The Secretary of State to the Chief of Staff, United States Army (Marshall)

My Dear General Marshall: I am sending you an outline of our thoughts concerning the points discussed with you over the telephone and with General Hull here on December 4, for whatever they may be worth to you and your associates. You will note that the memorandum is in the form of a suggested telegram to General Eisenhower and Mr. Murphy.

Sincerely yours,

Cordell Hull

Memorandum of a Suggested Telegram to General Eisenhower and Mr. Murphy From General Marshall and the Secretary of State95

We feel that it is important that you should seek the earliest moment you consider expedient orally to explain to Admiral Darlan the attitude of the United States Government along the following lines:

“The United States Government fully appreciates the important military contribution which Admiral Darlan has made and is continuing to make in the campaign which began in Africa but which is a prelude to the complete liberation of all French peoples both at home and in the empire from Axis domination and rule. It has been the consistent policy of this Government, expressed on many occasions by the Secretary of State, to welcome the active cooperation of all Frenchmen who desire to resist Axis aggression and the extension, wherever it may be found, of Axis domination and control. It is the common purpose of the United Nations to continue the struggle until the aims of the Atlantic Charter96 are fulfilled and the peoples of each country are free to express their own will and to decide their future for themselves. Until these purposes are achieved, other considerations must be left for subsequent determination since dispersion of effort must weaken the military unity of [Page 473] purpose. It is in the sense of the foregoing that we feel that Admiral Darlan has an important continuing part to play in supplementing the invaluable97 contribution which he has already made. As long as his efforts are directed to the specific end of resistance to the Axis, we feel he has a definite role and a positive military contribution to make to our united effort consistent with the policy of the United States Government as outlined above. This will not be the case if he devotes his efforts to building up an organization, not directly connected with the military effort, since it must be borne in mind that other Frenchmen are likewise making contributions in the military field of considerable importance whose political aims have likewise never been ‘gone along with’ by this Government. This Government has too great a respect for France and the sovereignty of the French people to attempt to predetermine the choice which the French people will eventually have to make.

“You may further wish to add that any exhortation directed to Frenchmen to support the military effort is timely but to go beyond that into what is primarily a political appeal may now be detrimental to the cause of France.”

For your private information, efforts of the character which we have in mind here as being contrary to this policy are Admiral Darlan’s recent message to former Ambassador Peyrouton98 at Buenos Aires asking the latter to serve as his accredited political representative to the Argentine Government, as well as his messages to other Chiefs of French Missions soliciting their political adherence.

  1. This telegram was sent on December 7, 1942, via War Department cable.
  2. Joint statement by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, p. 367.
  3. In the text of telegram sent the phrase “has an important continuing part to play in supplementing the invaluable” was changed to “is continuing to supplement the”.
  4. Marcel Peyrouton, French Ambassador in Argentina, 1936–40.