Camp files, lot 55 D 105, “Battle Act 1952”

Memorandum of Conversation, by G. McMurtrie Godley of the Office of Western European Affairs

Confidential
  • Subject:
  • Battle Act
  • Participants:
  • Ambassador Bonnet, Mr. Francfort,1 Assistant Secretary Thorp, Mr. Linder, Mr. Leddy,2 Miss Camp,3 Mr. Godley.

Ambassador Bonnet called this morning at his request and left with me an aide-mémoire, 4 an informal translation of which is attached setting forth the French views on the application of the Battle Act.

The French Ambassador spoke from this aide-mémoire and expressed the hope of the French Government that the Battle Act would be implemented in a multilateral form and not bilaterally. The Ambassador reiterated the views of his Government that it was extremely difficult for the French Government to accept United States Congressional regimentation of French trade without the concurrence of the French Government or the French Parliament. In this connection he said however that if the provisions of the Battle Act were complied with as a result of the multilateral discussion, the task for the French Government would be greatly facilitated.

The Ambassador discussed at some length the French acceptance of the policy of restricting East-West trade and the effectiveness of COCOM. I asked the Ambassador whether the French Government was experiencing any public pressure, such as we have been subject [Page 819] to in this country, to reduce East-West trade. The Ambassador replied that the reduction of East-West trade is now accepted in France but that there were not at present any groups pushing the Government further in this matter.

With regard to the secrecy of COCOM, the Ambassador said that although its existence was known to certain members of Parliament and well-informed newspaper men, COCOM’s activities were not publicized in the French press nor had they aroused particular public interest.

In conclusion I mentioned to the Ambassador that Mr. Linder and Miss Camp were going to Paris for the conference beginning on the 15th and I wondered whether the Ambassador saw any objection to their discussing East-West trade with the competent French officials.

The Ambassador said that on the contrary he felt that the French officials would welcome such informal conversations and that he would inform them of Mr. Linder’s and Miss Camp’s arrival.

  1. Pierre Francfort, Second Counselor of the French Embassy in Washington.
  2. John M. Leddy, Director of the Office of Economic Defense and Trade Policy.
  3. Miriam Camp, Officer in Charge of Economic Organization Affairs, Office of European Regional Affairs.
  4. An informal translation of the aide-mémoire, dated Jan. 3, 1952, not printed, was attached to the source text.