Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 158

Memorandum of Conversation, by Philip W. Bonsal
top secret
[STF Special MIN 2]

Before taking up the matter of Indochina at the bilateral Franco-US meeting on Sunday, July 12, M. Bidault brought up the following extraneous subjects:

Banditry in the USSR

He informed the Secretary that he had received word from the French Embassy at Moscow to the effect that banditry was growing in [Page 1643] the USSR and had assumed large-scale proportions in certain areas. M. Bidault reported that the Soviets were taking special precautions to protect shipments consigned by rail from Leningrad to the French Embassy at Moscow.

While not wanting to draw any conclusions therefrom, M. Bidault added that he could not help but mark the similarity with the situation in France at the end of the revolutionary period when many parts of France were infested with bandits.

Soviet Approach to the Swiss re Conference Site

M. Bidault also reported that the French Ambassador at Bern, Mr. Chauvel, had informed him that a director of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs had told the French Ambassador that Mr. Petitpierre had received (in an unspecified manner) indications from the Soviet Government that it would wish to have a 4-power conference held in Switzerland preferably, and in Switzerland in the neighborhood of Lucerne. The Secretary requested if at the same time the impression had been obtained that the Soviets were favorably disposed toward a 4-power conference. M. Bidault answered that Mr. Chauvel had derived such an impression.

(This was not discussed with the British.)