851.01/3646: Telegram

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

1186. My 1184, April 9, noon. While I was at AFHQ this morning Duff Cooper, who returned late last night, was seeing Giraud to urge him to accept the post of Inspector General. (Neither Hooker whom I informed early yesterday afternoon of the substance of Department’s 1055, April 7, 10 p.m. and who saw Giraud yesterday evening, nor Duff Cooper advised me in advance of their intention to see Giraud.) Giraud was adamant. The climax came when one of Giraud’s aides brought in a report to the effect that de Gaulle’s letter to him offering the post had been released to the press and was to be published in the Dernières Nouvelles this evening. Whereupon Giraud then stated that he wished his draft reply referred to in my preceding telegram (stating that he refused to resign as CinC and would await the action of FCNL) also published.

Duff Cooper apparently took his action on basis of a cable which he had just received from Prime Minister instructing him to urge Giraud not to resign and de Gaulle not to make his position untenable because of adverse effect which it would have on Franco-American relations. Unfortunately I was not able to read cable in question myself and had to be content with what was a bowdlerized version. While Prime Minister did instruct Duff Cooper to remind de Gaulle that it was thanks to expenditure of Anglo-American blood that there was any FCNL in North Africa and pointed out that British as well as Americans had rearmed French divisions and Navy I gained distinct impression that inference would be left with de Gaulle that it was chiefly because of United States of America President Roosevelt that British were taking action indicated. While Duff Cooper agreed no further action would be taken with regard to persuading Giraud he informed me he felt it was necessary to carry out fully his instructions. [Page 679] Accordingly he is seeing de Gaulle this evening although he remarked rather bitterly that if de Gaulle’s letter should in fact appear in evening newspaper his late appointment will have no effect.

Sent to the Department as 1186, repeated to London as 141.