851.01/3649: Telegram

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

1184. In the absence of Murphy who left early April 7 for Italy and of General Devers also in Italy I communicated the sense of the Department’s 1055, April 7, 10 p.m. to General Barr and last night, upon his return, to General Rooks.

In the meantime de Gaulle, who returned yesterday, saw Giraud and formally offered him the post of Inspector General. Later this was followed by an official letter in writing confirming the offer and in a personal letter which, according to a source close to Giraud, expressed conviction “that in the knowledge that the country was invaded, aware of the difficulties of those who in the midst of foreigners must direct the state, Giraud would accept”.

Giraud apparently still remains firm in his decision not to resign as CinC and to await action by the FCNL and has even prepared a draft of a possible reply to the formal letter mentioned above.

In a conference this morning at which General Gammell65 and General Rooks were present General Wilson, whom I apprised of the Department’s attitude, stated that he himself was not now opposed to Giraud’s going, particularly if the reports were true that General Béthouart would become Chief of Staff. He admitted that Rooker, the British Counselor, had with his knowledge yesterday evening urged Giraud personally “not to act precipitately in the matter of his resignation” and I learn[ed] also that Colonel Dostert of Liaison Section was apparently instructed by Chief thereof, Colonel Higgins, to make some similar representations to General de Vinck.

As result of conference this morning General Wilson agreed that no further representations should be made on British side to persuade Giraud to accept post of Inspector General and that I should tell British Ambassador for him that there was no serious adverse military reaction to be expected from Giraud’s resignation. It was agreed that while I would not volunteer any information with regard to our [Page 678] Government’s attitude to Giraud or to his staff, in event that I should be approached I had full liberty to give them the gist of Department’s cable under reference. At General Wilson’s request I have informed Duff-Cooper of decisions taken at this morning’s conference.

In view of delicate situation in which he is placed General [Mr.] Rooker, who is on General Wilson’s staff, has not felt entirely free in reporting this morning’s conference and I therefore, request that Department inform our appropriate military authorities.

Sent to the Department as 1184, repeated to London as 140.

  1. Gen. J. A. H. Gammell, Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater.