Despite the horror with which the inhabitants of the democratic states righteously regard any cold-blooded murder, Darlan's death has given the Allies a second chance to clear up the political mess which has existed in North Africa since the start of the military campaign. The United States attempted to take the easy way out by cooperating with General Giraud in his accession to the post of High Commissioner in North Africa, but in so doing it neglected to define the still rather anomalous position of General De Gaulle in London.
General Giraud had the good fortune to be a prisoner of Germany after the fall of France. By preventing him from taking a definite stand either for or against the Vichy regime, this event allowed the General to preserve the halo of purity and personal integrity which still surround him. On the other hand, he has not yet shown by any concrete act that he unconditionally favors the cause of the United Nations. On the contrary, by surrounding himself with such men as pro-Vichy Nogues and Boisson, he has created a definite doubt as to whether he is potentially any less dangerous to the Allied aims than the fascist-opportunist Darlan.
The implications involved in the North African controversy are greater than meet the eye. For one, it will become increasingly necessary, as the peace approaches, for Great Britain and the United States to agree on major questions of policy. The question of a French African government is only an example of the problems which will arise, and which will have to be settled by a decision acceptable both to the British and American people. Again, it must be realized that the French people, indeed the people of Europe, look to the United States as their saviour and any decision involving fundamental democratic principles must be suitable to them. The fact that the British Foreign Office has thrown its support behind General De Gaulle during the entire North African dispute cannot long be disregarded by the State Department. De Gaulle has offered to cooperate with General Giraud, but it was the only thing he could do since he has again been placed in a second-rate position by the manipulations of the United States. England and France, in the person of the Fighting French, have given their backing to General De Gaulle. The United States has placed its money on General Giraud. Now is the time to sit down at a conference table and iron out the situation once and for all.