851.86/66: Telegram

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

1328. Admiral Stark has been informed, with reference to the question dealt with in my 1278, February 18, midnight, that the French National Committee and British representatives have further discussed the problem arising from the recruiting of French personnel from North Africa for the Fighting French. The latter claim that the masters of certain French ships are anti-Allied and untrustworthy and hence that loyal French cannot serve under them. British security officials report that certain officers and ships from North Africa are in fact of doubtful loyalty. Foreign Office is reviewing the situation and will cable a report to the British Embassy in Washington. Palewski informed Stark’s aide this morning that North African French Missions in Washington have opened recruiting stations and are actively soliciting from among the French in America volunteers to enroll in the land, air and sea forces under Giraud’s49 command. Palewski claims that a certain number of French in the United States who had contracted engagements with the Fighting French services have been solicited by Giraud’s recruiting service and had been accepted. It is stated that for this reason the French National Committee hesitates, while Giraud’s recruiting forces continue to solicit men of the Fighting French forces, to issue instructions to refuse recruits from the North and West African services.

  1. Gen. Henri Honoré Giraud, French High Commissioner of French North Africa.