740.00119 Control (Germany)/4–345

The President of the French Provisional Government (de Gaulle) to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force (Eisenhower)53

1350/DN/3/P

My Dear General: I thank you sincerely for your letter of 28th April concerning the method by which you propose to solve the problem of using Stuttgart as a communications center for military operations.

I shall refrain from any discussions on this issue, which is part of your strategical responsibilities. However, allow me to say, that in my opinion, it is not certain that during the period of operations, the military use and the administration of a region need necessarily be the same.

Thus it was that Nancy, then Metz, cities which are both prefectures and French military regional headquarters, have been and are still used as communication centers for the 3rd American Army, and to my knowledge this arrangement has in no way been an obstacle to General [Page 684]Patton’s magnificent successes. You, yourself, quite recently, requested French forces to proceed, at once, with the occupation of certain zones on the left bank of the Rhine situated in the rear areas of the American Armies, while these (armies) use these zones for their communications. At any rate, you will certainly realize that government and occupation of German territories, in general, and more specifically that of Stuttgart create problems which go beyond the sphere of military operations and which become in a direct way the responsibility of the French Government.

The difficulty which we have just experienced is due to a situation for which you are in no way responsible and which is due to the lack of agreement, and consequently liaison, between the American and British Governments on the one hand and the French Government on the other, on that which relates to the war policy in general and in particular to the occupation of German territory. But the fact that the points of view and the requirements of both parties have not been, up to the present time, agreed or even confronted, naturally does not prevent the existence of these points of view and these needs. The French Government not having been able to integrate its views in a common plan is now compelled to put them forward separately.

Following the same line of reasoning, the fact that the French command has no representation in the organization for strategic direction called “Combined Chiefs of Staff” and that, consequently, the decisions which are reached by them do not take into account French national requirements, has resulted in forcing me personally—although to my great regret—to step in sometimes, either with respect to plans or their execution. You are certainly aware, that while agreeing to place French operational forces in the Western theater under your Supreme Command, I have always reserved the right of the French government eventually to take the necessary steps in order that French forces should be employed in accordance with the national interest of France which is the only interest that they should serve.

I have, naturally, never made any distinction with respect to French forces which have had the benefit of American armament. I should, moreover, call your attention to the fact that this armament has been turned over by the U.S. based on “Lend Lease” agreements by virtue of which France and the French Empire provide on their part, and in accordance with their means, important services for American forces. On this point, I note, with very much regret that as of the present moment, no new French division has been completely equipped by the United States since the beginning of operations in western Europe, in spite of all that had appeared to have been understood a long time ago.

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You may be sure, in any event, that I am deeply aware of the sentiments which you have so well expressed regarding the fine comradeship in arms which has always been shown in battle among American and French forces. I am anxious to tell you how very deeply I appreciate the part which you have played personally in this close cooperation. You may be certain that the French Government is most desirous of seeing it continue.

Sincerely yours,

C de Gaulle
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) in his letter of May 3, 1945; received May 17.