114 War Cabinet Minute

Minute 498 SYDNEY, 10 September 1940

NEW CALEDONIA

(Previous reference-War Cabinet Minute No. (418) [1]).

(The Chief of the Naval Staff [2] was present for the discussion of this subject).

The Minister for External Affairs [3] brought to the notice of War Cabinet cablegram No. 182 of 9th September from the British Resident Commissioner, New Hebrides [4], regarding the plans of M.

Sautot [5] for his 'coup de force' at Noumea. Reference was also made to the comments of the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific [6] in his cablegram No. 273 of 10th September to the British Resident Commissioner on the latter's cablegram.

It was decided that the Commanding Officer of H.M.A.S. 'Adelaide' [7] is to be informed that it is to be clearly understood that the responsibility for proceeding to Noumea is a matter for M. Sautot himself, and the Commanding Officer is not to convey him there against his wishes.

1 See AA:A2673, vol. 3, 11 July 1940. It recorded the proposal to appoint B. C. Ballard as Official Representative in New Caledonia.

2 Admiral Sir Ragnar Colvin.

3 John McEwen.

4 R. D. Blandy. The cablegram is on file AA:A981, New Caledonia 37.

5 French Resident Commissioner in the New Hebrides.

6 Sir Harry Luke. Cablegram 273 (on file AA:A981, New Caledonia 1, iii) included the advice: 'I appreciate Sautot's anxiety to make as sure as possible of the success of his enterprise but I feel that it would be wise for him to take advantage of the present favourable combination of circumstances i.e. opportunity of transport in S.S. NORDEN supported by H.M.A.S. ADELAIDE and propitious atmosphere in New Caledonia.' 7 Captain H. A. Showers.

[AA:A2673, VOL. 3]