Paris Embassy Files

The Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson) to the Ambassador in France (Caffery)

personal and top secret

Dear Jeff: Underlying all our exchange of cables and letters concerning the conveying of our views to General de Gaulle has been the agreed assumption that it was too dangerous for you to see him personally, that it would be impossible to arrange a clandestine meeting, [Page 623] that leakage of such an interview would give rise to speculation, distortion and misinterpretation in the press and would both offend and weaken the third force.

On the other hand your expert communication of our views and advice through the General’s entourage has had little visible effect. While from what I know of the General I am not sure that greater effect would have been achieved had you talked to him personally, the fact remains that as far as the record is concerned the only American of official standing who since the municipal elections has talked to the man who may be running France in the near future is John Foster Dulles.1

Therefore I should like you to give me some idea of the mechanics and amenities involved in you or (what would probably be safer) some member of your staff seeing the General in the most discreet manner. Also I should appreciate receiving your considered views on the pros and cons of such a meeting (a) just on general principles to protect the record and make sure the General knows our views, even if he does not intend to act on them and (b) on an occasion when we may have something definite and immediate to impart to the General.

Sincerely yours,

John Hickerson
  1. Mr. Dulles, a member of the United States delegation at the fifth session of the Council of Foreign Ministers at London, had conferred with General de Gaulle in Paris on December 6, 1947.