320/10–1251: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 1


2177. Bonnet2 called on Secy Oct 9 and after referring strong feelings [Page 136] in France incited by Egypt placing Morocco before UN3 stated Fr Govt has decided fight placing item on agenda in General Comite and plenary sessions on grounds it was internal matter under Charter. Bonnet said he was instructed emphasize great importance Fr Govt attaches attaining our full support.4

Secy replied we concur UN shld not pass condemnatory res or estab comm investigation, etc., and we wld want work with Fr discussing means reach desired end. Re tactics, however, Secy pointed difficulty keeping question off agenda and inquired whether, unless favorable vote assured, it wld be wise fight on this issue. If we lost result wld be two debates instead one, first on procedure then substance. Secy requested Fr Govt consider this point and see whether from their own point of view it wld not be best take attitude they were proud of Moroccan record and glad opportunity tell it to world. If Fr wld give us some material we wld be glad occasionally “chime in”. Sec added our mind not fully made up re tactics but thought idea was worth Fr consideration.

Sec then suggested if negots with Egypts on def matters5 went well it might be possible persuade them withdraw request Moroccan debate. Bonnet replied Egypt withdrawal wld of course be satis. Doubted they wld do so however and added altho Egypts took lead some other Arab states intended take identical action. Re suggestions on tactics he was sure his Govt had already considered possibility proceeding along those lines. Bonnet agreed two debates undesirable but Fr Govt doubted Fr pub opinion wld stand for failure meet issue squarely. Moreover, light Iran situation6 and Egypt abrogation treaty, Fr felt line must be drawn halting deterioration Western position. He felt his Govt wished draw line Morocco and adopt stiff attitude toward it.

Bonnet also referred to exchange of notes on No Africa7 and Sec replied he had just returned office and had not had opportunity go [Page 137] into question deeply. Sec inquired what Schuman8 desired with exchange. Bonnet said he had no info but assumed Fr Govt probably wished pub or certainly show them to Cabinet. Bonnet also surmised Schuman wanted them to show US approves Fr policy Morocco.

In subsequent conversation with Hickerson9 Bonnet developed Fr thesis further stating Fr resolved fight along procedural lines and France wld not tolerate UN considering Moroccan question.

(FYI only) We have reason to believe Bonnet does not personally share our views re placing on agenda and is so informing Paris (FYI only).

  1. Repeated to London for Sanders as 1994 and to New York for USUN as 199. William Sanders was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (John D. Hickerson). Sanders was in London at this time as head of a U.S. party engaged in talks with the British Government on colonial questions at the United Nations. The U.S. group was scheduled to proceed to Paris on the same mission, after the London talks. For documentation regarding the colonial policy discussions in London and Paris, see pp. 623 ff.
  2. Henri Bonnet, French Ambassador to the United States.
  3. On October 4 the Government of Egypt asked that an item be inscribed on the agenda of the Sixth Regular Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, under the heading of “Violation by France in Morocco of the principles of the Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights” (Doc. A/1894). Subsequently several other Arab governments had made an identical request. There was thus effected a démarche by Arab governments that the United States had sought to avoid and concerning which this Government had had communication with Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, as recently as October 3 (circular telegram 303 to Cairo, October 3, 7 p. m., 771.00/10–351). The General Assembly was due to convene in Paris on November 6.
  4. A memorandum of this conversation of October 9 with attached French Embassy Note No. 565, dated October 9, is located under file no. 771.00/10–951. Related background and briefing material is located in UNP Files, Lot 59 D 237, “Morocco–General Correspondence.”
  5. For documentation regarding Middle East defense matters and the question of the Anglo-Egyptian treaty, see volume v .
  6. For documentation regarding Iran, see ibid.
  7. For documentation regarding this matter, see ibid.
  8. Robert Schuman, French Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  9. This conversation occurred on October 11. A memorandum of this conversation is located in UNP Files, Lot 59 D 237, “Morocco–General Correspondence.”