The Secretary of State to the Consulate General at Tunis 1
A–26. Reference Tunis Despatch No. 176 of November 21, 1950.2 Department shares the Consulate General’s concern over the feeling of distrust and suspicion which Residency General officials are manifesting toward Consular personnel, as set forth in despatch under reference. In these critical times the Department attaches the utmost importance to a full and frank exchange of information and political views between the officers of the Consulate General and members of the Residency General. This is essential to ensure that we have an understanding of French problems and French thinking and that they have full benefit of US views. Such exchanges serve also to alleviate the very feeling of distrust and suspicion with which the French are inclined to view all US actions in French North Africa. At the same time, it is essential that we maintain our contacts with Nationalist leaders in order that we may have benefit of their thinking on and reaction to political developments in Tunisia. Department fails see how members of the Consulate General could handle Nationalist contacts in more open and aboveboard way than they have been handled in past. Dept, of course, has no intention of severing the limited contacts we now have with Nationalist leaders merely to alleviate French suspicion of our actions. Such action would be politically unwise in view our overall relations with Arab world, our policy in North Africa, and our common objective with France in combatting spread of communism in North African area.
Dept also concerned at French attitude toward USIE program in Tunisia. We have no intention of curtailing our present USIE activities and, in fact, contemplate step-up in USIE program particularly as result of ECA interest and expected activity in this field in Tunisia.
Dept wishes to give fullest possible backing to you in this matter. However, in view contents Paris telegram 3246, December 7,3 repeated Tunis as 19, there would appear to be good possibility that Perillier will again take you into his confidence upon his return to Tunis. In view this possibility, we do not feel that Dept should make any approach to French regarding this matter at this time. Your comments on this proposed line of action would be appreciated.
You are requested to keep Dept fully informed of developments re relations between your office and Residency General and French attitude toward USIE activities.