107 Commonwealth Government to Attlee

Cablegram 20 [1] CANBERRA, 21 January 1943

SECRET

Your No. 9 of 14th January. [2] Vichy Government interests in Australia.

The position here is that on withdrawal of his exequatur the French Consul [3] on 7th December, 1942, asked his Government for instructions as to whom he should hand over his functions and authorities. So far, he has not received any reply.

As we see it, the real point in this matter is whether the Swiss Government still recognises the Vichy Government. We understand it does, and as Switzerland is most punctilious as regards its neutrality, we are inclined to the view that the Swiss Government would refuse to look after French interests in the loose informal way suggested in your telegram. In any case, with the closing of the Consulate-General, archives must be taken over by someone, and the same difficulties you contemplate in case of recognition of a constituted French Government on the side of the Allies would arise either in a formal or informal Swiss representation in the event of the Swiss Government not recognising such French Government.

In the circumstances, we desire the Swiss Government to be informed that we have no objection to their safeguarding French (other than Fighting French) interests in Australia.

1 Repeated to the N.Z. Prime Minister as no. 16.

2 Document 103. 3 C. E. D. Lancial.

[AA:A1608, D33/1/5]