740.0011 E.W./2–2145: Telegram

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

797. For the Department’s information the following résumé of events leading up to de Gaulle’s refusal to accept the President’s invitation to meet at Algiers is submitted: At Bidault’s luncheon (my 427, January 30, 1945) Hopkins informed Bidault that he knew that the President would like to see de Gaulle sometime somewhere prior to his return to the United States. The French Cabinet members including Bidault who were present were of the opinion that de Gaulle would not accept an invitation to meet particularly if he were not invited to join the Big Three conference. Bidault promised, however, to explore the ground with a view to ascertaining whether de Gaulle would be agreeable to meeting the President somewhere.

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On February 2 Bidault informed me that contrary to his expectations de Gaulle had said he would be “delighted” to meet President Roosevelt before his return to the United States and asked only to be notified as early as possible about the time and place of meeting (my 486, February 2, 6 p.m.).

On February 12 I received a message from the President (sent through military channels) instructing me to call upon de Gaulle and tell him in the utmost secrecy that the President eagerly looked forward to seeing him and very much hoped that he would find it possible to meet him in Algiers about February 17. The President expressed regret that it was impossible for him to arrange to come to Paris in accordance with de Gaulle’s much appreciated invitation and expressed the hope that the alternative of Algiers would be satisfactory.

I delivered this message to de Gaulle on February 12 and was informed by him the following day that it was not possible for him to leave Paris at that time.27 I communicated this information to the President through the same channels as his telegram and was instructed by him to proceed nonetheless to Algiers to confer with him on February 18. In compliance with a request from the President’s Naval Aide28 I requested de Gaulle and Bidault to impose strict censorship in Algiers and elsewhere about the President’s visit and my trip to Algiers until Early29 gave the official release.

  1. For the texts of the Ambassador’s communication of February 12 and de Gaulle’s reply of the following day, see General de Gaulle, War Memoirs, Salvation: Documents, p. 121.
  2. Rear Adm. Wilson Brown.
  3. Stephen Early, Secretary to President Roosevelt.