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

Circular cablegram Z116 LONDON, [16 June 1940, 9.45 p.m.] [1]

Following MOST IMMEDIATE and MOST SECRET and PERSONAL message for

At this afternoon's meeting the Cabinet were informed by General de Gaulle, French Under Secretary of State for War, that a 'psychological stroke' alone would restrain M. Reynaud [2] from asking for an Armistice. A document was produced which had been prepared in London today by de Gaulle in consultation with certain British and French officials with this object in view. This document was considered by the Cabinet and substantially amended by them. In its amended version it was read over the telephone by de Gaulle to M. Reynaud who is understood to have indicated that it met with his approval.

Text of the document as revised by the Cabinet is as follows- (begins) At this most fateful moment in the history of the modern world, the Governments of the United Kingdom and the French Republic make this declaration of indissoluble union and unyielding resolution in their common defence of justice and freedom against subjection to a system which reduces mankind to robots and slaves.

The two Governments declare that France and Great Britain shall no longer be two nations but one Franco-British Union.

The constitutional Union will provide for joint organs of Defence, Foreign, Financial and Economic policies.

Every citizen of France will enjoy immediate citizenship of Great Britain: every British subject will become a citizen of France.

Both countries will share the responsibility for the repair of the devastation of war wherever it occurs in their territories and the resources of both shall be equally and as one applied to that purpose.

During the war there shall be a single War Cabinet and all the forces of Great Britain and France, whether on land, sea or in the air, shall be placed under its direction. It will govern from wherever it best can. The two Parliaments will be formally associated.

The nations of the British Empire are already forming new Armies.

France will keep her available forces in the field, on sea and in the air. The Union appeals to the United States to fortify the economic resources of the Allies and to bring her powerful material aid to the common cause.

The Union will concentrate its whole energy against the power of the enemy, no matter where the battle may be. And thus we shall conquer.

(ends).

The Prime Minister [3] and other Ministers are leaving for France tonight in order to ascertain whether the adoption of this document by the British and French Governments and its immediate publication would secure the abandonment by the French Government of their proposal to enquire as to the conditions under which the Axis Powers would grant France an Armistice. If the document does not have this effect, the reply to the French Government set out at the end of my telegram Circular Z. 114 [4] which has meanwhile been suspended would apply.

Nothing but the extreme situation and the hope that the adoption of this document may avert the collapse of the French resistance would have led His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to take this course without the fullest prior consultation with the Dominion Governments, but events have left us no option. We can therefore only take this earliest opportunity of informing you of the basis on which the Prime Minister's discussions in France tomorrow will take place. [5]

1 The date and time of dispatch have been taken from the copy in PRO: DO 114/113.

2 French Prime Minister.

3 Winston S. Churchill.

4 See Document 390, note 2.

5 This proposed Act of Union was made public by the U.K. Govt on 17 June 1940 (see the Times, 18 June 1940, p. 6). The proposal lapsed with the resignation of the Reynaud Govt.

[AA: A1608, F41/1/8]