THE MURPHY-WEYGAND AGREEMENT: THE UNITED STATES AND FRENCH NORTH AFRICA (1940-1942) (VICHY FRANCE, DIPLOMACY, MOROCCO, ALGERIA)

ELLIOTT BURTON LITSKY, Fordham University

Abstract

The defeat of France in June, 1940 led to a reassessment of United States policy toward France. America's interest lay in preventing the French Fleet and Empire from falling into German hands.^ The State Department, under prodding from President Roosevelt, began to focus on French North Africa, specifically Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, as a point of future resistance to the Axis. Robert Murphy was sent to North Africa and Dakar in the winter of 1941. His trip became the genesis of the Murphy-Weygand Agreement, an economic accord between the United States and the Vichy Government, which provided for the sending of twelve American vice consuls to North Africa to supervise the delivery of nonmilitary goods to the civilian population.^ This dissertation has concentrated on the origins, functioning, and operation of that agreement, as the centerpiece of American policy toward the French African territories. A chapter has been devoted to the activities of the vice consuls. In addition to their control duties, these men collected valuable military intelligence, yet little use was made of this information by the war department, in the planning of the invasion of North Africa.^ Special emphasis has been placed upon the economic supply program, which was a dismal failure. Only ten cargo ships and three oil tankers, a fraction of the approved goods, were delivered to North Africa, and the functioning of the accord was marked by constant interagency bickering within the Roosevelt Administration, as well as disagreements between the United States and Great Britain over issues of substance and principle.^ One significant consequence of the Murphy-Weygand Agreement was the President's personal decision in favor of Operation Torch. The author has argued that the location of a second front in the European theater was, to some extent, tied to the economic and political groundwork already laid in French North Africa.^ This dissertation has drawn upon the decimal files and post dispatches of the State Department, as well as the Modern Military Branch of the National Archives, the FDR Library, and published material, including memoirs, diaries, and personal papers. ^

Subject Area

History, United States

Recommended Citation

LITSKY, ELLIOTT BURTON, "THE MURPHY-WEYGAND AGREEMENT: THE UNITED STATES AND FRENCH NORTH AFRICA (1940-1942) (VICHY FRANCE, DIPLOMACY, MOROCCO, ALGERIA)" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8615698.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8615698

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