377 Lord Caldecote, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, U.K. High Commissioner in Australia

Circular cablegram [Z108] [1] LONDON, [14 June 1940, 5 a.m.] [2]

Please convey the following message from the Prime Minister [3] immediately to the Prime Minister [4]- The Foreign Secretary [5] and I saw Reynaud [6] this afternoon (Thursday) [7] at Tours. Reynaud said that the French Armies were at the last gasp and Weygand [8] said that he thought it would very soon be necessary to plead for an armistice in order to save the soil and structure of France. If France were to continue it was imperative to have proof that the United States would come in with sufficient speed. Reynand then referred to a message which he had sent to Roosevelt on June 10th (you will have seen this in the press. It was published at Roosevelt's suggestion and Roosevelt's speech on that day was not in fact an answer to it).

Reynaud said Roosevelt's speech of June 10th was encouraging and he said that he proposed to send a further appeal to Roosevelt saying that the Allied cause lay in America's hands. Reynaud added that he felt that he could not carry his Government with him in continuing the struggle unless Roosevelt's reply to his appeal conveyed a firm assurance of immediate aid, though he did not mean by this an expeditionary force. He said that the French Council of Ministers had instructed him to enquire what our attitude would be should the worst come, and he therefore asked me whether we would admit that France, having done all she could, might enter into a separate peace.

I said that it was still our one thought to destroy Hitlerism.

There would be no reproaches but we could not consent to French making a separate peace. The first thing was for Reynaud to put the position squarely to Roosevelt and then await his answer.

I returned to London this evening, Thursday. Meanwhile, Reynaud sent the appeal to Roosevelt which he contemplated (you will have heard his broadcast). This was crossed by a very remarkable message from Roosevelt, the terms of which are as follows:-

Your message of June 10th has moved me very deeply. As I have already stated to you and to Mr. Churchill, this Government is doing everything in its power to make available to the Allied Governments the materials they so urgently require and our efforts to do still more are being redoubled. This is so because of our faith in and our support of the ideals for which the Allies are fighting.

The magnificent resistance of the French and British Armies has profoundly impressed the American people.

I am personally particularly impressed by your declaration that France will continue the fight on behalf of democracy even if it means the slow withdrawal [even] to North Africa and the Atlantic.

It is most important to remember that the French and British fleets continue the mastery of the Atlantic and other oceans; also to remember that vital materials from the outside world [a]re necessary to maintain all Armies.

I am also greatly heartened by what Prime, Minister Churchill said a few days ago about the continued resistance of the British Empire and that determination would seem to apply equally to the great French Empire all over the world.

Naval power in world affairs still clearly carries the lessons of history, as Admiral Darlan well knows.

We read this as an invitation to France [to continue.] Roosevelt of course is not able to declare war without the assent (? of Congress) but his message goes very (? far towards) such a step and seems to me to give the assurance which Reynaud requires.

We are accordingly sending a message to Reynaud in the following terms:-

In this solemn hour for the British and French nations and for the free democracy to which they have vowed themselves, His Majesty's Government desire to pay to the Government of the French Republic the tribute which is due to the heroic fortitude and constancy of the French Armies in battle against enormous odds. Their effort is worthy of the most glorious traditions of France and has inflicted deep and long lasting injury upon the enemy's strength. Great Britain will continue to give the utmost aid in her power. We take this opportunity of proclaiming the indissoluble union of our two peoples and of our two Empires. We cannot measure the various forms of tribulation which will fall upon our peoples in the near future. We are sure that the ordeal by fire will only fuse them together into one unconquerable whole. We renew to the French Republic our pledge and resolve to continue the struggle at all costs in France, in our Island, upon the oceans and in the air, wherever it may lead us, using all our resources to the utmost limits, [shar]ing together with [sic] the burden of repairing the ravages of war.

We shall never [turn] from the conflict until France stands safe and erect in all her grandeur, until the wrong[ed] and enslaved States and people[s] have been liberated, and until civilisation.

is freed from the nightmare of Nazidom.

Till the day dawn will dawn [9], we are more sure than ever. It may dawn sooner than we now have the right to expect.

I hope Reynaud will now be prepared to carry out the intention which he expressed to us.

We are confident that you will be in full agreement with the tenor of our assurances in the above message to Reynaud, more than ever now that Roosevelt has committed himself, as we think he has, in his reply to Reynaud quoted above. If you feel as we do, we earnestly hope that you will feel able to make a public declaration to the French Government on the lines of our message set out above at the earliest possible moment and issue it to the press as soon as our message is published. (NOTE-This message has been published).

We regard this as a matter of very great urgency and importance.

I may add that we are urging the publication of Roosevelt's message, which in any case stands on record, but we have not yet received his consent.

1 & 2 The number and time of dispatch have been taken from the Dominions Office copy in PRO: DO 114/113. Parts of the text as received in Canberra were mutilated and some indecipherable words were omitted. The correct version of a significantly mutilated portion is given in footnote 9. Missing words are inserted in square brackets in the text.

3 Winston S. Churchill.

4 R. G. Menzies.

5 Lord Halifax.

6 French Prime Minister.

7 13 June 1940.

8 Commander-in-Chief of the French Army.

9 The Dominions Office copy read: 'That this day will dawn. .

[FA: A3195, UNNUMBERED]