The Consul at Brazzaville (Taylor) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 6.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegraphic despatches Nos. 92 of August 21, 1942 and 131 of September 12, 194240 and my despatches Nos. 36, July 27, 1942, 41, August 10, 1942, 56, September 10, 194241 and 58, September 11, 1942, concerning the American airport at Pointe-Noire.
General Fitzgerald, in charge of operations in Central Africa, visited Brazzaville today with Mr. Burnham, Director of Socony-Vacuum at Leopoldville. A conference was arranged with M. Laurentie, Secretary-General, with regard to paragraph nine of the agreement reported in my despatch No. 58, of September 11, 1942. The paragraph states that the Administration agrees to the installation of gasoline tanks and pipe lines at Pointe-Noire under terms to be agreed upon by the Fighting French authorities and the Socony-Vacuum. Mr. Burnham, supported by General Fitzgerald, requested that provisions concerning the disposition of the equipment after the war be included in the agreement. M. Laurentie and Colonel Carretier, Chief of the Fighting French Air Force, agreed that there was no authority in French Equatorial Africa capable of assuming the responsibility for such an agreement. M. Laurentie stated that the Americans were authorized to install, use and supervise their equipment at Pointe-Noire during hostilities. Any agreement that went beyond that would have to be made by the National Committee at London.
M. Laurentie produced a telegram received from London which was a copy of instructions to the Fighting French Delegation in New York. The instructions authorized the installation at Pointe-Noire, giving details of buildings, equipment and personnel anticipated. The last paragraph states that all equipment will revert to the French State without cost at the end of hostilities.
I have been informed by representatives of the American Army that the installation at Pointe-Noire is not indispensable to the proper functioning of the southern flight route. If the conditions imposed by the National Committee are too severe for acceptance it would be possible to move the coastal base to Boma or another place in the Belgian Congo. The Pointe-Noire base has already been divested of much of its utility since the hospital and post office have been transferred to Leopoldville. Pointe-Noire will be [Page 589]used as a refueling depot for planes which are unable to reach Leopoldville without refueling.
A few changes have been made in the draft of the local agreement concerning Pointe-Noire. A copy of the final draft is enclosed with this despatch.