63. Letter From the Representative at the United Nations (Lodge) to the Ambassador in France (Dillon)1

Dear Doug: I believe you should have in mind the following facts concerning United States support of the French on the Algerian issue:

Foreign Minister Pinay did not personally speak to the representatives here. I am advised by the individuals concerned that in the case of El Salvador and Paraguay, that had he done so, both Paraguay and El Salvador would have voted with him.
It is not surprising that Guatemala voted against France when one considers that Ambassador Hoppenot in the June 1954 meeting [Page 228] of the Security Council supported actively the Communist Government of Guatemala.
As far as we know, the French never, at a high level, had a serious talk with the Philippines, whose vote might well have been obtained inasmuch as they are so anxious to get French support for their campaign for membership in the Security Council.
The Minister Counselor, Charles Lucet, left New York the day after Alphand arrived, which meant that Alphand had no senior man with experience. Lucet was replaced by Guiringaud who knew no more about United Nations procedure than Alphand did.
At no time did Alphand show me any list which indicated that he was working methodically. In fact, the French were apparently unprepared for the unfavorable vote, although it was certainly a possibility for which they should have been ready.
Immediately after the General Committee’s recommendation against inscription was rejected by the margin of one vote, the President of the Assembly left it clearly open to the French to request a specific vote on the inscription of the item. They could have taken advantage of this to request a recess and meanwhile could have garnered enough votes against inscription to defeat it. Instead of taking advantage of this procedural opportunity, Pinay made his statement and left the Hall.
As the British demonstrated in the Cyprus affair, it takes at least ten days to organize a successful campaign in the United Nations. To try to work up something in a hurry at a casual meeting at a cocktail party the day before is most amateurish and foredoomed to failure. Their veiled threat to walk out if the vote went against them was ill-advised and certainly lost them support.
It is astonishing that Alphand should criticize me for not being present on Friday morning,2 when I had told him definitely that Vice President Nixon had telephoned the day before to request me urgently to attend the first meeting of the Cabinet being held since the illness of President Eisenhower.
As far as saying goodbye is concerned, I received no word from one single French representative about the French departure. I heard on Saturday indirectly, and then only as a result of inquiries by my staff, that Alphand was leaving on Sunday and telephoned at once on Saturday in order to call that evening to say goodbye. But by that time Alphand had found a berth at the last minute and had left.
In this, as in all other occupations in life, the old saying that “God helps those who help themselves” is pertinent. The United States can help those who help themselves, but it cannot carry the [Page 229] load all by itself and it is not fair to blame the United States for everything that goes wrong at the United Nations.
I did everything that the French asked me to do—and more. Pinay asked me to speak in the Plenary. I spoke in the Plenary and on my own responsibility added language to my speech in which I warned the delegates that inscription of the Algerian item would be very dangerous for the future of the Organization. The U.S. Delegation also made a canvass of all the Latin American countries and I personally reported it to Alphand. If the French had wanted me to take charge of their campaign, they should have asked me to do so.

The fact should not be forgotten that it can obviously lead to confusion, disorder and crossed wires to barge into a complicated situation without having been invited to do so by the party most concerned. This holds true today, and the French have still not given us a practicable statement of their wishes or intentions.

With kind regards,

Very sincerely yours,

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 320/10–755. Secret. Lodge addressed a similar personal letter to Secretary Dulles on October 7 in which he observed that the French had mismanaged their affairs. He noted that Alphand had made only a cursory plea for help 2 days before the vote. After the vote, he believed that the French had been more interested in finding a reason to walk out than in remaining to seek to overturn the result. (Ibid.)
  2. September 30.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.