840.24/1–2845: Telegram

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

398. 1. I feel that the impression received by Ambassador Winant as reported in the first sentence of the Department’s 263 January 237 is fully justified. It has been apparent to us for some time that the British were adroitly maneuvering themselves into the position of being considered the advocates and leaders for the French in Washington. The fact that Richard Law, Thomas Brand8 et al accompanied Monnet9 to Washington and were ostensibly instrumental in bringing about the shipping meetings et cetera naturally reinforced their position.

2. We had already informed the French along the lines suggested in the reference telegram. In fact being aware of prevailing attitude we have sought to counteract it in our daily contacts with the French. Judging from recent statements made by French officials to members of my staff I believe that the French authorities are beginning to realize that United States of America aid to France has not been extracted by combined French British pressure. On the other hand the Department will appreciate that from time to time in the past we have given in to the French after considerable pressure at times abetted by the British.

3. Unsolicited concessions by the United States of America to France can of course go a long way toward overcoming the impression that pressure is required. In this connection it would be most helpful if the Embassy could receive advance information from the Department before concessions whether or not solicited are made. For example we have heard from the French that a master Lend-Lease agreement on the British model is about to be signed.10 If we could have been informed that we were prepared to make such an agreement before the French in Washington had been notified that information could have been usefully employed here.

Caffery
  1. See footnote 3, p. 1061.
  2. Member of British delegation in Washington.
  3. Jean Monnet, member of French delegation.
  4. For text of the Lend-Lease Agreement with France, effected by exchange of notes signed at Washington February 28, 1945, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 455, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1304. For documentation regarding the negotiation of this agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, pp. 748763.