851.86/61a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the United Kingdom (Matthews)

839. Please ask Admiral Stark44 to take up at once the following matter with the French National Committee. There are now in New York two North African French vessels, one a naval tanker and the other the merchant ship Wyoming. About 30 seamen from these vessels, of which about 25 were French naval ratings, have been recruited by the local Fighting French Recruiting Office in New York into Fighting French service, thereby taking the services of these men away from the North African French units concerned. This severely cripples the operation of the ships.

Please request that General de Gaulle45 take immediate steps to correct this case and insure that no further recruiting of personnel of other services in the United Nations effort takes place.

For your information, the maritime United Nations have agreed here that no one of them would recruit or accept sailors from ships of the other, except with the specific consent of the representatives of the other, and of course recruiting of navy ratings is impossible. We have tacitly allowed recruiting by the Fighting French but if this practice is insisted on, the privilege would necessarily have to be reviewed.

Parallel representations are being made to the Fighting French Delegation here.

  1. Adm. Harold R. Stark, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe.
  2. Gen. Charles de Gaulle, President of the French National Committee in London.