740.00119 European War 1939/394: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Kennedy) to the Secretary of State

1792. Personal for the Secretary. Article VIII of proposed Franco-German armistice agreement10 as telegraphed by Sir Ronald Campbell11 to the Foreign Office deals with the French Navy and is substantially as follows:

The French Fleet except a portion to be left free to safeguard French interests in the colonial empire is to be collected in ports to be specified in metropolitan France, demobilized and disarmed under German or Italian control. The German Government solemnly declares it has no intention of using for its own purpose during the war the French Fleet stationed in ports under German control except those units necessary for coast surveillance and minesweeping. The German Government declares, however, that it will have claims to make respecting the French Fleet at time of negotiation of final peace treaty. Except those ships allowed for colonial service, all naval units must be recalled to ports in France itself.

Following receipt of foregoing from Campbell, urgent instructions were sent to him to following effect:

French Government apparently helpless. Our only hope is Admiral Darlan. Proposed terms put fleet entirely at German command. No reliance possible on German promises. Campbell must insist to Admiral Darlan that if fleet cannot be surrendered to Great Britain or United States, it must be scuttled. Synopsis of other proposed agreements [Page 459] follow immediately. No official confirmation at Foreign Office of press report that agreement was signed at 6:50 p.m., but they think it probable.

  1. For text of the agreement of June 22, 1940, see Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, series D, vol. ix, document No. 523, p. 671.
  2. British Ambassador in France.