740.0011 European War 1939/4756: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Murphy) to the Secretary of State

100. The Foreign Office has now issued an official communiqué on the subject of Franco-British relations to the following effect:

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After the British attack at Mers-el-Kebir, the French Government decided to break diplomatic relations with Great Britain and the French Chargé at London was instructed on July 4 to De Castellane was able to transmit the message to Lord Halifax26 only on July 8 and the latter then suggested that normal relations between the two countries be reestablished.

The French Government replied immediately that the request of the British Government could eventually be taken into consideration only if it fulfilled certain conditions, that is, restitution of the French shipping seized or sequestered by Britain as well as full reparation for the victims of the British aggression and for the damage caused by it.

These conditions were not published by the French Government but the frequent references in British broadcasts to negotiations on this subject without specifying the terms compel the French Government publicly to state its position.

According to the communiqué information from London indicates that the British Government is not disposed to release French shipping considered essential by the French Government. There can be no bargaining on this point because the French Government is bound to respect its obligations under the armistice agreement.

The communiqué terminates with the statement that the arrangements made by the French Chargé in London will permit him to depart from England on July 20th.

  1. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.