EUR files, lot 59 D 233, “Letters—France, Jan.–Aug. 1955”
The Counselor of Embassy in France
(MacArthur) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State for European Affairs (Bonbright)
Dear Jamie : I enclose a memorandum, which I dictated in considerable haste, of a conversation between General Eisenhower and General Koenig. It occurred at a small informal luncheon where there were four of us present (i.e., Generals Eisenhower, Gruenther, Koenig, and myself). While Koenig is an old comrade-in-arms of the General and served under him both in London and Normandy, as far as I was able to ascertain, Koenig’s approach was quite negative. In essence, he says nothing can be done until de Gaulle comes to power on his own terms.
The object in having Koenig come to SHAPE, insofar as we were concerned, was to try to exercise influence so that the absolute hostility of the Gaullists to the European Army might be somehow shaken. We did not make one single inch with Koenig and it was clear in my mind that the root of General de Gaulle’s and Koenig’s opposition to the European Army is that it will mean the disappearance of a French national army. This is very difficult for any French general to swallow.
You may wish to pass this along to Ridge.1 I particularly invite your attention to the fact that you will be having Koenig in Washington in May on a trip whose main purpose is to try to sell the [Page 1196] RPF to our people. You and possibly David Bruce would be interested to know that at one point of the conversation, General Eisenhower asked whether Koenig had explained his views to David. Koenig replied that he liked Ambassador Bruce and that he saw him from time to time socially, but that he had the feeling the Ambassador and the Embassy were reticent about seeing him because of his association with General de Gaulle.
It was good to see you over here, and we only regret that your trip was so brief. This carries with it every good wish and all the best.2
- Ridgway B. Knight.↩
- In a reply to MacArthur dated Apr. 11, Bonbright acknowledged receipt of this letter and commented that “with the experience of the past ten years under our belts, it seems to me that one thing which remains unchanged in this changing world is the attitude of the Gaullists, at least those of the hardcore. I must say, however, that I take considerable satisfaction in the signs of strain within the RPF party itself.” (EUR files, lot 59 D 233, “Letters—France, Jan.–Aug. 1955”)↩