772.00/6–1450: Telegram

The Consul General at Tunis ( Packer ) to the Secretary of State


85. Resident General Perillier arrived from Paris thirteenth, received by Bey prior broadcasting same evening. Speech summarized herewith: Conscious of difficult task ahead asked cooperation all men goodwill. Wished explain broad outlines measures which France decided implement or prepare immediately close accord Bey. Measures constitute necessary stages new evolution. Once measures applied, will seek solutions to perfect functioning administration.

Evolution is law nature, but progress depends civic, political education. France feels all institutional evolution must be accomplished atmosphere calm without internal external pressures. Disorder means country immature, slows progress. France agreement Bey decided implement changes which country’s economic, social evolution make necessary to assure formation modern state. France decided Tunisian Government must undergo important changes strengthen its officials thereby demonstrating France’s wish support progressive evolution Tunisian people and aptitude elite take part administration affairs their country. France resolved open wider doors administrative employment all Tunisians capable assuming with competence desired technical responsibilities. France intends study transformation municipal organization permit all interested people participate more directly administration common interest.

France, Tunisia fought two wars in 30 years. Mediterranean unites rather than separates two countries on whose two shores their people died for their national territory. Anxious follow maxim Foreign Minister to understand people aspirations needs. Is entirely impartial with no political affiliations. Convinced future of Tunisia can be constructed in union of those living here. Besides continuing reconstruction and economic development, sanitary and educational projects, will fight housing shortage and support agricultural, industrial and commercial activities and tourism.

Today we live in world where progress of ideas, development civilization and scientific discoveries shatter more frontiers every day. Ancient dogma of principles of nationalities for which France has fought to liberate people from slavery now replaced by interdependence and international cooperation. Nationalism henceforth outmoded, therefore backward.1 Plow can Tunisia shut herself in narrow outdated nationalism while Frenchmen in superior interest peace common prosperity [Page 1780] agree cooperate even with former enemies in most tragic conflicts. Actually Tunis small country, unable do without help France. But logical that Tunisia proceed toward internal autonomy by progressive institutional modifications. France pursuing mission here has always favored oppressed, spread generous ideals of rights of man and Christian civilization.2 Asks cooperation fulfillment task in cause solidarity interests and fraternal friendship.3

Sent information Paris 70, repeated information Tripoli unnumbered, Algiers unnumbered, Rabat unnumbered.

  1. In the source text, this sentence is underscored in pencil and the phrase “This is not possible” is written in the margin.
  2. In the source text, the words “Christian civilization” is underscored in pencil and the comment “In Moslem area this will hardly be appealing” is written in the margin.
  3. In his telegram 87, June 14, from Tunis, Consul General Packer reported upon the effects of Périller’s speech and on some subsequent events in part as follows:

    “Périller’s speech small consolation Nationalist. If Bourghiba continues attempts collaborate French doubtful can hold allegiance followers. Speech probably approved Quai d’Orsay and aimed more at calming fear for factions than mollifying Nationalists. No reaction radio speech yet.

    “Reception 14th Resident General speaking Consular Corps stated Mediterranean peoples emotional, passionate, often speaking impulsively. Stated categorically France will remain Tunisia.

    “Later brief private conversation emphasized to me France needs time for successive stages development Tunisia.” (772.00/6–1450)