396.1 LO/5–350: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Preparatory Meetings to the Secretary of State

Secto 118. Bilateral meeting colonial problems this morning with La Tournelle, LeRoy, Monod and Henri for French; Hare, Sanders, Tibbetts and Utter for US.1 Hare suggested exchange views colonial Africa and dependent territories in order bring out points of agreement and disagreement. Before setting forth US thinking on subject, he took occasion reiterate our appreciation great responsibilities French and other colonial powers in Africa and US desire see bonds strengthened between France and its overseas areas. He emphasized that US activities, economic and informational, would not be directed toward undermining France’s position overseas. US traditional interest in emerging peoples should not be misinterpreted by French as being attempt to squeeze latter out. Hare added relative quiet in Africa affords opportunity study program for future continent without [Page 949] being pressurized by crises as we are elsewhere. He then summarized recommendations in D–4.2

La Tournelle expressed appreciation sympathetic attitude towards task colonial powers in Africa, and proceeded explain duality African problem for France, Mediterranean or North Africa on one hand and black Africa on other. Algeria already part of Metropolitan France, required careful handling in view important French population and interests. Tunisia, with large class evolved Moslems, was becoming ripe for greater degree self-government and reform program now under consideration in Paris. Morocco did not yet have elite ready to accept political responsibility, and would require longer preparation. He then asked Monod expound French thinking black Africa.

Monod stated Hare had underlined preoccupations held by French regarding this area, namely long-range aspect and slowness of accomplishing objectives. He added that French had given ample information to TC and GA on their method of administering these territories. Exploitation by noncolonial powers of questions causing repercussions in colonies cause of great concern for France.

Framework of French union, granting French citizenship, and representation in French Assembly offers possibility political development. Conditions for development of people depends on (1) peace and (2) time. Difficulties encountered with certain nationalist leaders, who do not understand real meaning independence. Task of French is find proper formula prepare people and Monod emphasized economic and social development must precede political.

Preliminary and modest beginning for improvement Africa peoples already initiated through multi-power technical committee for Africa where participation of US and other countries welcomed. More complete economic program, however, required. Project of Labonne for zonal development already under way in some areas and hoped extend scope. This would entail capital investment and financial assistance from outside. French would welcome participation American capital.

Monod ended on note that old style exploitation colonies for profit metropolitan states thing of past and by instituting economic and social program racial hatred, drummed up by immature political leaders would be dissipated.

Hare stated this information interesting and reassuring and considered our basic thoughts appeared close together. La Tournelle re-emphasized need of first stage of economic and social development, and warned that chaos and anarchy would ensue if political liberties [Page 950] granted before solid preparation. Hare remarked political ideas sometimes develop out of proper sequence; some extremism inevitable which would require sympathetic handling by France.

Henri summarized importance of ECA funds in obtaining equipment for overseas France and expressed hope some formula would be devised for continuation this invaluable assistance after 1952. He saw in Point Four possible solution, and stressed that any large scale economic development of Africa would require assurance of substantial financing.

Sanders summarized main points in F–33 which would be discussed in subsequent bilateral talks with French, British and Belgians on colonial question. La Tournelle stated French had no other items to suggest for moment but stressed importance French attach to meeting with others to iron out difficulties in order present common front next GA.

After meeting LeRoy and Baudet lunched with Hare and Utter to discuss informally NE questions. In particular we stressed importance of French contribution to PRA and usefulness mutual exchange information on arms shipments NE countries. Favorable reaction received on both points.

  1. This meeting was held at 11:15 a. m. at the United States Embassy. Officials not previously identified and present at this meeting are as follows: Guy Monod, Head of the African Division of the Office of African-Levant Affairs of the French Foreign Ministry; Paul Henri of the Suboffice of Protectorates of the Office of African-Levant Affairs of the French Foreign Ministry; William Sanders, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs; Margaret J. Tibbetts, Attaché at the Embassy in London; and John E. Utter, Second Secretary at the United States Embassy in France and Assistant to Assistant Secretary Hare during the preliminary Meetings.
  2. The reference here is to document FM D D–4, April 20, entitled “Future of Africa.” The full text of this document is scheduled for publication in volume v. The substance of the recommendations set forth in FM D D–4 comprise the United States statement on Africa included as Annex II to document MIN/TRI/P/21 May 9, p. 1093.
  3. The reference here is to document FM D F–3, April 27, “Colonial Questions,” not printed, which recommended that no conclusions on the matter of the colonial question in the United Nations be reached at the meetings of the Foreign Ministers inasmuch as bilateral (United States–United Kingdom, United States–France, and United States–Belgium) meetings on the subject before the next session of the United Nations General Assembly were already planned (CFM Files, Lot M–88, Box 149). For documentation on the origin of the Washington bilateral conversations in July 1950 on the colonial question in the United States, see vol. ii, pp. 434 ff.