880.00/5–348: Telegram

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

top secret

2349. Embassy strongly favors suggestion in Deptel 1448 of April 291 for convening of North African political conference patterned after one held June 1947 Paris and would welcome opportunity to review situation with our officers in North Africa and Department. The only question our minds is one of timing.

As things now stand Embassy continues to adhere completely to findings and recommendations of Paris 1947 conference (Paris despatch 9033, June 20, 19472) but under current French conditions new major French policy moves concerning Overseas France are still hampered by political situation. The coming summer, however, should bring new elements into picture. For example, should Schuman Government last until good crops now forecast be gathered, the chances of a straight De Gaulle Government, threat of which is perhaps greatest stumbling block to progress would at least temporarily recede.

Pertinent French definitions of “autonomy within French Union” now in process of elaboration in connection with protectorates of [Page 691] Annam, Cambodia and Laos as well as in connection with all of Indo-China. Furthermore it will be interesting to observe to what good use the French will put the “reprieve” temporarily granted to them by the recent elections to Algerian Assembly (my despatch 555, April 15).3

Consequently we feel proposed meeting might be more fruitful in late summer when intervening developments should permit more constructive examination of French actions and possible means of bolstering US policy. However, the Embassy will naturally be guided by the Department’s wishes in the matter and I only put forward the above thoughts for consideration along with the comments which the Department will receive from the other offices consulted.4

Sent Department 2349; repeated Tangier 12, Casablanca 20, Rabat 12, Algiers 53, Tunis 25, Cairo 24, London 348.

  1. Supra.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. v, p. 690.
  3. Not printed.
  4. In telegram 1574 to Paris, May 7, 5 p. m., not printed, the Department of State informed the Embassy that because of the “importance obtaining soonest maximum info paragraphs 3 and 4” of the agenda, and for budgetary reasons, the Conference would begin on May 24 (880.00/5–348).