300. Telegram From the Delegation at the NATO Heads of Government Meeting to the Embassy in Tunisia 1

218. Please deliver following personal message from Secretary to Bourguiba:2

During the conversations here our French friends have brought up the question of relations between France and Tunisia, a topic of discussion both bilateral and before the NATO Council. We have consistently adhered to our position that Tunisia, as an independent state, is entitled to work out its own destiny, and that we should not and would not, in Tunisia’s absence, take decisions affecting its vital interests. We hope that Tunisian destiny will be found in close and mutually advantageous relations with the west. It is furthermore our earnest hope that fruitful relations will be maintained between France and Tunisia.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 651.72/12–1957. Confidential. Repeated to the Department. The source text is the copy sent to Washington.
  2. In telegram 636 from Tunis, December 17, Ambassador Jones indicated that Bourguiba would appreciate a personal message of reassurance from the President or Secretary of State. The Tunisians were upset and worried by French press accounts which implied that the United States might have conceded the right to a special position in North Africa to France. (Ibid., 651.72/12–1757) The Tunisian Chargé in Washington and the Tunisian Ambassador in France sought similar clarifications from the United States on December 17. Jones reported in telegram 657, December 21, that Bourguiba appreciated the Secretary’s words. (Ibid., 651.72/12–2157)