45 Instructions drafted by Department of External Affairs for Mr B. C. Ballard, Official Representative in New Caledonia

n.d. [1]

1. To familiarise himself with all available departmental information concerning the existing relationships between the British Commonwealth and France with especial reference to relationships with the French Colonial Empire and particular reference to relationships between the Commonwealth of Australia and French possessions in the Pacific.

2. To make contact with persons in Australia who have commercial interests in French possessions in the Pacific, especially New Caledonia; in particular, to make contact with Major 0ughton [2] of [...] [3] for the purpose of discussing with him arrangements which have been entered into concerning the purchase of New Caledonian chrome, and also with persons connected with recent negotiations for the purchase by the Commonwealth of New Caledonian nickel.

3. To proceed to New Caledonia at a date to be determined as accredited representative of the Commonwealth Government and to establish contact with the New Caledonia administration with a view to keeping the Commonwealth Government fully informed on political and economic conditions in New Caledonia. This will involve regular secret reports as to the attitude of the Governor [4], the Advisory Council, public officials and the general population towards the Vichy Government on the one hand and towards General de Gaulle [5] and assistance to the Allied cause in continuing the war against Germany on the other. Every effort is to be made to ensure continuation in New Caledonia of the desire to work with the British Empire in general and the Commonwealth of Australia in particular for the defeat of Germany, but this is to be done by avoiding as far as possible any public activity which could be interpreted as political rather than commercial in character. General stress is to be laid publicly upon trading relationships between New Caledonia and Australia. It is desired to avoid any activity or statement which would make it appear that the Commonwealth wishes to interfere with the maintenance of the political status quo in New Caledonia;

otherwise an excuse may be given to Japan for interference in the maintenance of the political status quo of other areas in the Pacific or even in New Caledonia itself 4. To make reports to the Commonwealth Government upon all Japanese activities in New Caledonia.

5. To carry out such other functions as the Minister for External Affairs shall from time to time direct.

1 This draft is the only copy of Ballard's instructions to have been found. It was endorsed 'Seen by Minister' and was probably prepared in early August. Ballard was formally appointed on 8 August and left Australia on 16 August.

2 Representative of the Chrome Co.

3 A space was left at this point in the draft, probably for the insertion of Oughton's address.

4 Georges Pelicier.

5 Leader of the Free French movement.

[AA:A981, NEW CALEDONIA 36,i]