485 Mr A. T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, to Lt Col W. R. Hodgson, Secretary of the Department of External Affairs

Cablegram ET6 LONDON, 8 May 1942, 12.20 a.m.

IMMEDIATE

From the Minister [1] to Hodgson.

New Caledonia. Your S.L. 8. [2] The essence of the problem seems to me not to take sides but to let the Free French settle their own differences and determine their own leadership. The United States has complete military authority but General Patch [3] should play up to d'Argenlieu's [4] vanity if Sautot [5] is to go.

I am quite unimpressed by what the citizens are said to desire.

The only thing that matters is that the de facto administration should be induced to work smoothly with Patch and the occupying forces.

(2) I should add that Mackenzie King [6] and the Canadian Government have the highest opinion of d'Argenlieu's ability. In particular, he has considerable influence over French Canadians and he was one of the heads of the Carmelite Order in France.

(3) If d'Argenlieu comes out on top diplomatic messages drafted by the Prime Minister [7] and myself [8] to d'Argenlieu at the time of the previous disputes should be studied with a view to repetition.

1 Dr H. V. Evatt.

2 Document 479.

3 Commanding officer of U.S. forces in New Caledonia.

4 Free French High Commissioner for the Pacific.

5 Free French Governor of New Caledonia until his enforced departure on 5 May.

6 Canadian Prime Minister.

7 John Curtin. See cablegram 14 of 14 January to B. C. Ballard, Official Representative in New Caledonia, on file AA:A981, New Caledonia 5A, ii.

8 See cablegram 558 of 10 December 1941 on the file cited in note 7.

[AA:A981, NEW CALEDONIA 1, ix]