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Memorandum for General Strong
November 18, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
With reference to your memorandum attached and mine to you on this subject of November 17th, your last paragraph indicates about what we are already doing in the field. What I am talking about is what we do here in Washington.
I understand that you have had virtually no contacts with the Free French, the De Gaullists. They have been barred from everything. At the same time in the field we are doing business with them and must continue to do so in Central Africa, in New Caledonia and the Friendly Islands, etc.
What I want to know is what should be the relationship here between G-2 and the Free French.1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. “Since the Free French consists of two well defined groups, the De Gaullists and the Anti-De Gaullists,” Strong stated, “there should be no official relationship here in Washington between G-2 and either faction of the Free French.” The theater commander should continue to be in charge of the execution of any policy arising from relations with either faction. Since the issues that arose in Washington were primarily political in character, the State Department should handle them. (Strong Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, November 18, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OPD, 336 France, Sec. 1, Case 58].) Marshall sent his own and Strong’s memorandums to Assistant Secretary of War McCloy for his “reaction.” McCloy replied that Strong’s view was “much too restricted and has too much ‘protocol’ in it.” The Free French had been fighting with the Allies for some time, “and we should not be standoffish” toward their military missions in the U.S. “as long as they keep on military matters.” In McCloy’s opinion, present policy toward the Free French was excessively complicated and overly antagonistic to de Gaulle’s group. He suggested: “Our policy should be clarified and, in my judgment, it can and should be placed on a simple basis, namely, that we are prepared to communicate freely with them and treat them as a recognized mission, discussing with them any military questions of legitimate interest to them which they seek to raise.” (McCloy Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, November 25, 1942, ibid.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 441-442.