133 Department of External Affairs to Mr B. C. Ballard, Official Representative in New Caledonia

Cablegram 23 23 September 1940,


[This document has been corrected from a slightly revised version contained in teleprinter message 1918 of 23 September on file AA:A981, New Caledonia 1, iv.]

Reference Admiralty message for Sautot dated 22nd September, 1940 [1], sent through [H.M.A.S.] Adelaide, the situation so far as has been reported to us, appears to be deteriorating and requires prompt measures to eliminate those factors which are jeopardising the stability of colony and its whole-hearted adhesion to Free France.

It is requested therefore that you interview immediately Sautot [2] and place before him the following on behalf of the Commonwealth Government.

(1) In the opinion of the Commonwealth Government Colonel Denis should be deported at the earliest practicable moment.

(2) Other elements in the armed forces who are followers of Denis or who are likely to provide leaders in the case of an attempted Vichy coup, should be interned immediately, and the extremists among them should be deported.

(3) A staunch officer should be appointed temporarily to command the local forces without waiting for any special officer from Tahiti or elsewhere.

(4) Sautot should ask Captain of Adelaide [3] forthwith for protection against any attempt to interfere with the internal control or administration of the colony or against any vessel hostile to Free France already in or proceeding to New Caledonia.

(5) You are to inform Sautot that if he asks for the protection mentioned in paragraph 4, the Captain of the Adelaide will be instructed immediately to give it. [4]

1 On file AA:A981, New Caledonia 37. It transmitted orders from General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French movement, that Denis (former Governor and military commander), de Quievrecourt (commanding officer of the Vichy sloop Dumont d'Urville) and all other dangerous opponents of the Free French movement should be interned or deported.

2 Free French Governor of New Caledonia.

3 Captain H. A. Showers.

4 Showers reported on 24 September: 'Situation now practically stable. DUMONT D'URVILLE sails for Saigon on receipt of provisions tomorrow Wednesday. All Vichy adherents now under restraint in PIERRE LOTI anchored harbour.' See teleprinter message D339 on file AA:A981, New Caledonia 37.

[AA:A981, NEW CALEDONIA 1, iv]