85 Mr B. C. Ballard, Official Representative in New Caledonia, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 5 NOUMEA, 30 August 1940, 8 a.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your telegram priority 28th August. [1]

Further to my telegrams 2 and 3 of 28th August. [2] Popular movement undoubtedly strong and opposed to Governor [3] whom they suspect of playing double game and of having brought sloop here to intimidate them. This latter precipitated crisis.

Merely economic collaboration with Australia would seem to satisfy the Governor but that is regarded as unworthy and insufficient by most of the population. The Governor says the people do not know what making war means. General aim of move seems to be to remain French but to have temporary autonomy to enable them to participate fully with the British Empire. After victory they would formally rejoin the French constitutional organisation.

Movement has sub-branches which results in some confusion of detail.

Presumably Governor awaiting reply to his radio before announcing decision concerning resignation.

Rumours are being spread, I believe officially, that Australia desires to annex New Caledonia to the Commonwealth of Australia.

BALLARD

1 See cablegram 4 on file AA:A981, New Caledonia 37. It requested an urgent report on the Situation in New Caledonia.

2 See Document 83, note 1.

3 Georges Palicier.

[AA:A981, NEW CALEDONIA 37]