59. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France1

4514. In making points Deptel 45132 to Massigli, Achilles should make following observations as representing Department thinking:

We understand French view Algerian insurrection is threat to internal security of France and separate matter from disturbances in Morocco and Tunisia. We trust French can appreciate, however, that in American and doubtless much of world opinion Algerian problem, involving as it does franchise of indigenous population, appears as part of composite North African problem involving political aspirations of native populations that cannot be met by repressive police measures alone. We are reassured by Massigli statement French do not contemplate retaliatory measures against civil populations, which would shock world opinion. FYI. Certain intelligence reports are to effect French probably contemplate just such measures. Certain items on list requested are not reassuring. End FYI.
Degree to which US can implement its policy of support for French presence in North Africa, particularly in terms of providing material and public support, depends on effectiveness of French political, economic and social programs to deal with situation and not simply military measures. France appears to have taken such measures in Tunisia but we do not know enough about possible French “programs” and intentions for Algerian and Moroccan problems to have confidence in their potential effectiveness.

In your discretion, you may wish to observe that statements such as July made last weekend make it more difficult for US Govt to be forthcoming in giving support to French.

FYI. Department urged Defense on June 9 make eight helicopters available. We hope assistance on helicopters will provide evidence [Page 222] to French Govt and public opinion that US willing respond to French appeals for assistance to extent possible.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/6–1755. Secret. Repeated to Algiers and Saigon.
  2. Telegram 4513, June 17, instructed Achilles to inform Massigli that the United States supported the French presence in North Africa and considered Algeria legally part of Metropolitan France. It stipulated the conditions which would have to be satisfied before military equipment could be transferred from Indochina to Algeria. (Ml, 751S.00/6–1155)
  3. Achilles called on Massigli on June 20 and left a memorandum reflecting the text of telegram 4513. Massigli was disappointed because of anticipated long delays in the U.S. transfer procedure. Massigli noted he recognized the need for overall progress to win the support of the populace, but considered the suppression of terrorism more pressing. (Telegram 5570 from Paris; ibid., 751S.00/6–2055)