The Secretary of State to the Ambassador Near the French Government At Bordeaux (Biddle) on the Status of the French Fleet, 17 June 1940

WASHINGTON, June 17, 1940-5 p.m.

3. The President desires that you obtain immediately an interview with Admiral Darlan and subsequently, if possible, with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and state that the views of this Government with regard to the disposition of the French fleet have been made very clear to the French Government on previous occasions. The President desires you to say that in the opinion of this Government, should the French Government, before concluding any armistice with the Germans, fail to see that the fleet is kept out of the hands of her opponents, the French Government will be pursuing a policy which will fatally impair the preservation of the French Empire and the eventual restoration of French independence and autonomy. Furthermore, should the French Government fail to take these steps and permit the French fleet to be surrendered to Germany, the French Government will permanently lose the friendship and good-will of the Government of the United States.


Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943), pp. 552-53

Return to Vinnie's Home Page

Return to Interwar Period Page