trucks and other supplies to the Axis forces in North Africa and in other theaters of operations constitutes military assistance. The United States Government desires consequently to receive the assurance from the French Government that the agreement on the part of the latter to [Page 149]provide no ‘military assistance’ to the belligerent forces extends to the delivery and transportation of supplies of any origin whatsoever.
I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the French Government is in a position to give (est en mesure de donner) this assurance (with the exception of the delivery of a remaining balance of food supplies and trucks the transportation of which is being effected at the present time and will be completed very shortly).
It is still to be understood, as indicated in my note of February 24, that the French Government expects as a counterpart to find with the American Government a spirit of comprehension and the willingness to come to agreement ‘which are indispensable for the maintenance of a position the affirmation of which answers the preoccupations of President Roosevelt’” (this quotation is from French note of February 24 transmitted in our 292, February 25, 10 a.m.) “and which should more particularly find an expression in the resumption, under the conditions originally provided for, of the supplying of North Africa, the satisfactory settlement of the St. Pierre-Miquelon affair,33a the respect of the rights and interests of France in the various areas of the world and the cessation of a tendencious press and radio campaign.”
The person mentioned in our 1527, December 12, 1 p.m.,34 informs us that the German authorities were consulted and gave permission for these assurances.
Repeated to Murphy.