740.0011 EW/1–3045: Telegram

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

427. My telegram 399, January 28, 11 p.m. Bidault’s luncheon was a great success. Hopkins and I saw Bidault in his office for about 45 minutes before luncheon. Bidault set out the French position on post-war control of Germany which he and General de Gaulle have frequently set over to me before: elimination of all war industry and near-war industry in Germany, an international body to be set up to govern and control the Rhine region, the southern part thereof to be controlled exclusively by the French, the northern part under mixed control, Germany to be reduced to a status making it impossible for her to wage war again (“however,” he added, “I would not like to see a red flag over Germany succeeded by a black flag (the pirate’s flag of course)”.20a

There was then some discussion in regard to the suggested voting procedure of the security council of the United Nations organization and also of the suggested emergency high commission for liberated Europe.20b In both cases Bidault was sympathetic.

At luncheon we were with the Ministers of Finance,20c Communication20d and Transportation20e also. Hopkins was in very good form [Page 668]and gave them a frank and useful talk; he repeated what he had said to de Gaulle and Bidault (my telegram 399, January 28) and expanded thereon.

He talked also about the next big three Conference; told them that he knew that President Roosevelt would like to see de Gaulle sometime, somewhere, before he returned to the United States. After a little discussion during which it was clear that the members of the Cabinet were afraid of de Gaulle’s reaction, hurt feelings, etc. in case he were not invited to join the big three conference, it was decided to let the matter rest for the moment; and I will endeavor to find out what the score is and keep Hopkins informed so that he can decide whether or not to advise the President to suggest a meeting.20f

There was also a very frank discussion on both sides about colonies, especially Indochina.20g The Ministers were obviously very interested, especially leven who was Minister of Colonies until recently. They declared that the fundamental French colonial policy is this: to go forward with the integration of the colonies into an Empire system; that is to say, as fast as their education, etc. allows, they will advance towards complete equality with Metropolitan France—politically and otherwise. The French Provisional Government has in mind proposing in the new constitution a provision for a Senate and Chamber of Deputies. (The Chamber will represent only Metropolitan France; the Senate will be composed of Senators elected by the whole French Empire on an equality basis as fast as the integration described above is achieved. There will be no inequalities of race or religion, etc.)

French also brought forward their urgent interest in obtaining civilian supplies and the Minister of Communications stressed their need for railroad material and boats. In line with this, the Ministers of Communication and Finance at half past four took us to see the condition of the marshalling yards and what is left of the railroad equipment at Saint Cyr to show what efficient damage had been [done?] by our bombardments there, and also to demonstrate how badly they need new material and to point out to us how much they have accomplished in the way of repairing locomotives, etc. under most trying circumstances; all the material is in the open, for instance; there are no sheds left.

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After Saint Cyr we returned to the house where Mr. Hopkins was staying at Saint Cloud and the conversation was continued until seven o’clock.

Mr. Hopkins was most sympathetic and made an excellent impression. His visit here was timely and very useful.

Sent Department, repeated to Rome as 10 for Mr. Hopkins.

  1. For additional documentation on the treatment of Germany during the period of Allied control, see vol. iii, pp. 369 ff.
  2. For additional documentation on the topics under reference here, see Conferences at Malta and Yalta, pp. 44 108.
  3. René Pleven.
  4. Pierre-Henri Teitgen.
  5. René Mayer.
  6. According to the account of this luncheon in Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History, revised edition (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1950), pp. 847–848, Hopkins not only indicated President Roosevelt’s desire to meet with de Gaulle but also suggested that arrangements might be made for de Gaulle to attend the closing sessions of the forthcoming Conference of Heads of Government at Yalta. For Bidault’s report to de Gaulle regarding Hopkins’ suggestion of a possible meeting with the President, see General de Gaulle, War Memoirs, Salvation 1944–196: Documents (London, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1960), pp. 115–116.
  7. For documentation on the discussions regarding the future of French Indochina, see vol. vi , section on French Indochina.