No. 319  NAI DFA Paris Embassy 18/5

Clear telegram from the Department of External Affairs to Seán Murphy (Vichy)
(No. 635)

DUBLIN, 13 September 19431

French Minister here has for some time been corresponding with French Committee in North Africa.2 We gather Vichy authorities have been aware of this but have taken no action. French Minister is now issuing statement here stating he is accepting instructions from French Committee: statement consists simply of that and does not repudiate or refer to Vichy in any way. We feel by far the best solution is to maintain position which has existed for last few months. We are naturally anxious, whilst maintaining attitude proper to a neutral country, to avoid being put in the position of having to side with one set of Frenchmen against another. Moreover if Vichy dismisses Laforcade they will find it difficult if not impossible to replace him owing to Allied control of communications. That would mean that French Committee would have representative here even though he would have no official status and Vichy would have none. Our view is therefore that in their own interest Vichy should take no action against Laforcade merely because of present statement which is not expressly aimed against them; urge this view on Foreign Office and telegraph attitude.

1 This telegram was retransmitted to Murphy on 17 September and not decoded until 20 September.

2 On 15 September Murphy informed Dublin that a rumour was circulating in Vichy that the French Minister in Dublin and the Legation staff had transferred their allegiance to the French National Committee (NAI DFA Paris Embassy P48/2, telegram 257). See also Nos 248, 249, 252 and 253.

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