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

Cablegram 495 NOUMEA, 11 December 1941, 2 P.m.


Following for Prime Minister [1] from High Commissioner
d'Argenlieu. [2]

(Begins) MOST SECRET AND URGENT Telegram 185.

(1) I have the honour to inform your Excellency that since the
commencement of hostilities between the British Empire and Japan
Free France is also at war with Japan. All our resources will be
used for the purpose of defending our territories and
collaboration with our allies in the common fight for victory.

(2) Your Government must be fully aware how limited are our
military resources. [3] A large part of military material that the
Commonwealth agreed in last June to supply to New Caledonia
remains undelivered. Aerodromes here are now guarded by troop
detachments with only a few machine guns. Works in progress with
modifications requested by Americans in agreement with your Air
Board are proceeding without delay.

(3) I request your Government send as a matter of urgency adequate
number of reconnaissance aircraft and also fighters and bombers to
deal with any enemy attacks by sea or air, such aircraft to be
based in New Caledonia. In default of adequate air defence
aerodromes now under construction will, owing to lack of anti-
aircraft guns, offer enemy aviation opportunities for attack and
invasion. (Ends)


1 John Curtin.

2 The Commonwealth Govt was informed the same day that the Free
French National Committee had appointed d'Argenlieu as its
Delegate for the Pacific also, and placed all Free French civil
and military representatives in the Pacific and Far East under his
authority. See cablegram 810 of 10 December from the U.K.

Dominions Secretary, Lord Cranborne, on file AA:A981, New
Caledonia 20.

3 This statement was supplemented by a message from General
Charles de Gaulle, President of the Free French National
Committee, which emphasised that d'Argenlieu had substantial
forces available to defend Free French territory in the Pacific
and appealed to the Commonwealth Govt to equip them with modern
arms. See cablegram 126 of 13 December from S. M. Bruce, High
Commissioner in the United Kingdom, on file AA:A981, New Caledonia
5A, ii.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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