851.00/8–348: Telegram

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


4013. Mytel 3994 of August 2.1 Important key Ministry Interior official, who is not given to over-confidence, expressed optimism yesterday evening concerning probability of favorable Assembly action re govt’s financial and economic program.

He expressed confidence that Marie and Reynaud2 will present program tactfully in Assembly and that this program will make due allowances for plight of French workers, thus mollifying widespread latent hostility to Reynaud in Socialist and MRP as well as trade union circles (mytels 3892 of July 27 and 3935 of July 28).3

He also said that he was struck by the real confidence which French peasantry places in Reynaud. His services also indicate that peasants are “satisfied” with new wheat price of 2,300 francs and that they will deliver their grain. He added that reports to the contrary were being willfully circulated by Communists and Gaullists in an endeavor to discourage deliveries and embarrass govt.

This official, like many others, strongly believes that the success or failure of the Marie govt, representing all French non-extremists, will constitute in fact the “showdown” and that should it fail, sooner or later (and in such a case he believes it would be soon) the Fourth Republic would give way to a new type of govt, presumably an authoritarian Fifth Republic headed by De Gaulle. For this reason he pleaded that “the US do everything it can to help, stressing that not only economic recovery but also the continued existence of a truly democratic form of govt in France depended on the success of the present govt in the next few weeks”.

  1. Not printed.
  2. On July 27 André Marie had announced formation of a new Cabinet that included Paul Reynaud as Minister of Finance and National Economy.
  3. Neither printed.