79. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State1

2677. Re Deptel 2024.2 I saw Mollet this afternoon re reftel. There was no problem as far as Pineau was concerned as Algerian affairs are no concern of his and Mollet has always told me to talk to him directly on Algeria. I delivered message in reftel and Mollet assured me that he intended to make policy declaration before debate in GA. Mollet said, however, that he was afraid that any statement he would make would not be accepted by FLN leaders who now have put their faith in UN. His feeling is that the army of liberation, that is, those who are actually fighting in Algeria, are prepared to consider a cease fire after a reasonable offer from France. However, he feels that in no event will the FLN leaders outside of Algeria, i.e., those in Cairo, New York and elsewhere agree to anything which he may propose. He considers that their feeling is that Afro-Asiatic group plus Soviets now exercise clear working control of GA and therefore they will try and insist on having GA impose the terms of a settlement in Algeria. Such a settlement will of course be totally unacceptable to France.

Mollet said that his statement on Algeria will be bold, but probably not quite as bold as it would have been if he could have counted on good faith on the part of the FLN negotiators. He will stress complete liberty and equality for all individuals and all racial groupings in Algeria and will outline what he considers to be the minimum rights of French. He sees Algerian problem primarily as conflict between diverse non-European groups united in the Moslem religion and the hard core of Algerians of European descent. He feels that only metropolitan France can arbitrate between these two groups. He said that indigenous European elements whose loyalty is not to France, but rather to themselves as European Algerians are tending more and more towards attempting to achieve a solution along South African lines which would involve creation of an independent Algeria controlled by European elements.3 He said that [Page 255] an attempt at any such solution would of course be a tragedy and he was using his whole effort to avoid such a result.

Regarding UN debate he said that France would explain actions being taken in Algeria and then would maintain that Assembly could take no action because it was not competent to intervene in French internal affairs. In other words, France will rely once again on argument of incompetence of GA but prior to proposing such argument will be willing to explain her position and her intentions. If France should be beaten and anti-French resolutions voted Mollet said it is absolutely certain that France will leave the UN for good and all. He said that his government will not take such action but there was absolutely no doubt that in refusing to take such action his government would be overthrown and succeeding government would effectively take France out of UN.

Mollet said that the result in UN depended entirely on US. There would be at least 26 votes, i.e. Afro-Asiatic bloc and Soviet bloc against France. Therefore it would require full efforts of US to defeat such a move. Mollet said this was one of the reasons why he felt it so essential that he meet with President personally in near future so that details of a common policy could be worked out to face up to this difficult situation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/11–2956. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Algiers, Rabat, Tunis, and USUN.
  2. Supra.
  3. In telegram 3397 from Paris, January 14, 1957, Dillon expressed his concern that the European population in Algeria might attempt to take matters into its own hands to impose a solution. He was unsure how the French army might respond to such a development. (Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/1–1457) Two days after Dillon stated his concern, an attempt was made upon the life of General Raoul Salan, the supreme military commander in Algeria.