117 Mr R. D. Blandy, U.K. Resident Commissioner in the New Hebrides, to Sir Harry Luke, U.K. High Commissioner for the Western Pacific

Repeated to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 184/unnumbered VILA, 10 September 1940, 11.10 p.m.

Received 11 September 1940


Have discussed the position again with Sautot [1] who is ready to take advantage of S.S. NORDEN and the support of H.M.A.S. ADELAIDE immediately he has been duly appointed by de Gaulle. [2]

He fears however, that unless de Gaulle supporters are cognizant in advance of the plan and have time to make the necessary preparations to ensure success of his disembarkation, his arrival unheralded might give rise to embarrassing circumstances. In any case the Commanding Officer of H.M.A.S. ADELAIDE [3] is not prepared to disembark him unless he is met by a boat sent by de Gaulle supporters as both H.M.A.S. ADELAIDE and S.S. NORDEN will proceed to within close proximity of the port without entering the inner harbour.

Sautot has therefore agreed to an operational plan prepared by the Commanding Officer of H.M.A.S. ADELAIDE which will include necessary co-operation by de Gaullists in disembarkation. To save time the plan has been communicated to Johns[t]on [4] through the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board for action only on further instructions.

1 French Resident Commissioner in the New Hebrides.

2 Leader of the Free French movement.

3 Captain H. A. Showers.

4 U.K. Consul at Noumea.

[AA:A981, NEW CALEDONIA 1, iii]