182. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State 2
489. At small dinner last night Holmes 3 and I had opportunity for useful talk with Faure and July.
Faure seemed genuinely to want our opinion about North Africa and especially Morocco, pressing Holmes for his frank views concerning situation there. There developed a friendly and outspoken discussion between the four of us.
The Prime Minister indicated emphatically and repeatedly that he has full confidence in Grandval, saying that the latter was his personal choice and that he will not fail in supporting his Resident General. When we spoke frankly of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Morocco and of the fact that the opposition is no longer that of a political party and a few nationalist leaders but of almost the entire native population rallying to the symbol of heroism and martyrdom of the deposed Sultan, Faure commented that Grandval’s reports contained the same warning.
Faure is genuinely impressed with the seriousness of the situation and accepts the fact that positive action with respect to the dynastic question cannot be long delayed. That the necessity for such action is politically distasteful to him was apparent; he asked on three separate occasions whether we were convinced that no solution was possible which would include the retention of Ben Arafa.[Page 512]
There was discussion as to a formula to solve the throne problem and, although it is clear that Faure has made up his mind to do something about it, he has not yet fixed on a solution and probably will not do so until he has Grandval’s specific recommendations. We made clear to him our view that any dynastic settlement must have the public approval freely given of Ben Youssef, if it is to have the acceptance of the Moroccans and cause cessation of terrorism. This appeared to be a new idea to him but he seemed to take it in his stride.
Both the Prime Minister and July talked a good bit about political opposition but expressed confidence that they would find necessary support for a new liberal policy. Faure said that he had examined carefully the Juin 4 theory of how to deal with Morocco and had concluded it is hopeless. He indicated that the number of others who have the same conclusion is sufficient to give him the support he needs.
To question as to whether the Government could act during the Parliamentary recess, the answer was in the affirmative. July, who had gone pretty far in his commitments to the Foreign Affairs Committee, said specifically that once the Assembly has adjourned and departed Paris the Government will be free to move.
Following an exchange about the imperativeness for prompt action required by the increasing high price which France must pay for a settlement, the longer there is delay, I reminded Faure that the General Assembly of the UN would meet in September and that we should all be placed in a difficult position in the absence of real progress in Morocco. I went on to express the personal view that the United States might find it very difficult to give France the kind of support on the Moroccan problem we have given the past two Assemblies, if the situation there has not substantially improved. I said that in my personal opinion in such circumstances pressure on US might be so strong as to cause US to abstain.
The Prime Minister flared up a bit at this but his good humor soon returned and he seemed to agree that he must move with sufficient speed to preclude such an eventuality.
The conversation was very friendly and frank, Faure saying that no one must listen to the nonsense about American or British interference or attempts to undermine that French position in North Africa. He said that it is a problem that concerns all of us and that he welcomes the advice and help of his American friends. His [Page 513] parting words were that he and I must keep in close contact, that he hoped that Holmes would follow up the good relations he has established with Grandval.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 771.00/8–255. Secret. Repeated to Tangier, Rabat, Algiers, Tunis, and Casablanca.↩
- Holmes was in Paris for a meeting on North African political problems which brought together officers from Algiers, Rabat, Tangier, Tunis, and Paris between August 1 and 3. The minutes of these meetings, except for the last, were transmitted as attachments to despatch 314 from Paris, August 5. (Ibid., 751s.00/8–555)↩
- General Alphonse Juin, who had a long connection with North Africa including a period as Resident General of Morocco between May 14, 1947, and August 28, 1951, was a leader of the political element in France which favored Arafa and supported a repressive policy to suppress opposition to his rule.↩