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

No. 4330

Sir: I have the honor to report that members of General de Gaulle’s personal entourage seem to be making special occasion to impress confidentially upon members of the Embassy staff the fact that “although the General has temporarily withdrawn from political life he will be back in power and stronger than ever probably within six months”. In discussing the General’s letter of resignation (copies of original text and translation are enclosed)13 a member of his entourage said that while the optimistic picture he painted of France being back to normal again is obviously untrue, as present conditions all too plainly attest, “the General’s letter was written not for this moment but for history”. He went on to compare de Gaulle’s letter of resignation with his historic speech of June 18, 1940 and said “when the General made that speech no one in France thought it made any sense but look how it has served him since then. In the same way this letter will serve its purpose at some time in the future”.

[Page 409]

It seems obvious that these intimate friends and collaborators of General de Gaulle are counting on the new government to fail, with the result that de Gaulle will be recalled by popular acclaim. Despite the optimistic views of the General’s followers most qualified political observers are inclined to believe that, for the time being at least, his prestige has suffered as a result of his precipitate resignation.

Respectfully yours,

Jefferson Caffery
  1. Not printed here, but see footnote 9, p. 403.