740.0011 E.W./6–845

The French Ambassador ( Bonnet ) to President Truman

[Translation]

Mr. President: General de Gaulle, President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, has instructed me to transmit to you the following message sent from Paris on June 8:

“Your message of June 7 has just been handed me by Mr. Caffery. The note which he handed yesterday to Mr. Bidault in the name of the American Government has likewise been brought to my attention. Obviously, there has never been any intention either in the orders of the French Government nor in those of General Doyen, who commands the army detachment of the Alps, to oppose by force the presence of American troops in the small areas which French troops occupy at present to the East of the 1939 frontier between France and Italy. Besides, American troops are now in these areas side by side with French troops and here as elsewhere good comradeship prevails.

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We only wonder why our Allies now wish to exclude from these areas the French forces which captured them from the German and Fascist Italian enemy. In France this withdrawal would be all the more resented as it would be from terrain that we have conquered. Further, as you know, the Italian army invaded France in June 1940 from this area.

I agree with you as to the need that frontier questions await settlement by treaty. But it is my duty to remind you that the populaion of several of the villages involved is of French origin. For this reason the matter is still more difficult for us. Finally, I must point out how unfortunate it would be from the standpoint of French public opinion if our exclusion from this region should coincide with that which the British are requiring from us in Syria.

In any case I intend to give you satisfaction in so far as that is possible for us.

Tomorrow morning General Juin38 will proceed to Field Marshal Alexander’s headquarters to deal with this matter in the broadest spirit of conciliation in order that a solution may be found.”

Please accept [etc.]

H. Bonnet
  1. Alphonse Pierre Juin, Chief of Staff, French Army.