443 Mr J. McEwen, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States

Cablegram [83] [1] 26 June 1940,

SECRET

Question of New Caledonia discussed by Cabinet yesterday and again today [2] in light of resolution passed by Council of New Caledonia that support would be given to National Committee in London. Copy of this and resolution passed in Sydney by meeting of French nationals have been sent to the United Kingdom Government.

In view of direct American interest in the establishment of landing ground at Noumea on trans-Pacific air route to New Zealand and other factors such as proximity to Samoa, it occurs to us that United States Government might be prepared to make a public declaration that maintenance of status quo in respect to New Caledonia and other French islands in the Pacific must be respected.

In any case, short of public declaration, it would be useful if you could obtain some expression of Administration views with regard to the position of New Caledonia as have received report that New Caledonia is requesting protection of Australia but our attitude at present is one of strict reserve. [3]

MINISTER EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

1 The number has been taken from the Washington file copy on AA:

A3300, 16.

2 See Document 435.

3 Casey communicated the contents of this cablegram to Sumner Welles, U.S. Under-Secretary of State, on 27 June 1940 (see note on file cited in footnote 1). On 9 July he reported that 'Welles said that it would embarrass the Administration to have to give reply at present regarding New Caledonia' (see Casey's cablegram 149 on file AA: A981, Far East 31, ii).

[AA: A981, NEW CALEDONIA 1, iii]