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

Cablegram 8 NOUMEA, 2, September 1940, 7.52 a.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

Vichy Government replaced Governor Pelicier by Colonel Denis, local military head, announced on Australian radio 30th August.

The new Governor's broadcast indicates loyalty to Vichy combined with safeguarding New Caledonia's economic interests arising from geographical position.

The High Commissioner for the Western Pacific [1] informed me that leading members of the Council saw him to explain their attitude and intentions. Their sentiments were entirely anti-Vichy and pro- British and in favour of continuing the war and their threat of resignation had already brought about the recall of Governor Pelicier. The appointment of Colonel Denis was equally unsatisfactory and in order to provide themselves with show of legality their idea at present was to ask Vichy to authorise fresh elections to publicly test pro-Ally and anti-Vichy attitude of overwhelming majority of the population.

I am since informed that resignation has been signed but not yet delivered, consequently no information about fresh elections.

The new Governor this afternoon told me he desired to continue policy of economic collaboration with Australia.

Please repeat to the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific.

BALLARD

1 Sir Harry Luke

[AA:A981, NEW CALEDONIA 37]