740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–2845: Telegram

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

2179. The President of the Council of Ministers44 Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs asked me to go to see him this morning. He said that the Provisional Government of France had been grievously shocked by an incident which took place at Stuttgart the day before yesterday. I told him that I knew nothing of the incident except what I had read in the local New York Herald Tribune yesterday morning and this morning in the French press.

He said that in accordance with General Eisenhower, General de Lattre de Tassigny’s45 operations had included the capture of Stuttgart. After the capture the French military authorities installed a local military government. Two days ago orders were issued by our military authorities summarily removing that government and appointing an American military governor. Also he thought American troops had entered Stuttgart.

He then said that it was with the greatest regret and real sadness that he was taking this up with me, especially in view of his well-known sympathies for our country but that after due deliberation, the Provisional Government had decided that it must insist on the reinstallation of the French military government in Stuttgart. What had happened was an offense to the French Army as well as to the French Government and people.

He went on to say that the French Provisional Government had tried vainly to ascertain the limits of the French occupied zone; that if Stuttgart is in the zone the French troops and local government would remain in the zone; if Stuttgart is not in the zone, the French troops and government would be removed from Stuttgart.

He said that he begged, he pleaded that the French zone be established as soon as possible and that the French be permitted to participate in the conversations leading to the establishment of the zone.

He added that he ardently hoped that this incident would not spread any “poison” and could be terminated without delay.

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Of course I have received only this French version. General Bedell Smith46 is flying down from forward this afternoon to discuss the matter with me. In the meantime I send this as information.

  1. Gen. Charles de Gaulle.
  2. Gen. Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, Commander of the French First Army.
  3. Chief of Staff to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander.