852.00/3–1046: Telegram

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

secret
us urgent

1144. Urtel 1160 March 10.44 I understand and sympathize with Bidault’s position as stated orally to you. However difficult his position may have been as a result of Communist pressure exerted through the CGT, frankness compels me to state that if anyone has been put “on the spot” it has been the U.S., U.K. and French Govts through the action of the latter in advancing a proposal, the ramifications of [Page 1052]which do not appear to have been thought through and which we regard as fundamentally contrary to the best interests of the three Govts mentioned and particularly the French themselves. After the closing of the Franco-Spanish border45 it seems to us that this Govt’s proposal for a tripartite statement should have enabled Bidault to resist further pressure at this moment. Instead of stopping at this point, however, the French Govt chose to proceed, without further consultation, to propose the injection of the question into the Security Council and to seek outside support for this action. As our note implied, we are not prepared to support Bidault in following the line of least resistance by endorsing a proposal which, so far as the French have explained it, cannot lead in our view to a solution of the Spanish problem. In fact recent actions of the French Govt, according to information from Spain, have served to make more difficult peaceful evolution which is in the interest of all concerned including the Spanish people.

My inclination would be to have you make this very clear to Bidault, but I have concluded to leave the decision in this regard to your discretion in view of the internal political situation in France, particularly Bidault’s personal position and that of the MRP in the coalition government. In discussing Security Council proposal with members of the French Emb here in Washington we have been entirely frank in letting them know why we do not see eye to eye with their Govt.

Byrnes
  1. Not printed.
  2. On February 28, 1946, the French Government proclaimed suspension of communications with Spain and ordered the closing of the frontier between the two countries, effective March 1, 1946.