740.0011 European War 1939/24764: Telegram

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

1513. A reliable friendly official informs us that he has reason to believe that in the course of Laval’s conversations with the German authorities in Paris “the Germans brought up the question of Morocco and indicated their desire to come to some arrangement which would insure the fact that Morocco can and will be militarily defended against a possible Anglo-Saxon aggression”. While our informant stated that he had no detailed information concerning what the Germans have in mind he expressed the personal opinion that they may envisage the conclusion of some sort of a defensive pact perhaps similar to that between the Japanese and French in Indo-China75 which would give Germany certain military possibilities in French Africa.

(The Paris press—often a German sounding board—quotes Déat76 in an address to the youth of his party as stating that the idea of only a token resistance in the French Empire is ridiculous and that France should at once make a pact covering her African Empire similar to the pact she made concerning Indo-China. The Paris newspapers also continue daily to publish articles indicating that the Anglo-Saxons are about to commit an aggression against French Africa. The article speaks of large concentrations of American and British troops at Gibraltar, Bathurst, Freetown, Liberia, et cetera, and large naval concentrations off the Brazilian coast.) Our informant believes that General Noguès like Boisson in the case of Dakar has let it be known that he is violently opposed to any agreement permitting German entry into Morocco.

Repeated to London.

  1. Concerning Tokyo agreement of August 30, 1940, see telegrams No. 801, September 5, 1940, from the Ambassador in Japan, and No. 496, September 5, 1940, from the Chargé in France, Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. iv, p. 100. Regarding agreement signed on September 22 in French Indochina, see telegram of September 22, 1940, from the Consul at Hanoi, ibid., p. 141. For a report of the Franco-Japanese mutual defense agreement of July 29, 1941, see despatch No. 358, August 5, 1941, from the Consul at Saigon, ibid., 1941, vol. v, p. 259.
  2. Marcel Déat, collaborationist and editor of the French newspaper L’Oeuvre under German control.