Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Lovett) to President Truman
top secret

Subject: Call of Mr. Georges Bidault, French Foreign Minister

Mr. Bidault’s advisers have indicated that he wishes to talk with you principally about the food and financial crises in France and the prospects for, and extent of, American aid to alleviate them, both immediately and in connection with the European Recovery Plan. He will probably explain their impact on the French political situation, with particular reference to the future of the Government to which Mr. Bidault belongs. It is possible that the French Foreign Minister may also touch on the German question,1 including the unification [Page 763] of the three western zones and the future status of the Ruhr and the Saar as well as on the November meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers.2

In essence, the several questions which Mr. Bidault will speak to you about resolve themselves into one: the growing split between east and west and the side on which France will find herself. Mr. Bidault will come to you as a member of a Government which represents the middle of the road democratic elements and which in the next few months may well be unable to withstand the pressures from right and left unless the problems of food and coal can be solved.

Recent reports from Ambassador Caffery indicate growing concern on the part of Prime Minister Ramadier and other members of his coalition Government that unless American aid is forthcoming within the next few weeks the Government will collapse and will be replaced by one from which it will be impossible to exclude the Communists. His own political future being at stake it seems likely that Mr. Bidault will paint a grim picture in terms of the alternatives of increased American aid or a Communist France.3

Robert A. Lovett
  1. For documentation on the German question, see volume ii .
  2. For documentation on the fifth session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, at London, November 25–December 15, 1947, see ibid., pp. 676 ff.
  3. No direct record has been found of the conversation between President Truman and M. Bidault on October 2. Telegrams 4293 and 4312 from Paris, October 3 and 5, not printed, review comment in the French press (851.9111 RR/10–3, 10–547).