274 Commonwealth Government to Attlee

Cablegram 231 CANBERRA, 7 September 1943

My telegram 185. [1] Paragraph 2.

Recognition of French Committee of National Liberation.

We now think that it will be more suitable if recognition of Committee by His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia is conveyed by Resident Minister at Algiers. We should, appreciate it, therefore, if Resident Minister would be good enough to convey to the Committee the following statement on behalf of the Commonwealth Government:

'. . . His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia recognises the French Committee of National Liberation as administering those French overseas territories which acknowledge its authority. The Commonwealth Government also recognises the Committee as the body qualified to conduct French effort in the war within the framework of inter-allied co-operation. It takes note with sympathy of the desire of the Committee to be regarded as the body qualified to ensure the administration and defence of all French interests. It is the intention of the Commonwealth Government to give effect to this request as far as possible while reserving the right to consider in consultation with the Committee the practical application of this principle in particular cases as they arise. During the war military needs are paramount and all controls necessary for operational purposes are, as a matter of military necessity, reserved to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies in any theatre of operations. His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia welcomes the Committee's expressed determination to continue the struggle in close co-operation with all the Allies until French and Allied Territories are completely liberated and until victory is complete over all enemy powers . . .'

We are informing the delegate in Australia of Fighting France [2] that recognition is being communicated through Mr. MacMillan. [3]

1 Document 248.

2 Andre Brenac.

3 Despite this communication the Commonwealth Govt on 26 November found it necessary to complain to the U.K. Govt that the French Committee of National Liberation in Algiers was showing a 'growing tendency ... to communicate on official matters with M. Lancial, former Vichy Consul in Sydney, whose exequatur was withdrawn and who is now merely a private individual awaiting repatriation to North Africa'. See cablegram 301 (FA:A3196, 1943, 0.32596).

On 3 December the Commonwealth Govt asked the U.K. Govt to suggest informally to the French Committee of National Liberation that there be an 'exchange of official representatives of high diplomatic rank with the Australian Government'. See cablegram 310 on file AA:A989, 43/350/5/5/1.

[FA:A3196, 1943, 0.24565]