Lunching yesterday with C., editor of France. . . To my surprise he was in good spirits and had no grievances. I would have expected a French refugee to be grumbling endlessly about the food, etc. However, C. knows England well and has lived here before.
He says there is much more resistance both in occupied and unoccupied France than people here realise. The press is playing it down, no doubt because of our continued relations with Vichy. He says that at the time of the French collapse no European looked on it as conceivable that England would go on fighting, and generally speaking Americans did not either. He is evidently somewhat of an Anglophile and considers the monarchy a great advantage to England. According to him it has been a main factor in preventing the establishment of Fascism here. He considers that the abdication of Edward VIII was brought about because of Mrs S.’s  known Fascist connections. . . It is a fact that, on the whole, anti-Fascist opinion in England was pro-Edward, but C. is evidently repeating what was current on the continent.
C. was head of the press department during Laval’s government. Laval said to him in 1935 that England was now “only an appearance” and Italy was a really strong country, so that France must break with England and go in with Italy. On returning from signing the Franco-Russian pact he said that Stalin was the most powerful man in Europe. On the whole Laval’s prophecies seem to have been falsified, clever though he is.
Completely conflicting accounts, from eye witnesses, about the damage to Coventry. It seems impossible to learn the truth about the bombing at a distance. When we have a quiet night here, I find that many people are faintly uneasy, because feeling certain that they are getting it badly in the industrial towns. What every one feels at the back of his mind is that we are now hardened to it and the morale elsewhere is less reliable.
 Pierre Comert, French journalist and former diplomat, went to England after the fall of France.
 Mrs. Wallis Simpson, by this time married to the Duke of Windsor; see 654, n. 3.
 Coventry was attacked during the night of 14 November 1940. The Daily Herald headlines for 16 November read ‘Midlands City Is Now Like A Bombarded French Town,’ ‘Coventry Homeless Slept by Roadside This Morning,’ ‘Not a Mortal Blow – Work will Restart.’ It reported that 500 planes were involved, that the Germans claimed 30,000 fire bombs fell in a dusk-to-dawn raid, and that the Ministry of Home Security said there were a thousand casualties (War Papers, 1989). 2194 Days of War states that 449 German planes carried out ‘carpet bombing’ of the centre of Coventry, destroying many historic buildings, including the fourteenth-century cathedral. There were 550 dead and many more wounded; 21 factories were destroyed, but the city’s productive capacity was not seriously affected. It concludes: ‘After this the Germans coin the word Coventrisieren meaning “annihilate, raze to the ground”’ (78-79). Churchill gives a figure of 400 killed and many more seriously injured and adds, ‘The German radio proclaimed that our other cities would be similarly “Conventrated”’ (The Second World War, II, 332; U.S.: Their Finest Hour, 377). See also Tom Harrisson, Living Through the Blitz (1976), especially chap. VI, ‘Coventration.’