29 NOVEMBER 1940, Page 2

America and Vichy

The appointment of Admiral W. D. Leahy, at sent Governor of Porto Rico, as American Ambassador to Vichy, is evidence of President Roosevelt's belief that some effective influence can be brought to bear on Marshal Petain. Mr.

William Bullitt's sympathies with the distinguished Fr en who are now being held for trial by the Vichy A.

would obviously prejudice him with the pres 'French Government, and it is for that reason, no doubt, that the President has accepted his resignation. It is still possible that he may come as Ambassador to London in place of Mr. Kennedy, who is unlikely to return here, and whose value both to his own country and to this would be considerably attenuated if he did, as the result of his reported observations in the last few weeks. General Pershing, Mr. Roosevelt's first choice, would have been admirable, for he and Marshal Petain were fellow-commanders in the Great War. An admiral is hardly calculated to make the same appeal to the Marshal, and though the purpose of the appointment is, according to report, to strengthen Marshal Petain against M. Laval, it is with Laval, as Foreign Minister, that an Ambassador will normally have to do. Admiral Leahy's personality, more than his professional record, is his qualification for his new task. The President has explained that he appointed him because he was the best man available. And Mr. Roosevelt is a good judge of men.