58 Sir Harry Luke, U.K. High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, to Lord Lloyd, U.K. Secretary of State for the Colonies

Repeated to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered SUVA, 9 August 1940, 12.25 p.m.

Received 9 August 1940

IMPORTANT SECRET

My telegram August 6th, No. 162, to Secretary of State. [1]

The following telegram has been received from the British Consul at Noumea [2]:-

'Further manifestation on August 2, at the Council, and afterwards Government House, in which the Colonial Secretary [3] and the Chief of Police [4] were assaulted in the street. The Council discussing despatch of telegram to General De Gaulle [5], to be sent direct. I will report as soon as possible. Since Sunday, the position has been calm. Subsequent to the Governor' [6] broadcast yesterday (Monday), no recrudescence of disorder expected.' The Consul has confirmed by wireless telephone that no telegram was sent by the General Council to De Gaulle on 2nd August, as reported by the Resident Commissioner of the New Hebrides [7], and that, up to 6th August, the question of such a telegram was only being discussed. Berlin Radio was heard on the morning of 6th August (Fiji time), announcing that Petain [7] had broadcast over the French radio, urging the people of New Caledonia to support Vichy Government.

In view of the pressure from France, I suggest that some definite action by General de Gaulle is advisable, such as sending a French war ship with French officials, to take control of the administration, and remove the adherents of the Petain Government.

Otherwise, the influence of the Petain Government may prove too strong.

1 This is believed to be the same cablegram which Luke dispatched to the Commonwealth Govt on 6 August. See unnumbered cablegram (1.6327) on file AA:A981, New Caledonia 1, iii.

2 W. A. Johnston.

3 Andre Bayardelle.

4 Paul Pourcher.

5 Leader of the Free French movement.

6 Georges Pelicier.

7 R. D. Blandy.

7 French Head of State.

[AA:A3 195, 1940, 1.6460]