Statement by President Truman of France’s Role in the Settlement of Questions of World and European Interest 63

The President had the pleasure today of conversing with the French Foreign Minister, M. Bidault, upon his arrival from San Francisco and of discussing with him a number of problems of primary interest to France and the United States.

The President took the occasion at the outset to express the gratification of the entire American Delegation at San Francisco for M. Bidault’s cooperation and helpfulness and for the important and continuing contribution of the French Delegation to the work of the Conference.

The President made it abundantly clear that the American people and the American Government realize that the French nation has emerged with renewed strength and vigor from the catastrophe which it suffered and that it has demonstrated its determination and its ability to resume its rightful and eminent place among the nations which will share the largest measure of responsibility in maintaining the future peace of Europe and the world.

He expressed his desire to meet General de Gaulle and indicated that there was a full appreciation by the United States Government of the part which France could and should play in the settlement of questions of world and European interest.

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In this connection, the President indicated that the United States was moved by the strongest ties of friendship, dating back to the founding of this Nation. A strong France represents a gain to the world. As a consequence, the people of the United States have accepted reductions in their requirements of certain essential food items in order to permit increased shipments to the liberated countries of Europe, including France, where they are so urgently needed. Also the Government of the United States has taken extraordinary measures, despite American shortages of essential supplies and shipping, to arrange priorities for French procurement of such supplies and to provide shipping for their transportation to France. The people and Government of the United States will continue to take such measures as will lie within their power to facilitate the recovery of France and of her people.

The President confirmed to M. Bidault this Government’s complete willingness to relinquish to France a part of the American zone of occupation in Germany. Details have already been conveyed informally to the French Government and are now in the process of being formalized.

The President emphasized that we are faced with a still strong and deadly enemy in the Far East to whose defeat the total resources of this country, both in manpower and material, are pledged. He indicated that such assistance as France and our other Allies may bring to that struggle, and which may be synchronized with operations already planned or underway, will be welcomed.

The discussion was on the most friendly and cordial plane and afforded the President a welcome opportunity to emphasize the bonds of friendship and mutual interest between the two countries.

  1. Released to the press by the White House May 18, 1945; reprinted from Department of State Bulletin, May 20, 1945, p. 927.