740.00112 European War 1939/5922: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Tuck) to the Secretary of State

959. The purport of the first two paragraphs of the Department’s 397, June 27, 5 p.m. was communicated confidentially to the official referred to in my 897, June 20, 1 p.m.

Today he requested me to convey to the Department his regret that the unofficial undertaking of the French Government that no [Page 329] further shipments of cobalt would be made could not include the projected shipment from Nemours. He explained that this cobalt had been sold to the Germans and that it was consequently impossible to repudiate the contract. He agreed however to keep us closely informed as to the status of the shipment, its proposed date of departure and the course it would follow. He felt that Murphy’s control officers could play a useful role in this connection and he promised at the same time immediately to convey to me whatever information he received with regard to the vessel’s movements. He added that the ship in question had not as yet reached Nemours.

As regards the assurance requested in the second paragraph of the Department’s telegram under acknowledgment he requested our Government to address an official note in this sense to the French Government stating specifically that if this assurance were given we would in return be willing to permit a French tanker to furnish a cargo of kerosene to North Africa.

I confidently believe that this official is anxious and willing to keep us informed with regard to the attempted passage of this cobalt and that while it may not be possible for the authorities to arrange to delay the loading and sailing of the vessel he will do his best to keep us posted as to the status of the shipment.

The same official informed me that the Germans are now insisting on the continuance of their control at Casablanca for the duration of the armistice period even if United States shipments to North Africa were to be suspended in the future.

Repeated to Murphy.