Matthews Files

The Director of the Office of European Affairs (Dunn) to the Under Secretary of State (Stettinius)1



Preparation for Big Three Meeting

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2. There is another matter which should be brought to the attention of the President and that is the request of the British Embassy here for our opinion as to whether France, Belgium, and Holland should be rearmed at this time with a view to (a) permitting their troops to take part in the occupation of Germany and (b) to making those countries militarily strong within the British idea of a “defensive” confederation composed of Great Britain and the Western European countries. We have asked the opinion of the U. S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and find that from a purely military point of view they are in favor of this rearming. The British propose that they rearm the Dutch and the Belgians and that we undertake to rearm the French to an extent of somewhere between eight and twelve divisions. This would be all new armament and supplementary to the rearming of the several French divisions we have provided so far and which are now in action. The British say that the divisions we have already armed would not be suitable for the occupation of Germany because they are colonial and colored troops and that new divisions formed of recruits from metropolitan France should be activated for this new purpose. The President would have to decide whether, from the point of view of major policy, we wish to rearm France. This new rearming would, of course, be carried out on the basis of cash payment and not lend- [Page 284] lease, as it would be for post-war and not during the war operations. Doc Matthews will give you any further details on this question.

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James Clement Dunn
  1. Carbon copy.
  2. For other excerpts from this memorandum, see ante, pp. 42, 4748.