751.5 MAP/2–1050: Telegram
The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State
657. Tomap from Bohlen.1 Embtel to Department No. 581 of February 6, 5 p. m.2 As indicated in various of our messages French are perturbed over possibility considerable delay between initial shipments of MDAP matériel and beginning of main deliveries. In army circles opinion seems to prevail that it would be wisest to reduce this interval as much as possible even if that meant delaying arrival initial shipments. Army fearful long delay following initial shipment would play into hands of Communists since elaborate receiving organization would have to be maintained in idleness.
Last night I discussed this problem with Defense Minister Pleven who obviously has given considerable thought to pros and cons. He [Page 1360] reaffirmed to me however, French Government decision (Re Embtel No. 31, January 4, 3 p. m.)3 that it is best for initial shipments to arrive as soon as possible, even though he fully understands this will be followed by a delay of two to three months before arrival of additional cargoes. Pleven’s reasoning is that Communists are obviously pointing up to all-out effort to sabotage MDAP program and arrival first shipment will be their D–Day. He wants French Government to accept this challenge without undue delay, being convinced Communists’ effort can be smashed. He would even prefer to have initial shipment if consisting of various cargoes arrive approximately same time in order that a real showdown with Communists can be precipitated.
While we are fully aware of magnitude of problems involved on US side, we cannot emphasize too strongly how important speed in getting cargoes to France will be in coming months. Any information Department can furnish as to probable arrival schedules (as it becomes available) will also be of utmost value.
Sent Department; repeated London 215 (for ECC). [Bohlen.]