Archives de catégorie : Franklin D. Library

A M. Cordell Hull, 7 juin 1940

Source :Franklin D. Roosevelt Library – President’s official file 203a – France Miscellaneous, documents aimablement communiqués par Mme Silvana Ippati-Wiltshire

Monsieur le Secrétaire d’Etat,

J’ai l’honneur de faire savoir à votre excellence que Monsieur Louis Renault, fondateur et directeur général des grandes usines d’automobiles qui portent son nom, se trouve actuellement à Washington et sollicite l’honneur d’être reçu, au cours de son séjour, par Monsieur le Président des Etats-Unis.

La venue de M. Renault a dû être annoncée au Département d’Etat par l’Ambassade des Etats-Unis à Paris.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur le Secrétaire d’Etat, les assurances de ma très haute considération

Son Excellence

L’Honorable Cordell Hull,

Secrétaire d’Etat des Etats-Unis,

Washington, D.C.


Source :Franklin D. Roosevelt Library – President’s official file 203w – France Miscellaneous, documents aimablement communiqués par Mme Silvana Ippati-Wiltshire



5 p.m. June 7, 1940


Mr. Summerlin (1) has gone for the afternoon and we have just received the attached notes from the French Ambassador in regard to the desire of Mr. Louis Renault to be received by the President. You will note that the one is an official note to the Secretary and the other a personal note to Mr. Summerlin.

I have been informed that Mr. Renault will only be here tomorrow. He has been received by the Secretary of the Treasury and also by the Asst. Se. of War. The Ambassador stated that Mr. Bullitt had communicated with the President in regard to Mr. Renault.

Accordingly I am sending this to you this evening and Mr. Summerlin will call you in the morning.


(1) George Thomas Summerlin (1872-1947), diplomate, ancien capitaine de cavalerie dans l’US Army, est le chef du protocole de la présidence des Etats-Unis.

Mr. de Saint-Quentin (1) to General Watson, June 9th. 1940

Source :Franklin D. Roosevelt Library – President’s official file 203a – France Miscellaneous, documents aimablement communiqués par Mme Silvana Ippati-Wiltshire

My Dear general,

I am very sorry for the misunderstanding that has happened yesterday about the audience granted by the President to M. Louis Renault, the great industrialist. From the information he gathered on Friday at the State Department, we believed that the president would be away from Washington during the entire week-end and that no reception was arranged for Saturday. Thus, Mr. Renault left Washington yesterday morning. He will, however, return this afternoon and expect to spend the next few days here.

Will you be kind enough if it is possible for the President to receive him. Of course, M. Renault will remain here as long as necessary to comply with Mr. Franklin Roosevelt’s wishes. But I think he would appreciate an early audience.

Believe me, my dear general, with best personal regards

Yours sincerely

M. de Saint-Quentin

(1) René Doynel de Saint-Quentin (1883-1961), ambassadeur de France aux Etats-Unis de 1938 à 1940

Notes on Conference in Secretary’s Office, Friday, June 7 (1940), 11 :45 A.M.

Source :Franklin D. Roosevelt Library – Diary 210 pp. 111-112, document aimablement communiqué par Mme Silvana Ippati-Wiltshire

Those present, Mr. Louis Renault, Mr. Jean Renault (son), Mr. Samuel Guillelman (sic), Mr. Dumaine (from French Embassy), Secretary Morgenthau, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Nelson, and Mr. Young.

Mr. Renault, after dully felicitating the Secretary of the Treasury, stated that he had been sent to the United States to meet the various Governmental officials. Further, that he came not as a politician, not as a financier, only as a manufacturer. He was just a boy who had gone into the manufacturing business in France and made good.

As a manufacturer for his Government, he came solely to accomplish a technical objective, namely, to help the technical production of tanks. He had built the French small tank which has been used during the World War, and as he was the foremost tank expert of France that was why he has been sent to the United States. He added that the French tank was far superior to the German tank, but that, unfortunately, the French did not have enough of them.

Mr. Renault wished to make personal contacts with American manufacturers who might go into the production of war tanks. He pointed out that speedy production would be necessary in order to stop the blood of France running over the country. He knew that the United States was sympathetic and that its people understood. He added that we all hope this war will be the last one, for, certainly, we who fought in the World War do not want to see another.

To the foregoing speech, Secretary Morgenthau responded with a welcome stating that Ambassador Bullitt had already informed him that Mr. Renault was coming to this country. However, since Mr. Renault had started this trip, the American situation presented a different picture. The promulgation of our own National defense had necessitated the organization of a special commission by the President ; Mr. Knudsen of this commission had been specifically asked to look after American production problems.

The Secretary asked if he had talked with either Mr. Purvis or Mr. Bloch L’Aine as they were the two persons with whom this Government had been handling all Allied purchasing. Mr. Renault replied that he had talked with both of them and that they were fully acquainted with the situation.

The Secretary pointed out, very diplomatically, what when Mr. Renault had decided on the type of tanks he wished to produce in this country and the manufacturers who seemed to be fitted to produce them, he should come back again and bring with him either Mr. Purvis or Mr. Bloch L’Aine. The Secretary said that there had been the finest relationship between the Government and the Anglo-French Purchasing Board and that he merely touched on this factor in order that the lines might be kept straight.

Mr. Renault replied that he and Mr. Bloch-L’Aine were in absolute agreement and that he understood the situation perfectly. The Secretary added that he wanted to help bring Mr. Renault’s mission to a successful conclusion.

The conference adjourned with the suggestion by the Secretary that Mr. Nelson make an appointment for Mr. Renault to meet with Mr. Knudsen that afternoon.

This group, with the exception of Secretary Morgenthau and Merle Cochran, reconvened in Mr. Nelson’s office. In talking over Mr. Renault’s request in a little more detail, Mr. Nelson and Mr. Young came to the conclusion that Mr. Renault would save a good deal of time if he could talk with Colonel Burns of the War Department before interviewing Mr. Knudsen.

This conference with the War Department would give Mr. Renault the opportunity to work out with the Army’s tank experts the type of tanks that the French wished to build in this country, as well as the names of potential manufacturers.

Mr. Renault was very pleased with this arrangement, and it was agreed that after his discussion with the War Department Mr. Nelson would personally take him to Mr. Knudsen in order to work out the production problems involved. An appointment was subsequently arranged for Mr. Renault to meet with Colonel Burns.

Roosevelt Presidential Press Conferences Number 651 (June 11, 1940)

Source :Franklin D. Roosevelt Library – Press Conference – Vol 15, page 562, documents aimablement communiqués par Mme Silvana Ippati-Wiltshire

Q : In your conference today with the French industrialist Renault, did he give you any experience in the changing over from the manufacture of civilian goods to war materials in his factories ?


Q : Can you tell us anything about it ?

THE PRESIDENT : Well, he told me about his factory and how they had gone into the three-shift basis last summer and how it had worked extremely well. Also he told me, very interestingly, about how, when the French mobilized the end of August, it took a very large number, a great many thousands of his employees, out of the plant and into the army, and that he went right around locally, and got the mothers and sisters and brothers, and so forth, of people who have been called to the colors to come in there and, in an amazingly short time, he was able to get his production back to the normal. They learned very fast.

To Mr. Summerlin, June 7th., 1940

Source : Franklin D. Roosevelt Library – President’s official file 203a – France Miscellaneous, documents aimablement communiqués par Mme Silvana Ippati-Wiltshire

My dear Mr. Summerlin (1),

I send herewith an official letter addressed to the Secretary of State, requesting that Mr. Louis Renault be received, if possible, during his visit in Washington, by the President of the United States. Mr. Louis Renault is one of the leading French industrialists and Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.

I should appreciate very much if you would take care of this matter personally, so that Mr. Renault will be granted the interview he is seeking.

Sincerely yours

Mr. George T. Summerlin

Chief of the Protocol Division

Department of State

Washington, D.C.

(1) George Thomas Summerlin (1872-1947), diplomate, ancien capitaine de cavalerie dans l’US Army, est le chef du protocole de la présidence des Etats-Unis.