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36 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom

Cablegram 4339 CANBERRA, [9 August 1941] [1]


Reference your 615 -Free French. [2] We are concerned at decision
that d'Argenlieu is to be appointed as High Commissioner for the
Western Pacific with headquarters at Noumea.

Ballard reports that administration in New Caledonia is running
satisfactorily and that political position, unlike Tahiti, is now
quite stable. [3] Sautot [4] is popular and present appointment
will be blow to his prestige and to New Caledonian pride.

Ballard suspects that intriguing of Bayardelle [5] and reports of
Brunot [6] are at back of decision. Our information as to
activities of Brunet, especially in Tahiti, all suggest[s] he is
most disturbing factor and that sooner he is recalled the better.

As you may be aware, he has re-instated Edmonds [7] and Foreign
Office has ordered Archer [8] now in Canberra to proceed to Tahiti
as a career consul.

Our aim, apart from maintaining the economic position, has been to
promote political stability in French Oceania and in our view the
appointment of high officials from outside who are not conversant
with local conditions, and with the characteristics of a people
who differ greatly from those in metropolitan France and other
parts of French Colonial Empire, does not assist us in this

Glad if you would bring above views to the notice of United
Kingdom Government and to Free French Headquarters.


1 Inserted from the copy on file AA : A1608, D41/1/9,iv. The
cablegram was repeated to B. C. Ballard, Offical Representative in
New Caledonia, as no. 414 on 10 August.

2 Dispatched 6 August. On the file cited in note 1.

3 See cablegram 357 of 6 August on file AA : A816, 19/301/842.

4 Free French Governor of New Caledonia.

5 Secretary-General of the Free French administration in New
Caledonia until March 1941, when he left to join the staff of
General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French movement in

6 In charge of the Free French administration on Tahiti.

7 U.K. Consul in Papcete until May 1941 when he was deposed by a
group of British subjects for his allegedly pro-Vichy sympathies.

8 U.K. Consul in Tamsui (Taipei) until the expulsion of U.K.

consular staff from Formosa early in 1941. He visited Portuguese
Timor in March April 1941, proceeded to Australia on leave and
took up duty in Papeete on 20 September 1941
9 Inserted from the London copy on file AA : A2937, Free France.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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