851.00/9–1647: Telegram

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

4005. My 3756, September 14.1 As municipal election campaign swings into high gear it becomes obvious that as usual the Communist Party is by far the best prepared with money, press, films, trained personnel, et cetera, as compared with all other parties, to gain the votes of the masses. Study of this party’s “internal” bulletins, as well as public speeches of its leaders, reveals that for the first time since the liberation the Communists have posed France’s attitude towards US as one of the main electoral planks. Whether Communist discussion [Page 751] touches upon internal or external affairs, our country is constantly accused of menacing France’s “independence” and the essential point which is most frequently stressed, as for example in Thorez speech delivered last Sunday at Saint Quentin, is that present government has revealed its complete incompetence by its “gambling on Am aid which will not be forthcoming”.

Bread, wheat and coal are the principal subjects of discussion on part of Communists. They portray the US as overflowing with wheat, coal, foodstuffs, etc., which we are withholding until France “capitulates” and becomes completely dominated. Humanité harps on “holdup” prices of American wheat and coal and describes the “rage” with which Thorez spoke at Saint Quentin of necessity of “plying [paying?] dearly in precious dollars for Ruhr coal”. While carefully avoiding discussion of specific aid from Soviet Union, Communists are insisting that American assistance in any event “will be too little and too late” and consequently France should turn to the East. In demagogic fashion they assert that if Thorez had been permitted to head a cabinet “in conformity with will of people” or even if Communists had not been expelled from Cabinet, the present “drift towards abyss” would not be taking place. They are also pointing out that one of the greatest penalties of tying France’s fate to American “trusts” will be that Washington will “prevent any extension of nationalization as it has already done in England” and will “impose its investments in our overseas territories”.

Appeals to American people to undergo voluntary rationing in order to furnish cereals to Europe such as that made on Monday by our Under Secretary of Agriculture,2 should prove helpful. Unfortunately, however, that portion of his statement which indicated that large quantities of grain are being fed to livestock in United States was given prominence in this morning’s Herald Tribune and is sure to be thoroughly exploited by Communists.

To summarize, in their propaganda there is no doubt whatsoever that Moscow and the French Communists are counting heavily on their belief that prior to the October elections there will be no clear and unequivocal indication that the US will supply sufficient help in the coming critical months to prevent famine and cold in France. I feel it of greatest importance that we do everything we can to counteract this propaganda line in the most important pre-electoral period.

Sent Department 4005; repeated Moscow as 487, Berlin 363, London 752.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Norris E. Dodd.