740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–645: Telegram

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

5889. As reported by the press, General de Gaulle continued to make friendly and conciliatory overtures to the Germans in Mainz, Neustadt and Freiburg during the second day of his trip to the Rhineland (reference my telegram 5856, October 423). These utterances have received greater coverage than his first day’s statements. It is of interest to note, however, that editorial comment is nearly entirely lacking. The impression is derived that de Gaulle’s policy in going as far as he has to gain friendship for France among the Germans of the occupation zone in Germany has rather taken the country by surprise.

Occasional statements are made in Rightist circles that France can “forgive but must not forget” and concern is expressed over the extent of General de Gaulle’s “generosity”. The Communists have as expected taken a position of open hostility to the General’s policy. It is clear, however, that the Communists are more concerned by the possibility of strengthening an anti-Soviet western Europe than by the purely Franco-German factors involved. While hammering at the necessity of Germans making reparations of all kinds and underscoring German atrocities, the main Communist underlying concern is well summarized by Humanité headline of today “At Strasbourg new speech of General de Gaulle in favor of so-called western ‘fraternity’”.

  1. Not printed; it reported (Statements made toy General de Gaulle on a trip through the French occupation zone of Germany (740.00119 Control (Germany)/10–445).