Chungking

Note: The political position taken by the Provisional Government of the French Republic regarding Indochina is plain. A few sentences will be sufficient to make it clear.

First, France cannot admit any discussion about the principle of her establishment in Indochina. Her presence founded on agreements consistent with international law and based on the immense task carried out by her for the sake of the Indochinese population has never been disputed by any Power. The occupation of Indochina by the Japanese has not changed anything in that state of affairs. This occupation is nothing but a war incident similar to the invasion by the Japanese forces of Malaya, of the Netherlands East Indies and Burma. The activity of the underground movement, the formation of the expeditionary forces that we are ready to send to the Far East, reveal the energy with which France intends to take part in the liberation of those of her territories that have been momentarily torn away from her by the enemy.

This being clear, the French Government is prepared to consider with her allies all the measures that may be taken to insure security and peace for the future in the Pacific area; with respect to these measures she intends to play her part to which the importance of her interests in the Far East entitle her.

Furthermore, the French Government has already decided at the Brazzaville conference the principles of the policy she means to follow in her overseas possessions. Accordingly she will determine together with the populations concerned the status of Indochina on a basis that will secure for the Union a satisfactory autonomy within the frame of the French Empire. Besides, Indochina will be granted an economic regime that will enable her to profit widely by the advantages of international competition. These decisions, having no international character, come solely within the competence of the French Government. Thoroughly aware of the importance of the principles at stake in the present war, France will not shrink from her responsibilities.

For the time being, however, France’s concerns in the Far East are mainly military. As early as June 1943, the French Committee of National Liberation made it known to its allies that it considered that area as one where it would be extremely desirable for all the interested parties to establish thorough military collaboration. On the 4th of October 1943, it decided to form an expeditionary force that would take part in western Pacific operations and in the liberation of Indochina. At the same time the French Government established in Indochina a network of connections with the French and Indochinese underground. By this action, the efficacy of which has been proved by the role of the French Forces of the Interior in France, it will support the assault of the forces attacking from without and help them in their task in a way that can be decisive.

The French Government has informed Washington and London of all the measures it has taken in that respect. It has repeatedly asked that the expeditionary forces should be sent to the area and used to the best advantage; but the answer was that the decision belonged to President Roosevelt and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. They have not yet responded. Nevertheless, the French Government is prepared to have its expeditionary forces used in the American as well as in the British theatre of operations. Considering therefore the part France is entitled to play and ready to assume in the military operations in the Pacific, it would be useful that she be admitted to the Pacific War Council and particularly to the Sub-Committee responsible for the operations involving French Indochina.