751.5/7–1850: Telegram

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


333. Since Moch’s appointment as Defense Minister1 may raise questions as to performance of Socialist in this post at this time, particularly in view of appointment Socialist Mons as Secretary General for National Defense, Socialist position on rearmament, Indochina war, et cetera, the following may be of interest.

Moch was Pleven’s personal choice as Defense Minister. They are close friends and I believe political convenience was secondary to Pleven’s conviction that regardless of party, Moch’s qualities of intelligence, energy, sense of organization and intense patriotism together with his proven record and wide experience in dealing with Communists best fitted him for National Defense job in Cabinet headed by Pleven. While Moch has many political enemies, and not a few personal ones besides, qualities listed above are not disputed. Furthermore it must be recalled (Embtel 200, London 782) that Socialist Party, in voting Pleven’s investiture, implicitly accepted his announced intention to demand increased military credits. As for Indochina, while Socialists have passed irresponsible resolutions in party congresses, they have never failed to support government’s basic policy or to vote military credits for Indochina war. It is general [Page 1381] opinion however that even if his party should not support his and Pleven’s policies in military matters, including increased military credits, Moch would resign rather than become his party’s mouthpiece in matter he felt adversely affected his country’s security. Furthermore there are not a few astute observers who recall that fact that Moch was socialist as well as strong Minister of Interior was great advantage to France in tests of strength with Communists during internal troubles of autumns of 1947 and 1948 and point to possibility that same advantages may accrue in tests of strength which may be foreseen with Communists in event international crisis deepens and France augments her military expenditures and increasingly channels her energies from reconstruction to rearmament.

Sent Department 333, repeated info London 96.

  1. On July 13 the National Assembly approved the composition of a new government with René Pleven as President of the Council of Ministers; Robert Schuman continued as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Maurice Petsche as Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs.
  2. Not printed.