89 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London

Cablegram unnumbered 31 August 1940,

SECRET

Your No. 744. [1]

Position of some delicacy reached in New Caledonia. Conseil General representing strong popular opinion in favour continuing war passed resolution August 28th demanding departure of Governor.

[2] Governor subsequently indicated Vichy his intention to leave colony. Ballard [3] considers general aim of popular movement is to remain French but to have temporary autonomy to enable them participate fully with British Empire.

We have been anxious that popular movement should not result in any request for Australian intervention on account of undesirable consequences which such contingency might have in way of pretext for Japanese action and have instructed Ballard to act accordingly.

Ballard has been informed that best solution would appear to be local administration owing nominal allegiance to Vichy but sympathetically inclined to wishes of local populace in regard to continuation of war effort. In view however possibilities suggested in your 744 realise it might become necessary to reconsider this aim.

MENZIES

1 Dispatched 28 August. It referred to the possible extension of Free French influence in Africa See file AA:M100, August 1940 2 Georges Pelicier.

3 Official Representative in New Caledonia.

[AA:A981, NEW CALEDONIA 1, iii]