55. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Williams) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)0


  • Reception of Algerian Representatives in the Department


On October 9th the Secretary approved EUR’s memorandum of October 31 recommending that he call in the French Ambassador to inform him of the decision to receive representatives of the FLN in the Department up to the level of Under Secretary. Action was temporarily deferred, however. On November 21st the Secretary decided that EUR should inform the French Embassy we are now ready to receive Algerian representatives in the Department. According to your memorandum of December 11th to Mr. Tyler,2 the Secretary agreed that EUR should defer action on informing the French Embassy until after the Paris meetings [Page 79] and that the reception of PAG representatives in the Department should, if necessary, be correspondingly deferred.

This matter is of particular importance now because the Paris meetings will be over at the end of this week and the PAG Minister of Information, Yazid, who is now in New York for the Algerian debate, may well want to be received in the Department. He has already asked to be received by Ambassador Stevenson in New York. I think we should be prepared to receive him here as well, presumably some time early next week.

As for the level at which PAG representatives may be received in the Department, it was the decision of the Acting Secretary on September 15, confirmed by the Secretary on October 9, that they could be received up to the level of Under Secretary. I think we should retain flexibility in this matter. As you know, I myself have already met socially with the PAG Information Minister in Tunis. I am afraid we would defeat our purpose if we tried to downgrade him, for example, should he come to Washington.


That you authorize receiving the PAG Information Minister at Under Secretary or Assistant Secretary level some time next week, with the French Embassy to be informed beforehand by EUR.3

On December 22, the Department of State cabled the Embassy in Paris that it had informed the French Embassy in Washington on December 20 of the decision in principle to receive PAG leaders in the Department, noting that it had emphasized that their reception would not in any sense mean departure from a policy of nonrecognition and full support De Gaulle’s Algerian policy. (Telegram 3539 to Paris; Department of State, Central Files, 611.51S/12-2261) On December 28, Couve de Murville suggested personally to Gavin that the Department refrain from seeing PAG officials for at least a week. (Telegram 3250 from Paris; ibid., 751S.00/12-2861)

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.51S11/12-1561. Secret.
  2. Not found. On November 13, Tyler sent a memorandum to Secretary Rusk reviewing the recommendation to receive PAG representatives in the Department. Rusk initialed his approval. (Ibid., 751S.00/11-1361)
  3. Not found.
  4. Johnson initialed his approval on December 20, crossed out the words “Under Secretary,” and added the following handwritten note: “On condition that the PAG takes the initiative in requesting an appointment. We are not to stimulate such a request. Should request for appointment materialize, suggest Asst. Secretaries for both AF and EUR.”