740.0011 EW/l-1645

The Secretary of State to the President

secret

Memorandum for the President

Subject: French Request for Participation in Big Three Meeting

I am transmitting herewith a copy of a telegram from Caffery setting forth the full text of the formal request of the French Provisional Government that it be permitted to participate in the forth [Page 296]coming conference of representatives of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

E. R. Stettinius, Jr.

cc to Mr. Grew and Mr. Bohlen

[Enclosure]

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

secret

215. Reference my telegram 214,1 January 16, 9 a. m.

The Provisional Government of the French Republic has learned through public information of a proposed conference between the representatives of Great Britain, the United States of America and of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, for the purpose of determining precisely the conditions of their cooperation in the war.

In this connection the Provisional Government of the French Republic believes it should bring to the attention of the Government of the United States of America the following observations: The Military operations in the West are taking place at the present time on French territory or in the immediate neighborhood of its frontiers. France is making to the full extent of its present possibilities, an important and increasing contribution thereto, not only by its land, sea and air armed forces, but also by certain resources indispensable to the struggle, especially its means of transport and its ports.

Moreover, it appears, in the light of recent military events, that the continuation of the struggle to victory necessitates a constantly increasing participation of France in the common war effort. This participation cannot be assured under satisfactory conditions without a revision of the program of production, supply and transport which are [is] in effect at the present time between the Allies, a revision which cannot be advantageously undertaken without the direct participation of the Provisional Government of the French Republic.

Moreover, it must be observed that the conferences held between the other great allied powers lead these to decide in advance, without the participation of France, the settlement of certain questions of a political or economic character which, however, interest France directly or indirectly, in which case the Provisional Government of the French Republic evidently could not consider itself bound by any of the decisions taken without it and, consequently, such decisions lose some of their value.

Independently of motives of high political and moral propriety, it therefore appears opportune to the Provisional Government of the French Republic to make it known that its participation in such conferences is, in its eyes, necessary in matters relating to problems [Page 297]concerning the general conduct of the war, as well as those, the settlement of which concerns the future of peace—problems in which the responsibility of France is obviously engaged.

The Provisional Government of the French Republic cannot doubt that its point of view will be shared by the other great allied powers.

January 13, 1945.

Caffery
  1. Not printed. Telegram 214 gave the “substance of points made in” the French note of January 13, the text of which is herein set forth in translation. This note was delivered by Bidault to Caffery, and also to the British and Soviet Ambassadors, Duff Cooper and Bogomolov, on the evening of January 15. (740.0011-EW/1–1645.)