244 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 4 LONDON, 3 January 1941, 7.30 p.m.



With reference to Commonwealth telegram of 14th December, 649 [1], and New Zealand telegram No. 519 [2], arrangements proposed by the Commonwealth Government are desired by General de Gaulle. [3]

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom agree to the suggestion that assurance should be given forthwith to New Caledonia and Tahiti that necessary funds will be made available for raising and training of men, without prejudice to the final allocation of costs between His Majesty's Governments in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth of Australia, and New Zealand. It is assumed that such assurance on behalf of the three Governments will be given by His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia and that necessary funds will be advanced by His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia in the first instance to the local administrations.

United Kingdom Government would also agree to similar action in respect of matter referred to in paragraph 2 of Commonwealth telegram 649 and in respect of any other necessary expenditure in New Caledonia and Tahiti subject to satisfactory arrangement as to points raised in the third and last paragraph(s) of New Zealand telegram 519. [4] It is assumed that the Commonwealth Government will telegraph their proposals with regard to these points to the United Kingdom and New Zealand Governments in due course.

We regret the delay on our part and hope that it may now be possible to give the proposed assurance to Sautot forthwith as de Gaulle is anxious that the recruits should proceed quickly.

1 Document 224.

2 Not found on Commonwealth Govt files. It was presumably in similar terms to an unnumbered cablegram received in Canberra from the N.Z. Govt on 20 December (on file AA:A816, 19/311/96). The N.Z. Govt agreed that Australia should assume primary responsibility for the defence of New Caledonia and Tahiti, but that New Zealand should remain responsible for assisting Tahiti in civilian matters; some difficulty was, however, foreseen in distinguishing between civil and military liabilities.

3 Leader of the Free French movement.

4 This referred to the question of the ultimate apportioning of costs incurred in assisting French colonies in the Pacific.

[AA:A3195, 1941, 1.0153]