Paris Embassy Files

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

top secret

Dear Jack: With reference to my letter of March 17, I am dropping you this brief note to let you know that last Friday, Pierre Abelin, Secretary of State assigned to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, raised the subject of my seeing General de Gaulle. Abelin, as you know, is very close to Prime Minister Schuman, and said he wished to let me know informally and quite unofficially that while Schuman was not opposed to my seeing de Gaulle, and in fact believed that in certain respects such a meeting might be helpful, he had been reflecting over it the last few days and did not believe that the present [Page 631] moment was propitious. In view of this Abelin said Schuman hoped I did not plan to meet de Gaulle at this particular juncture as it might harm the Government’s position.

In reply I said that I appreciated very much the frankness of Abelin’s observations and wished him to know that I had no definite plans for meeting with de Gaulle at this particular time. I said that given de Gaulle’s role in the present French political scene I believed, as I had explained to Schuman, that a meeting with him would be helpful from every point of view. Particularly, I felt that it would give me an opportunity informally to let General de Gaulle know current United States thinking on the general problem of France. I added that I would, of course, let Mr. Schuman know should a meeting between myself and the General be subsequently arranged.

Abelin expressed appreciation and said that, of course, neither Schuman himself nor anyone in the Government had any desire to give the impression that they were trying to dictate whom I should or should not see. In view of my close relationship with Mr. Schuman, Abelin said the latter felt he could let me know frankly his view, that for the moment he did not believe that such a meeting would be helpful insofar as the Government is concerned.

With all good wishes.

Very sincerely yours,

Jefferson Caffery