851.86/72: Telegram

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

351. From Murphy.56 London’s 1424, February 25. The British have made representations to General Giraud urging the importance of reaching an early recruiting agreement with General de Gaulle, [Page 213] the necessity of which is admitted by Giraud, but no progress can be made until Catroux’s57 arrival here. The members of the de Gaulle mission now in Algiers have no authority even to discuss this matter.

The Bethouart mission has informed Giraud that measures have been taken in the United States to put an end to desertions from French ships arriving in American ports and to recruiting among French North African personnel on behalf of de Gaulle.

The Allied military and naval authorities here believe it is important to make a distinction between civilian, including merchant seamen, deserters and deserters from the French Armed Forces and that for reasons of military security and discipline the latter should be returned to their units if apprehended in American or British territory. The British Minister’s office has been requested to make a similar recommendation to London since the military authorities feel that whatever action in this respect is taken outside the theater has definite repercussions here. [Murphy.]

  1. Robert D. Murphy, United States Political Adviser on the staff of the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, and Personal Representative of the President in North Africa.
  2. Gen. Georges Catroux, being sent to North Africa as representative of General de Gaulle.