862.24/632a: Telegram

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

198. You should address a communication to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in response to his note of March 14 (see telegram 390, March 14, 4 p.m.) along the following lines:

“The Government of the United States takes note with satisfaction of the assurance received from the French Government that its agreement to provide no military assistance to the Axis forces includes the delivery and transportation of supplies of any origin whatsoever. It is further understood that no exceptions are contemplated to the agreement not to furnish military aid, either directly or indirectly, to the Axis Powers and that arrangements have been effected to put an end to any further deliveries of petroleum products as mentioned in Admiral Darlan’s note of March 14 (Embassy’s telegram 391, March 14, 5 p.m.).

Confident that the assurances thus given represent an affirmation of the true feelings of the people of France, this Government is prepared on its part to pursue the present arrangement with regard to the program of North Africa supply on the basis of the release of vessels which have been engaged in this traffic thus permitting the departure with agreed cargoes for North Africa of the two vessels now in United States ports under the same conditions that have governed the previous voyages of vessels in this service. The French Government will appreciate that the continued operation of this service will be governed by conditions existing at the time of possible further scheduled sailings which must involve an adjustment of the problem presented by the existence in North Africa of strategic materials such as supplies of cobalt and rubber.

In regard to other questions raised by the French Government in its communication, the position of this Government and its desire to maintain French sovereignty throughout the French Empire has been made clear on repeated occasions. The rights and interests of France in the various areas of the world are fully respected by this Government and its announced intention of respecting the sovereignty exercised by the French people over the various possessions of France should be clear evidence that this Government looks toward the eventual resumption of complete independence and sovereignty of France and its people. The people of France will fully appreciate that this declaration of the United States represents a recognition of their future rights and independence and is in entire conformity with the ancient traditions of friendship and solidarity of the free peoples of both Nations.”