851.01/3911: Telegram

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

1835. From Murphy. On my return from Italy this evening Massigli asked me to call. He gave me a brief description of the developments with regard to de Gaulle’s prospected visit to London informing me of latter’s departure today accompanied only by members of his personal entourage including Gaston Palewski, Hervé Alphand and Courcelles and Duff-Cooper.

Today’s departure followed a lengthy meeting of the FCNL last evening which debated the question. General de Gaulle and 4 members including Pleven and Grenier (Communist) opposed his going to London; 10 members favored it. No member of the Committee accompanied de Gaulle so that presumably he will be unable to take any action binding the FCNL.

Massigli deplored “The present state of Franco-American relations” particularly failure to reach an agreement satisfactory to the FCNL regarding the French currency issue for metropolitan France. According to Massigli the delay in the return of Mendes-France to Algiers is even viewed by members of FCNL with grave suspicion as further evidence of American reluctance to deal with the Committee.

Massigli referred to fact that the nerves of majority of Frenchmen in North Africa are frayed to the breaking point with anxiety and suspense. Many of them suffered from an unfortunate inferiority complex resulting from long exile. They are suspicious of everyone and everything. Once the military operation begins he said much of [Page 700] this psychology should disappear. Right now the daily reports of deaths in French urban centers resulting from Allied (read American) aerial bombardment stimulate further the critical attitude of many vis-à-vis the United States of America.

I gather from Massigli that Vice Admiral Fénard who departed yesterday for the United States reported a conversation with the President which indicated that if after de Gaulle’s visit to London he would express the desire to proceed to Washington that the President would be pleased to receive him. However, according to Fénard the President had no intention as Chief of State to invite de Gaulle Las one occupying a similar status.

I gathered that Fénard had also related that at the time of his conversation with the President that the latter had before him a copy of the British Prime Minister’s last speech before Commons10 and that the President seemed highly displeased with the portion concerning France.

Repeated to London. [Murphy.]

  1. Speech of May 24. For excerpt from speech, see memorandum of May 26 by the Under Secretary of State, p. 691.