751.00/9–754: Telegram

No. 657
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 1


896. Limit distribution. Bidault’s attitude (Paris 10062) and Chancellor’s (Bonn 6983) on desiring see Mendes forced out of [Page 1446] office are understandable in light EDC rejection but are disturbing from point of view of accomplishing any solutions to problem German rearmament and German ties with West.

Regardless one’s opinion Mendes, he is the one man in France we must deal with in coming critical weeks—his strength in French Assembly appears not greatly diminished and greater than any other potential Premier; furthermore, Assembly adjourned until November or when he calls it back and he does enjoy some latitude of action. To work for his downfall in hopes aftermath would provide answers seems destined destroy main chance for early solution involving French cooperation. His professed views on necessity German rearmament and rapid solution may be sincere in spite of his distorted perspective and all the mistrust he has generated. Truth should become apparent through his conduct rather quickly in coming weeks. While Bidault may prove to be right regarding Mendes being neutralist, former’s approach also appears put internal political considerations above interests of France at this juncture (same accusation leveled at Mendes). For if Mendes does prove to be sincere and determined to push for early solution, and if he is not supported by men such as Bidault in efforts obtain parliamentary approval attempted solutions worked out in coming weeks, results would be extremely serious for entire Western Alliance and France in particular.

Believe foregoing points should be made to Bidault and at Embassy’s discretion to Mollet, Pinay, Reynaud and other pro-EDC leaders who bound to be bitter at Mendes. Conant should also take advantage appropriate opportunity explain to Chancellor our views on necessity attempting do business in coming weeks with Mendes.

  1. Drafted by Fisher and cleared with Kidd, Merchant, Murphy, Matthews, and RA. Repeated to Bonn for action and to London for information.
  2. This telegram summarized a private conversation between Bidault and Dillon during which Bidault criticized Mendès-France and stated that the only real solution regarding German rearmament would be one which helped Adenauer and forced Mendès-France out of office. (751.00/9–754)
  3. For text of this telegram, dated Sept. 7, which summarized a conversation between Chancellor Adenauer and Conant on Sept. 7, see vol. v, Part 2, p. 1152.