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183 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 128 CANBERRA, 5 June 1944


The Australian Government has consistently paid close attention to
French affairs, fully sharing your own view that the restoration
of a strong and friendly France is a major interest of the British
Commonwealth. Further we are vitally interested in New Caledonia
and are on the closest terms of friendship with the Committee of
National Liberation.

2. With these objects before us we have watched the development of
current Allied policy towards the French with some uneasiness.

3. All the information which we have received from you, notably
the reports of Messrs. Macmillan [1] and Duff Cooper [2], confirms
the impression that the French Committee of National Liberation
has largely secured the support of those elements within France
itself which will have political significance after France's
liberation. We had accordingly assumed that in order to obtain
complete collaboration in the prosecution of the war and to secure
French goodwill in the post-war period, the Committee's
development into a French provisional Government would have Allied
encouragement and support.

4. We gather that present policy contemplates no more than the
appointment of the Committee's nominees as civil affairs officers
in liberated French areas under the authority of the Allied
Commander-in-Chief (D.669 of 3rd May [3]). We can see future
difficulties both in the choice by the French people of their
ultimate form of Government, and in the 'establishment of law and
order' by the Committee as envisaged by Mr. Hull in his statement
of 9th April [4] and approved by Mr. Eden in the House of Commons
on 3rd May unless the Committee has in the meantime been
recognised as the provisional government.

5. We also do not appreciate the implications of Mr. Churchill's
statement of 24th May [5] that the United Kingdom and United
States Governments are unable to recognise the Committee because
of doubt whether it represents the French nation. We fear that
comparisons are bound to be drawn between this policy and the
readiness with which recognition was accorded to certain emigre
governments which, as in the case of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia,
Poland and Belgium, are scarcely representative of their peoples
and, in some cases were formed from patriots in exile like the
Committee itself.

6. While we fully appreciate the necessity for parallel policy
with the United States in this matter the present attitude of
reserve towards the Committee seems inconsistent with the declared
policy towards France and we would welcome any information you may
be able to give us prior to and during the proposed conversations
with General de Gaulle. [6]

1 U.K. Minister Resident at Allied Force Headquarters,
Mediterranean Command.

2 U.K. Representative with the French Committee of National

3 In AA:A3195, 1944, 1.16863.

4 The text of Hull's broadcast is in U.S. Department of State
Bulletin, vol. 10, no. 251, 15 April 1944, pp. 335-42.

5 House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, fifth series, vol. 400,
col. 780.

6 De Gaulle, President of the French Committee of National
Liberation, was then in London, having accepted an invitation from
Churchill to discuss the administration of France behind the
advancing Anglo-American armies.

[AA:A989, 44/350/2/2, iii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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