Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Ward P. Allen, Member, United States Party on Colonial Policy Talks With the French


Subject: Moroccan Case in GA.

Participants: M. Jean Chauvel, French Representative to UN.1
Mr. Ward P. Allen, Department of State.

In the course of a conversation on other problems arising in the GA, M. Chauvel brought up the question of Morocco and elaborated the French position in more detail and with slightly different emphasis than had M. Maurice Schumann in a conversation separately reported.

M. Chauvel explained the strong initial reaction of many persons in the French Foreign Office that France should walk out of the GA if the matter were considered. He stated that he had disagreed with this view and had helped discourage it, but that it had nevertheless been seriously considered and might well have prevailed, considering the depth of feeling on the problem both in the French Government and the French people. I agreed with M. Chauvel that it would be wiser to leave the practice of “walk-outs” to the Soviets.

According to Chauvel, the present planned line in the GA is as follows: The French will, of course, make a strong point of the GA’s [Page 143] lack of competence in the General Committee. What is not yet decided is whether at that time the French Delegate will go further and “draw the consequences” of that conclusion by stating flatly that France will not accept or recognize any resolution the GA may pass on the matter. Those who argue for stating this view initially (which I gathered Chauvel was somewhat inclined to share) point out that any resolution which does emerge will probably be unacceptable and it would be easier for France to say that they do not accept it because the GA has no competence than because on its merits it is a bad resolution. I suggested that if the French Delegate did not “draw the consequences” in the initial statement, it might put them in a better tactical position and leave them more freedom and flexibility of maneuver.

In response to my question Chauvel said that the French would probably not make their explanation of their Moroccan policy in the General Committee. He is quite aware of the fact that whatever the French do, the item will be admitted, and therefore says the French would make their substantive statement either in the Plenary session or in Committee I (or the Ad Hoc) when the item is reached. Following that detailed explanation, the French would not participate actively, but merely listen, to any discussion. At the close they might, if circumstances warrant, speak again to correct with calm, objective proof, any misstatements of fact or wrong impressions the Egyptians or others may have made.

When he asked me what the U.S. position would be on the matter in the GA, I stated that I could not say because the subject was being discussed both with the French Embassy in Washington and our Embassy here directly. He also expressed some of M. Schumann’s optimism as to Latin support, stating that while he was meeting with the Foreign Minister this morning, the latter had been called out to receive the Chilean Ambassador who had assured him officially of the support of the Chilean Government in opposing the admission of the item.

  1. Chauvel was Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations.