740.0011 P.W./2–2445: Telegram

The Chargé in China ( Atcheson ) to the Secretary of State

283. 1. The French Counselor82 called on me, at his request, late February 22 (ReEmbs 281 February 23, 3 p.m.83). He said that he wished to speak to me as a friend with complete frankness over a matter which had caused considerable concern and even some anger in his Embassy. He said that his Embassy had learned on good authority that there was being organized [in] Yunnan Province, with the assistance of American military officers, Chinese expeditionary force designed for use in Indo-China. He said the French had not been officially informed in regard to this project or asked to collaborate or participate in it although it was well known that France was anxious to collaborate in fighting against the Japanese in Indo-China [Page 56] and was herself organizing in France an expeditionary force prepared to proceed to the Far East for that purpose. He said, in response to my question, that his Military Attaché had not discussed the matter at our Army Headquarters but added that General Pechkoff, the French Ambassador, had in the past had some discussions with General Wedemeyer with regard to French Indo-China; that the French had high regard for Wedemeyer who had always dealt with them in a very frank as well as friendly way; and that General Wedemeyer had said that he was concerned with military matters only and not political matters. Clarac went on to say that there were obvious political considerations in connection with the specific matter under discussion and the French Embassy would like to have it referred to Washington.

Clarac also inquired whether the French Embassy’s note on the French position in respect to Indo-China of January 19, 194584 (our despatch No. 111 January 31) had been referred to the Department. I told him that it had gone forward some time ago.

2. In the absence of General Wedemeyer, the above had been shown to Brigadier General Gross, Acting Chief of Staff. Gross was noncommittal in comment. Department may wish to discuss this new question with Generals Hurley and Wedemeyer when they reach Washington.

Atcheson
  1. Achille M. Clarac.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.