423 Hodgson to Makin

Dispatch 12 (extracts) PARIS, 1 December 1945

I have the honour to advise you that I presented my credentials to General de Gaulle [1] this morning.

[matter omitted]

4. ... General de Gaulle said that he was very happy to receive the diplomatic representative of Australia and that he hoped my stay in France would be both agreeable and useful to me. He asked me to accept his assurance that he and his government were always to be counted on to assist us in any way possible, and that they would be pleased to give us any help in their power. He ended with a few graceful personal remarks.

5. The General spoke only a few sentences in all and I replied equally briefly. I expressed my gratification at my appointment to Paris as the first Australian Minister. I went on to say that there were very considerable mutual interests between France and Australia and no points of difference. France and Australia had a long tradition of friendship, cemented by a common comradeship in arms during two great wars, and my objective was to maintain and extend, in a true spirit of co-operation, the happy relations which existed. I assured the General that he could count upon me to do everything in my power in turn to see that the cordial nature of our relations was if anything enhanced.

[matter omitted]

7. I found General de Gaulle a more impressive figure than I had expected from the various photographs I had seen and reports I had read, and I thought that his demeanour during the ceremony showed both assurance and consideration. By his own orders set speeches have been eliminated on these occasions and ordinary clothes are worn, in consonance with the spirit of austerity he is endeavouring to inculcate in France. Nevertheless, the combination of the picturesque Republican Guard, the military honours and informal friendliness left an impression of great dignity and propriety.

8. Our mission here is now officially in being, and I think it fitting to report that there is a gratifying degree of goodwill towards us on the part of the French government and of French officials. On the whole I feel that the Australian Legation is established under good auspices, which are already reflected in the happy relationship between our respective delegations to the Preparatory Commission.

1 French President.

[AA : A1066, IC45/64/3/1]