Franklin D. Roosevelt

Cablegram from the Premier of France.

June 10, 1940

Mr. President: I wish first to express to you my gratitude for the generous aid that you have decided to give us in aviation and armament.

For six days and six nights our divisions have been fighting without one hour of rest against an army which has a crushing superiority in numbers and material. Today the enemy is almost at the gates of Paris.

We shall fight in front of Paris; we shall fight behind Paris; we shall close ourselves in one of our provinces to fight and if we should be driven out of it we shall establish ourselves in North Africa to continue the fight and if necessary in our American possessions.

A portion of the government has already left Paris. I am making ready to leave for the front. That will be to intensify the struggle with all the forces which we still have and not to abandon the struggle.

May I ask you, Mr. President, to explain all this yourself to your people to all the citizens of the United States saying to them that we are determined to sacrifice ourselves in the struggle that we are carrying on for all free men.

This very hour another dictatorship has stabbed France in the back. Another frontier is threatened. A naval war will begin.

You have replied generously to the appeal which I made to you a few days ago across the Atlantic. Today this 10th of June 1940 it is my duty to ask you for new and even larger assistance.

At the same time that you explain this situation to the men and women of America, I beseech you to declare publicly that the United States will give the Allies aid and material support by all means short of an expeditionary force. I beseech you to do this before it is too late. I know the gravity of such a gesture. Its very gravity demands that it should not be made too late.

You said to us yourself on the 5th of October 1937: "I am compelled and you are compelled to look ahead. The peace, the freedom and the security of 90 per cent of the population of the world are being jeopardized by the remaining 10 per cent who are threatening a breakdown of all international order and law.

"Surely the 90 per cent who want to live in peace under law and in accordance with moral standards that have received almost universal acceptance through the centuries, can and must find some way to make their will prevail."

The hour has now come for these.


Franklin D. Roosevelt, Cablegram from the Premier of France. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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