Relations with France

March 21, 1942

Report Outline
Hardening of Allied Policy Toward France
French Navy and Vichy-Nazi Collaboration
Outlying French Colonies and Allied Security

Hardening of Allied Policy Toward France

Multiplying reports of completed or contemplated transfers of units of the French fleet to Germany, and hints of the impending establishment of Japanese bases on the French island of Madagascar, while unsubstantiated, heighten fears that the Vichy government may be about to yield to Axis pressure for far reaching measures of collaboration with the enemies of the United Nations. Since the fall of France, the United States has maintained diplomatic relations with the Petain government and exerted persistent efforts to hold to a minimum concessions by Vichy to German demands. Accordingly, until very recently, Washington avoided lending official aid or encouragement to the Free French movement led by General de Gaulle.

Vichy broke off relations with Great Britain early in July, 1940, in consequence of the Royal Navy's action against the French fleet at Oran. While the Churchill government cooperated with de Gaulle from the first, it restricted operations of the Royal Air Force over France to bombing of the invasion ports. On March 3, 1942, however, British planes flew inland to deliver a heavy attack on industrial plants in the suburbs of Paris engaged in production of war equipment for the Nazis. A day earlier, the United States government had extended limited recognition to the Free French by announcing that it was cooperating with local authorities for defense of French island possessions in the Pacific under the effective control of the French National Committee at London.

Indications of Coming Crisis in Relations With France

This step and the British raids in the Paris region were taken to indicate that both Washington and London had decided the time had come to adopt a sterner policy toward France, including effective measures to cut down the flow of French material aid to Germany, to prevent transfers of French naval vessels, and to safeguard French colonial territories in danger of passing into Axis hands either through pressure on Vichy or, in the case of those held by the Free French, through application of force.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 03, 1978  French Parliamentary Elections
Feb. 14, 1973  French Elections, 1973
Apr. 10, 1968  French-American Relations
Nov. 24, 1965  Election of De Gaulle: Past and Future Policies
Nov. 20, 1963  French Policy Under De Gaulle
Feb. 20, 1963  France and the Alliance
Nov. 07, 1962  French Governmental Crisis
Mar. 10, 1960  Status of France
Sep. 15, 1955  Future of France in North Africa
Dec. 16, 1953  French Political Instability
Nov. 15, 1952  France and Germany in West European Defense
Jan. 29, 1947  Empire of France
Sep. 01, 1945  France in Transition
Aug. 08, 1944  Relations with France
Mar. 21, 1942  Relations with France
Apr. 10, 1934  Constitutional Reform in France
Jun. 30, 1929  The French Debt and the Young Plan
Apr. 27, 1928  The Briand-Kellogg Correspondence
Mar. 30, 1928  French National Elections - 1928
Aug. 24, 1926  French Currency and Exchange
Jun. 30, 1925  The Moroccan Problem
Jun. 17, 1925  The French Debt to the United States
Apr. 11, 1925  The French Financial Problem
May 07, 1924  The French National Elections
Sep. 21, 1923  French Reparation Policy in the Light of the Dariac Report
Diplomacy and Diplomats
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
U.S. at War: World War II