Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Dunn)

Mr. Michael Wright of the British Embassy came in this morning for the purpose of informing the Department that on the occasion of the visit to London within the next few days of Mr. Massigli,76 Commissioner for Foreign Affairs in the French Committee, the British Government expects to take up with him questions now outstanding between the British Government and the French particularly with respect to the Levant.77 The British Government expects to have a general survey of the relationships between the French and the British and will expect to inform the United States and Soviet Governments of the conversations held with Massigli.

I told Mr. Wright that yesterday at a chance meeting with Mr. Alphand78 the latter had stated that he was proceeding to London today or tomorrow to be present at the signing of the agreements on civil administration in France and related matters,79 and that he expected thereafter to return immediately to Washington for the purpose of initiating negotiations with regard to lend-lease and mutual aid with respect to Continental France.80 Mr. Alphand said that he expected to take up also with the American Government other questions such as the participation of the French in questions related to Germany and the occupation of that country, and some other questions in the relationship between the French authorities and the United States Government. I said that I had told Mr. Alphand that we had received authorization to discuss civil affairs and connected matters with the French Committee of National Liberation, but that we had no authorization otherwise to deal with them on other than questions with regard to the administration in France and the relationship [Page 86] of the Allied forces thereto. I also said that questions related to the surrender and post-surrender treatment of Germany were being dealt with in the European Advisory Commission, and that that Commission was empowered to make and was making arrangements with a view to informing the other United Nations in Europe interested in the German questions of developments along that line, and the Commission would give the other United Nations most directly concerned an opportunity to state their views and comments on the question of Germany and the other enemy states in Europe. I said that the French authorities would be included in this arrangement for discussion of the matter, and that as I saw it now, the relationships with the Committee and under the arrangements which we had just arrived at in Washington with respect to the civil administration in France we felt that the French had every reason to believe that they would be included in at least informal discussions of matters concerning them, but that it was not possible for this Government to deal with the Committee as a Government of France. I said further that we thought the French Committee had been and was unduly apprehensive of the policies and attitude of this Government with regard to the position of France in the future, and that we were most anxious that France should take its proper place in the future developments in Europe and in the world.

I told all this to Mr. Wright because we have had indications that Mr. Eden81 expects to make promises to the Committee that they will be brought into discussions of postwar arrangements in Europe and the indications we have had are to the effect that Mr. Eden will probably go much farther in making promises to the French Committee than this Government would be willing to join in.

James Clement Dunn
  1. René Massigli, Commissioner for Foreign Affairs in the French Committee of National Liberation, became Minister for Foreign Affairs on September 7, 1944, and French Ambassador at London on September 11, 1944.
  2. For correspondence regarding recognition by the United States of the independence of Syria and Lebanon and the U.S. attitude on the question of treaty relations between those countries and France, see vol. v, pp. 774 ff.
  3. Hervé Alphand, Director of Economic Affairs in the Commission for Foreign Affairs of the French Committee of National Liberation.
  4. For correspondence regarding the concern of the United States over civil administration of France immediately following liberation from the Germans, see vol. iii, pp. 634 ff.
  5. For correspondence regarding negotiations between the United States and France for a general Lend-Lease agreement to cover all French territories, see ibid., pp. 748 ff.
  6. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.