795.00/1–452: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Department of State

top secret

3976. Eyes only for the Secretary and Hickerson from Bruce. Deptel 3790, January 3. After numerous conversations and interviews, drafts, redrafts, and clearances and detailed consideration by top officials French Govt, we have now received from Schuman reply to Secretary’s personal message contained Deptel 3780, Jan 2. Free translation of reply follows:

“I have studied your message of Jan 3 with the attention and interest I attach to all your communications.

I regret that you did not consider it possible to accept the revisions that I had proposed to you in the draft common statement, the final drafting of which was communicated to me on Dec 28.1 Although my more recent suggestions had as their aim only to return, with the addition of one word, to the first version which had been presented to me by you, I understand the reasons for your insistence which Ambassador David Bruce has explained to me.

I am certain that for your part you appreciate the difficulties which the French Govt must face. Because especially of the threat which hangs over Indochina, the French Govt has the duty of neglecting no precaution in order to avoid having the armistice in Korea, whose conclusion it keenly desires, produce a further aggravation of the situation in the Far East

It is in this spirit and in order to avoid the delay that you rightly fear, that I have decided to give my agreement to the text which has already received the agreement of the other interested counties.

You will understand that this agreement is, however, accompanied by the two following reservations:

The final part of the statement could not imply any change in the agreement according to which all measures susceptible of producing a territorial extension of the conflict should be made the subject of prior consultation,
If the situation in Indochina grew worse, especially as an indirect consequence of the cessation of hostilities on the Korean front, we count on the USA to see to it that the solidarity of the powers associated in resistance to aggression manifests itself with the same promptness and same effectiveness as in Korea.

I would attach the greatest importance to your being good enough to express to me your agreement on this point, whose essential importance for France I know you appreciate.”

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This reply is described to us by Margerie2 as unconditional acceptance of our text of proposed statement to be issued on conclusion Korean armistice. Reservations expressed by French with reference to (a) extension of hostilities, and (b) possibility of aggression against Indochina are in no sense to be considered conditions of French acceptance of text of declaration, but are points which French desire to bring to our attention and on which they would appreciate our views. We are in no way therefore committed as to nature of reply which we make or as to timing of such reply. Issuance of Korean statement with French consent thereto is independent of such reply.

  1. See telegram 3850, Dec. 28, Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 1458.
  2. Roland Jacquin de Margerie was Assistant Director-General for Political and Economic Affairs, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.