32. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy) to the Acting Secretary of State1

Even though I was in Paris only three days, I realized that there is a curious, and from our point of view a very unhappy, French attitude developing which seeks to place the onus for the French predicament in Algeria and Morocco on the United States. This does not seem to apply, as far as I can ascertain, to Tunisia. This is a psychological phenomenon which undoubtedly results from a sense of frustration and failure to develop a constructive and sound program for the area. The French have been faced with this problem for many years and have not demonstrated the capacity to deal with it. Intelligent Frenchmen, of course, know that without American aid [Page 117] in World War II, French North Africa would have been lost to them. I think they also know that without our post-war aid, it would have been even more difficult for them to maintain their position without our practical assistance, and their current operations in French North Africa with the military equipment which we have supplied to them is of course an essential factor in their operations. Through the postwar period, we have also consistently supported them in the United Nations on many occasions when issues relating to French North Africa were involved, sometimes to our own embarrassment, because of the issue of colonialism.

I think Mr. Dillon is right and that we should act to offset what seems to be the beginning of a wave of anti-Americanism in France on this score. But it is a matter which must be handled with considerable caution and skill if it is not to be counter-productive. This French sentiment is more complex than just an attitude regarding French North Africa. It includes many other factors such as resentments over Indochina; general discomfiture over France’s weakened world position; smaller items but important ones to the French, such as the Saar question; a natural human tendency to blame a benefactor; plus insidious work by the French Communist Party with Soviet support to destroy Franco-American friendship.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File, Africa. Secret. Attached to a memorandum by Acting Secretary Hoover for the President, March 3. A copy of Dillon’s message, supra, was also attached. Hoover indicated that he was requesting the OCB to set up a working group to evaluate the problem on an urgent basis. The original version of the Murphy memorandum is in Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/3–356.