851.01/3342: Telegram

The American Representative to the French Committee of National Liberation at Algiers ( Wilson ) to the Secretary of State

129. I have received a note from Massigli4 dated January 8 requesting assistance for the French resistance organizations which reads in translation as follows:

“The time is approaching when the Allied armies will undertake on French territory operations the success of which will deal a decisive blow to German military power. Nothing therefore must be neglected to insure their success and it is with this conviction that the French [Page 639] Committee of National Liberation has directed me to call Your Excellency’s attention to the following considerations:

Under the impulsion and direction of the French Committee of National Liberation French resistance has today become an organized force which represents a military potential ready for use in these operations. Organized at first on a moral plane it rapidly became an element of strategic value.

Right now the idea of destructions carried out enemy installations impede considerably the functioning of the German war machine in French territory. For example, an official document emanating from Vichy sets forth 1800 instances of sabotage carried out in the period from September 25 to October 25 last. At the moment of landing, the systematically prepared intervention of the patriot groups at certain sensitive points of the German front and in the enemy’s rear will have an even greater importance and will represent substantial support for the Allied forces. The value of this support will increase in the same measure that arms and material placed at the disposal of French resistance permit of the calling in of a greater number of group.

It must, unfortunately, be noted that the material which the resistance groups dispose of at present is out of proportion to the number and quality of the effectives which it could put in line if proper steps were taken in good time. It is true that this situation is partly the result of unquestionable technical difficulties but it is due above all to the well known insufficiency of the material assigned to transport operations in France, an insufficiency all the more serious in that the French domestic war effort is growing every day.

The French Committee of National Liberation must understand that all deficiencies in French armament of French patriots and in the minor detail organized, in accordance with the expressed desire of Allied propaganda itself, for the purpose of fighting in the enemy’s rear at the moment of landing, would involve grave military, political and moral consequences.

The British and American Governments alone are in a position today to furnish the necessary means for the battle of the rear. The preparation of this battle implies the preliminary elaboration of precise plans concerning the nature, quantity and kind of material to be sent to France.

But such an elaboration implies the cooperation of the qualified representatives of the competent American and British services, as well as those of the French Committee of National Liberation. In order to accomplish this under the best conditions, the Committee accordingly has the honor to propose that these representatives meet in London at the earliest possible moment.

It would be obliged if Your Excellency would be kind enough to lay before your Government the foregoing proposal, stressing the very great importance which the Committee attaches thereto.”

A similar note has been received by my British colleague who is referring it to his Government.

In conjunction with this question please see my telegram No. 110, January 11, 2 p.m. regarding the debate in the Consultative Assembly [Page 640] in which members of French resistance urged that greater assistance be supplied to their organizations in France.

Please furnish a copy of this telegram to Assistant Secretary of War McCloy making reference to the air mail letter which I addressed to him on January 3, 1944, through Dunn5 enclosing a copy of memorandum prepared by Frénay, member of the French Committee and one of the resistance leaders, regarding the activities of French resistance.

I have furnished a copy of Massigli’s note to the Chief of Staff6 of Allied Force Headquarters.

Please instruct concerning the reply to be made to the proposal set out in the penultimate paragraph of the note.

  1. René Massigli, Commissioner for Foreign Affairs of the French Committee of National Liberation.
  2. James Clement Dunn, Adviser on Political Relations.
  3. Lt. Gen. J. A. H. Gammell.