Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

Participants: Secretary of State Hull, Mr. Henri Hoppenot, Delegate of the French Committee of National Liberation, and Mr. Mendes-France72

Mr. Henri Hoppenot, Delegate of the French Committee of National Liberation, called at his request and presented Mr. Mendes-France.

Mr. Hoppenot offered some expression of approval of my speech73 as it was related to the French situation. I replied that I was undertaking [Page 682] for all concerned to deal with these matters to the best of my ability. I then said that I presumed the forty million people in continental France knew that only the large American and British Armies are capable of coming into France and freeing the people from German enslavement. He said yes, yes that was quite true. They did understand that. I stated that there was a rumor from time to time raising doubt about whether these forty million people of France really desired the American and British Armies to come in and free them from German bondage, and that I was wondering if he had any comment. He at once protested in the way of denial. I, of course, was referring to the speech of the day before by de Gaulle, in which he said in effect that other nations would have no right in France except for strategic purposes. I think Mr. Hoppenot understood at once what I referred to. I said that he and his people had a great opportunity to make a showing in the fighting that would be calculated to carry their leaders to the highest military rank. This did not seem to sink in very deeply.

C[ordell] H[ull]
  1. Pierre Mendes-France, Finance Commissioner of the French Committee of National Liberation.
  2. The speech delivered over the Columbia Broadcasting System, April 9, Department of State Bulletin, April 15, 1944, p. 335.