185. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Tunisian Relations with France


  • American:
    • The Secretary
    • Mr. Henry J. Tasca, Deputy Assistant Secretary, AF
    • Mr. Woodruff Wallner, Deputy Assistant Secretary, IO
    • Mr. H.H. Stackhouse, OIC, Tunisia
  • Tunisian:
    • His Excellency Mongi Slim, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Tunisia
    • Mr. Ismail Khelil, Counselor, Tunisian Embassy
    • His Excellency Habib Bourguiba, Jr., Tunisian Ambassador

Mr. Slim said that there had been considerable evolution in recent months in Tunisia’s relations with France. Many important outstanding problems had been resolved and the Bizerte problem seemed to be on the way to solution.1 But negotiation with the French on remaining issues was difficult and De Gaulle continued to be “mysterious.” The Foreign Minister said that the French continued to try to maintain rights of a colonial character obtained during the Protectorate. Naturally Mr. Slim said, Tunisia opposed this.

The Secretary expressed understanding, based on U.S. experience, of Tunisia’s difficulties in negotiating with General De Gaulle. He said that it was our conviction, however, that De Gaulle has made a basic decision to put France’s relations with all Arab states on a solid, friendly basis.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 FR-TUN. Confidential. Drafted by Stackhouse on July 18 and approved in S on July 25. The source text is the third of five memoranda of conversation of discussions between Secretary Rusk and Foreign Minister Slim on July 15. The other four memoranda of conversation are ibid., POL 10 PORT, POL 7 ETH, DEF 18-3 USSR, and AID (US) TUN.
  2. On October 15, France completed a voluntary withdrawal of its forces from Bizerte.