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Memorandum for the Secretary of War
June 3, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
Prince André Poniatowski, a member of the technical staff of the Headquarters of the present French Army at Vichy, has just arrived in the United States on a confidential mission. He contacted General Miles with a statement that he had full authority to speak for the French General staff; that the French Army is not in sympathy with the Vichy Government; that he is prepared to put his own knowledge and French military experience at our disposal. Further that the French staff at Vichy are sending two officers, tank engineers, to Martinique in case we should desire to have them come to this country for consultation.
He had comments to make regarding American intervention in North Africa, predicting its success and cooperation by General Weygand if made in force.1
Prince Poniatowski stated that a letter would be received from our Military Attaché in Vichy vouching for him.2 No mail having been received from Vichy in over two weeks, General Miles cabled our Military Attaché a query regarding Poniatowski. May 27th he received a reply signed “Leahy” stating that Poniatowski speaks for the French Army with full approval and authority.3
I have talked to him and I suggest that you give him an appointment.4
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. General Maxime Weygand was the commanding general of Vichy French forces in North Africa. After Vichy’s rapprochement with Germany, Weygand had asked the United States what help he could receive if he resisted the Germans. Poniatowski told Marshall that the French Army had relieved its older, inefficient officers and restructured its forces. He advised the chief of staff that Weygand would assist a major United States invasion of North Africa if one was mounted. (Orlando Ward notes on Conference in the Office of the Secretary of War, May 19 and June 3, 1941, NA/RG 165 [OCS, War Council Minutes].)
2. Major Robert A. Schow (U.S.M.A., November 1918) was the military attaché in Vichy.
3. Admiral William D. Leahy was the ambassador in Vichy.
4. Stimson received Poniatowski later that day. (Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 34: 87].)
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981– ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 522–523.