351.115 Hirsch Sons, Inc., G./15: Telegram

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

500. Your despatch 817 of March 9, and your telegram 892 of June 19, 3 p.m.2 You should seek an interview with Laval3 and bring the following to his attention:

The Government of the United States has, through its Embassy, informed the French Government on various occasions in the past of the importance it attaches to the non-discriminatory treatment of American citizens regardless of race or creed. The Government of the United States has noted with growing concern the continued application of anti-Semitic laws to the property of American nationals in unoccupied France. It is regretted that its representations in specific instances of discrimination have remained unanswered.

For reasons which have already been made clear to the French Government the United States cannot admit the right of any foreign government to discriminate against citizens of the United States because of race or religion. If the French Government persists in applying its anti-Semitic laws to American nationals or their property in unoccupied France, this Government will be forced to take such steps as may be necessary to protect its nationals against these unwarranted and unconscionable measures of the French Government. Authority for such measures exists and will be exercised.

For your own information, the President has broad authority under the First War Powers Act, 1941,4 with respect to the property of foreign governments and their nationals which, while not thus far exercised with respect to non-enemy countries, could be looked to if necessary. Retaliatory action could likewise be effected through our control of French blocked funds in this country.

[Here follow references to three individual cases.]

  1. Neither printed.
  2. Pierre Laval, French Chief of Government.
  3. 55 stat. 838.