369 Department of External Affairs to

Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States

Cablegram 430 27 March 1941

For your information Tremoulet, ex-French Consul General, left Australia on 7th March for United States and Censorship discloses that French Ambassador at Washington [1] is being instructed to lodge a formal protest with you regarding certain events. [2] On Saturday, 22nd February, Tremoulet was arrested and taken to internment camp. Following Monday protest lodged with Minister for External Affairs [3] who obtained Tremoulet's release same day.

Consul in Melbourne [4] protested that action of Commonwealth authorities in arresting Tremoulet was violation of principle of diplomatic and consular immunity and asked for apologies and reparation pointing out that his Government could not fail to take strong view of case, which was an offence to France and would lead to unfavourable influence on future relations between France and Australia. We replied that following on withdrawal of Tremoulet's Exequatur latter could not be regarded as having any official status in relation to Commonwealth Government. Secondly we pointed out that his representation was not diplomatic but consular and concessions and privileges granted to Consuls are on basis of reciprocity and not founded on well established principles which apply in diplomatic sphere. As regards actual facts of case, we stated that action was fully justified in the broad national interest irrespective of other grounds. Continued presence of Tremoulet was causing embarrassment and resulting in dissension in community at a time when unity was necessary. Grave doubts having arisen as to whether Tremoulet intended to leave Australia, it was decided he should be detained and upon satisfactory assurances being received that he would leave by next boat Commonwealth ordered Ws release.

For your own confidential information action taken against Tremoulet was taken by Military authorities without reference to or knowledge of this Department and precise reasons are still unknown to us.

Further protest was received from French Consul that when Tremoulet left he was followed up the gangway by member of Military Police and civil policemen both in uniform. Reply has not yet been sent to this protest which has been referred to Military authorities for their advice.

1 Gaston Henri-Haye.

2 The formal protest, which was lodged on 1 April, insisted that until a satisfactory explanation of Tremoulet's treatment was received the French Govt would be unable to nominate a new Consul- General at Sydney. See file AA:A981, Consuls 127, ii.

3 Sir Frederick Stewart.

4 Charles Lancial.

[AA:A981, CONSULS 127, ii]