851T.001/19: Telegram

The Consul General at Algiers (Wiley) to the Secretary of State

1171. For the Secretary and the President from Murphy. I have discussed the situation at Dakar both with Giraud and Massigli. Macmillan and I saw Massigli about it this morning. Prior to our visit with him, Massigli and Monnet had visited the Chief of Staff74 [Page 166] in an effort to persuade him to approve immediately the appointment of Cournarie, at present Governor of the Cameroons, as Boisson’s successor stating that Mr. Prevost now of Boisson’s staff would act as his assistant.

Last evening Giraud told me that he had not been informed of this suggestion. He said that he would propose to the French Committee the appointment of General Boisboissel,75 recently appointed as Commanding General for French West Africa, also as Governor General in the event Boisson’s resignation is approved by the Committee.

The name of Cournarie was suggested by Pleven76 who speaks of him in the highest terms as a colonial administrator with whom he has been in close association during the past years. Massigli insists that Cournarie is not involved in politics but the fact remains that he has been associated with the de Gaulle movement, and his appointment unquestionably will be regarded as a de Gaulle selection.

While Massigli was not frank with Macmillan and myself in describing the events leading to Boisson’s resignation, it appears that as a result of the recent public manifestation in Dakar which apparently involved some disorder, several arrests were made by the local authorities. The French Committee through Pleven ordered that the persons arrested be released and thereafter Boisson tendered his resignation.

Massigli promised he would suggest to the Committee that in view of our interests the question of Boisson’s resignation and eventual replacement would be postponed for several days but that it would not be stated to the Committee that this was for the purpose of consultation with the American authorities. He said that the French Committee felt strongly that this question just as that involving the Commander-in-Chief involved questions of French sovereignty about which it would be improper to consult a foreign power.

I should appreciate your comment on the foregoing.

Repeated to Dakar and London. Sent to Department. [Murphy.]

  1. Maj. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith.
  2. Gen. Yves de Boisboissel, Commander of French Ground and Air Forces, French West Africa.
  3. René Pleven, Commissioner for Colonies, French Committee of National liberation.