31. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State 1

3992. I am impressed by the volume of reports from all parts of France indicating a dangerously sharp rise in anti-American sentiment because of what French public opinion believes our North African policy to be. Algerian crisis is largely responsible for this outburst of French feeling.

Belief that we are at heart sympathetic to total ejection of France from North Africa has gradually gained currency during last few years and is now spreading like wild fire. This feeling is being positively fanned by fact that no U.S. official either in France or in U.S. has made any major public announcement sympathizing with continuance French presence North Africa. Lack of such statements is being construed as admission of accuracy of current French thinking.

Lack of positive anti-French actions by U.S. Govt., plus support in U.N. which French unfortunately do not yet believe is entirely wholehearted, plus fact we have diverted small number of helicopters to France is unfortunately not enough to counter this rising tide of nationalistic anti-Americanism. What is needed and only thing that will be effectual is repeated public expressions of U.S. sympathy for continued French presence in North Africa which could be coupled with support of what has come to be known as “interdependence”. I would of course be more than pleased to undertake [Page 116] series of such talks in France if and when Department should approve.

I have frequently pointed out over past years potential seriousness of French reaction to serious reverses in Algeria particularly when coupled with feeling that United States was standing by unsympathetically while French feel they are fighting for their very lives. I must now report that this dangerous potentiality is nearing realization. It is impossible to foretell eventual results should an explosion take place in France; but it would certainly pose most serious problems for entire Western alliance.

The danger is becoming imminent, the immediate weeks and months ahead will be crucial.

I recommend that this whole problem including repercussions on NATO and defense of Europe be given prompt consideration at the highest level so as to reach a policy decision before we are overtaken by rapidly moving events.

Dillon
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/3–256. Top Secret; Limit Distribution.