Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)
M. Tixier came in to see me today at his request.
He discussed the possibility of an airdrome at Pointe Noire, and in his presence I dictated the memorandum of conversation covering that subject.10 This is in the nature of an addendum.
Tixier showed me a copy of his telegram of instruction from De Gaulle. He had carried it around for three days before daring to present it. The telegram said quite concisely that if we expected to ask help from the Free French we ought to recognize them as a full ally, but did not make this a condition of granting landing rights at the airdrome. It stated bluntly that permission to use the airdrome would be given as soon as the Free French received a binding assurance from us that we would give them eight Lockheed transport planes.
I said to Tixier that I appreciated his frankness. In that case, I would speak entirely personally. In matters like this it was infantile to “bargain” with the United States. We would consider sympathetically requests for assistance, quite irrespective of any airdrome, and expected that they would do the same with requests which we made.
Tixier said he knew this perfectly well and that was why he was unhappy about the instruction. He said he thought he could have a certain amount of discretion in handling the matter, and then asked whether we could not work out a way of stating the matter officially so that the harshness of the telegram was softened. I then dictated the memorandum of conversation.
Tixier went on to say that London was extremely difficult to deal with, and expatiated on his difficulties at some length.