The French Ambassador (Bonnet) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 3

The Ambassador of France presents his compliments to His Excellency, the Acting Secretary of State and is charged with communicating the following to him:

Having learned that the units of the Japanese Navy are shortly to be divided among the Allies, the French Government has the honor to claim its right to receive a fair share.

As a result of military operations in the Far East resulting from Japanese aggression, France has suffered, from both bombing and scuttling, losses amounting to not less than nineteen thousand one hundred and twenty tons of naval vessels. The Colonial dispatch boat Admiral Charner, which was damaged by Japanese Aviation, was scuttled on May 9, 1945. The cruiser La Mothe Picquet was sunk by bombing on January 12. One submarine, four dispatch boats, six patrol boats, three gunboats, one dredger and one lighter have been lost. Four of these vessels were sunk in action; the twelve others were scuttled in March 1945.

The Saigon Navy Yard was two-thirds destroyed as a result of military operations. The stocks of raw materials and supplies which it contained were pillaged and scattered.

The French Government takes the further liberty of recalling the contribution made by its Fleet to the war against Japan. In fact, France devoted to it all the forces at her disposal. She detailed permanently to the Far East the most powerful of her surface vessels, the Richelieu, as well as a light cruiser and two dispatch boats. She engaged, after March 1945, in anti-Japanese guerrilla warfare, the crews of her flotillas in Indochina.

To compensate for the losses which she suffered in both her Fleet and her base equipment, France feels that she has a right to claim one surface vessel of large tonnage, preferably an airplane carrier, and [Page 472] four modern destroyers of from 2,100 to 2,300 tons. She requests in addition the replacement of her destroyed harbor equipment and the opportunity to use, from now on by agreement with the Commanders-in-Chief concerned, the Japanese naval matériel which is in Indochina.

These are the requests which the Ambassador of France is charged with transmitting to His Excellency the Acting Secretary of State. He has been instructed to point out that the French Government would not understand failure to grant to it, in the division of the Japanese Fleet, advantages analogous to those granted to the U.S.S.R, whose Far Eastern Fleet appears not to have suffered very great losses.64

Mr. Henri Bonnet is happy to avail himself [etc.].

  1. The French Embassy in its note No. 60 of January 22, 1946, added further details in regard to losses suffered by the French fleet in the war resulting from Japanese aggression (894.30/1–2246).