851.01/2703

The Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs ( Hickerson ) to the Secretary of State 1

Memorandum

SThe Secretary Mr. Atherton informed me over the telephone this afternoon that he had just had a long talk with Mr. Norman Robertson, the Canadian Under Secretary of State for External Affairs, in regard to the French National Committee. He said that Mr. Robertson was very unhappy over the whole situation. Mr. Robertson felt that there had been too much delay about accepting or “recognizing” the Committee. On this point Mr. Atherton endeavored to explain to him that the American Government had not been responsible for this delay.

Mr. Robertson was especially unhappy over the fact that all of the discussions between the President and Mr. Churchill had looked to joint U.S. and U.K. action and a joint press statement in regard to the action of those two Governments alone without any reference to Canada or other countries. Mr. Robertson said that if that was the feeling of the President and Mr. Churchill that perhaps there had been no necessity for or point to Canada’s delaying her own action. He said that the Canadian Government had communicated with Mr. Churchill along this line and that he had immediately suggested that Canada defer any action until his arrival at which time the whole matter would be discussed.

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Mr. Robertson informed Mr. Atherton that this procedure was agreeable to Canada but that the Canadian Government hoped very much that action could be taken in respect to the French National Committee before the end of next week. Mr. Mackenzie King therefore proposes to discuss this matter with Mr. Churchill in Quebec on Wednesday.2 Mr. Robertson told Mr. Atherton that Mr. Eden would be arriving week after next and that the Canadian Government particularly did not wish to see action in regard to the French National Committee deferred until Mr. Eden’s arrival.

J[ohn] D H[ickerson]
  1. Submitted through James C. H. Bonbright, of the Division of European Affairs, and the Adviser on Political Relations (Dunn).
  2. August 11. King actually began his discussions on this subject with Churchill on August 10 and continued them on August 11. See Pickersgill, pp. 536, 541.