840.50/3–2145: Telegram

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

1351. 1. Judge Rosenman requests the following message be given to the President:

2. Since my arrival in Paris I have had personal talks with Ambassador Caffery and several members of the Cabinet, including Bidault, Mendes France, Lacoste, Dautry, Mayer, Pleven, Ramadier and Billoux. I have also had detailed discussions at SHAEF and with our Embassy staff covering the whole range of civilian supply for liberated areas and related problems in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway. I have talked with General W. Bedell Smith43 and I expect to see General Eisenhower in the near [Page 1082] future. Ambassador Caffery is also arranging for me to see General de Gaulle44 on Saturday,45 at which time I shall deliver to him the letter which you gave me.

3. Insofar as France is concerned, I am of the opinion that unless it is possible from some source to provide France with more coal than was available in the past winter and with a better balanced diet the cumulative effect of the strains to which the people have been subjected in the past may have consequences of a very serious nature. It is agreed by everyone that coal is the key log in the jam. There appears little likelihood that French domestic coal production can be appreciably increased and you are familiar with the limiting factors of world supply and shipping insofar as imports of coal into France are concerned.

4. Next to coal the major problems appear to be difficulties of internal transport which impede effective distribution of indigenous food resources and certain important dietary deficiencies, notably fats and meat.

5. Once these elementary needs of heat, power distribution and diet are met there is entire agreement that necessary raw materials must be imported to enable industry to start turning over once more and employing idle workers.

6. The problem is serious and complex. I have endeavored in this message only to emphasize its gravity and highlight its major aspects. I shall place in your hands at the earliest possible moment my specific recommendations.

7. In conversations with Pleven and French financial people concerning French requirement for financial assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction the view is general that France will require assistance on a large scale. Pleven has stated that France will make use of the proposed International Stabilization Fund and the International Bank which are currently under discussion by Congress. Pleven was of the opinion that conversations regarding this matter should begin in early summer when France’s needs will be more readily determinable than at present.

8. I plan to leave soon for Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

  1. Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force.
  2. Gen. Charles de Gaulle, Head of the Provisional French Government.
  3. March 24.