Relations with France

August 8, 1944

Report Outline
Roosevelt, Churchill, and Degaulle
Past American Relations with France
Rise of Free French Movement
Shifts in United States Policy: 1940–1944

Roosevelt, Churchill, and Degaulle

Restoration of France to the position of a major power in postwar Europe was recognized as “one of the main interests of Britain,” and by implication of the United States, in the address of Prime Minister Churchill, Aug. 2, before the House of Commons. The closest association of France with the three powers allied in the European war, he indicated, would be essential to the settlement of European problems. He cited among the first of the more favorable conditions existing in the affairs of the Allies “a very great improvement in the relations of the French National Committee, headed by General DeGaulle, with the Government of the United States.” The Prime Minister attributed this improvement to efforts of the British Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden, and to the success which attended General DeGaulle's visit to Washington. The critical nature of the situation previous to that visit was emphasized by Churchill's expression of appreciation for the restraint which Parliament had shown in not forcing a government statement at an earlier date.

Results of Roosevelt Conference with DeGaulle

Concretely the result of the DeGaulle conference with Roosevelt in July was acceptance by the United States of the French Committee of National Liberation, formed in Algiers June 3, 1943, as the working authority for the civil administration of liberated French territory. This agreement met a major contention of DeGaulle who in the early days of the Normandy invasion had strongly protested against failure of the Allied governments to come to an understanding on civil administration in liberated areas with his provisional government. “This foreshadows a sort of taking over of power in France by the Allied military command,” he said. “This situation is obviously not acceptable to us.”

Recognition of the French Committee as the provisional government of France—which it declared itself to be, on May 15 of this year—had been ruled out in advance of the conference and was not accorded by the President. Acceptance of the authority of the Committee in the civil affairs of liberated France, however, brought the policy of the United States more closely into line with that of Great Britain and Russia. As early as August, 1943, the Soviet government recognized the Committee as “representative of the state interests of the French Republic.” At that time the British and American governments accorded the Committee recognition only as the administrative authority in French North Africa, Later, on Feb. 4 of this year, Great Britain gave the Committee what was interpreted in London as de facto recognition as the interim government of France by signing with it two agreements, one fixing a pound-sterling-franc exchange rate, the other providing for mutual military assistance for the duration of the war. More than a score of other countries have granted recognition, in some cases limited or qualified, to the Committee of National Liberation as the provisional government of France. The list includes most of the governments-in-exile, several Latin American countries, Brazil and Cuba among them, and China.

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
Regional Political Affairs: Europe