Documents and Readings in the History of Europe Since 1918

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264.

Military Agreement Between Great Britain and the Free French Force, August 7, 1940

14

Dear General de Gaulle,

You were good enough to give me your ideas as to the organization, employment and conditions of service of the French volunteer force now being assembled under your command, in your capacity, in which you are recognized by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, of leader of all Free Frenchmen, wherever they may be, who rally to you in support of the Allied Cause.

I now send you a memorandum which, if you concur, will be agreed between us as governing the organization, employment and conditions of service of your force.

I would take this opportunity of stating that it is the determination of His Majesty’s Government, when victory has been gained by the Allied arms, to secure the full restoration of the independence and greatness of France.

Yours sincerely, WINSTON S. CHURCHILL.

GENERAL C. DE GAULLE, &c., &c., &c.

MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT

I.

(1) General de Gaulle is engaged in raising a French force composed of volunteers. This force, which includes naval, land and air units and scientific and technical personnel, will be organized and employed against the common enemies.

(2) This force will never be required to take up arms against France.

II.

(1) This force will, as far as possible, retain the character of a French force in respect of personnel, particularly as regards discipline, language, promotion and duties.

(2) So far as may be necessary for their equipment, this force will have priority of allocation as regards property in and the use of material (particularly weapons, aircraft, vehicles, ammunition, machinery and supplies) which has already been brought by French armed forces from any quarter, or which may so be brought in the future by such French forces, into territory under the authority of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom or into territory where the British High Command exercises authority. In the case of French forces, the command of which has been delegated by agreement between General de Gaulle and the British High Command, no transfer, exchange, or reallocation of equipment, property and material in possession of these forces will be made by order of General de Gaulle without prior consultation and agreement with the British High Command.

(3) His Majesty’s Government will, as soon as practicable, supply the French force with the additional equipment which may be essential to equip its units on a scale equivalent to that of British units of the same type.

(4) Naval vessels from the French Fleet will be allocated as follows:

(a) The French force will commission and operate as many vessels as it is able to man.

(b) The allocation of the vessels to be commissioned and operated by the French force under (a) will be a matter for agreement from time to time between General de Gaulle and the British Admiralty.

(c) Vessels not allocated under (b) to the French force will be available for commissioning and operating under the direction of the British Admiralty.

(d) Of the vessels mentioned under (c) some may be operated under direct British control and some may be operated by other allied naval forces.

(e) Vessels operated under British control will when possible include in their complement a proportion of French officers and men.

(f) All vessels concerned will remain French property.

(5) The possible use of French merchant ships and of their crews, in so far as this is for the purpose of military operations by General de Gaulle’s force, will be the subject of arrangements between General de Gaulle and the British Departments concerned. Regular contact will be maintained between the Ministry of Shipping and General de Gaulle as regards the use of the rest of the ships and the employment of the merchant seamen.

(6) General de Gaulle, who is in supreme command of the French force, hereby declares that he accepts the general direction of the British High Command. When necessary he will delegate, in agreement with the British High Command, the immediate command of any part of his force to one or more British officers of appropriate rank, subject to what is stated at the end of Article I above.

III.

The status of French volunteers will be established in the following manner:

(1) Volunteers will enroll for the duration of the war for the purpose of fighting against the common enemies.

(2) They will receive pay on a basis to be settled separately by agreement between General de Gaulle and the Departments concerned. The period of time during which such rates will apply will be a matter for settlement between General de Gaulle and His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom.

(3) The volunteers and their dependents will be granted pensions and other benefits in respect of the disablement or death of the volunteers on a basis to be settled by separate agreement between General de Gaulle and the Departments concerned.

(4) General de Gaulle will be entitled to form a civil establishment containing the administrative services required for the organization of his force, the numbers and emoluments of the members of this establishment being settled in consultation with the British Treasury.

(5) The General will also be entitled to recruit technical and scientific staff for war work. The numbers, manner of remuneration, and method of employment of this staff will be settled in consultation with the Departments of His Majesty’s Government concerned.

(6) His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom will use their best endeavors, at the time of the conclusion of peace, to help the French volunteers to regain any rights, including national status, of which they may have been deprived as a result of their participation in the struggle against the common enemies. His Majesty’s Government are willing to afford special facilities to such volunteers to acquire British nationality, and will seek any necessary powers.

IV.

(1) Any expenditure incurred for the purpose of the constitution and maintenance of the French force under the provisions of this agreement will be met in the first instance by the appropriate Departments of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, which will be entitled to exercise any necessary examination and audit.

(2) The sums required will be regarded as advances and specially recorded; all questions relating to the ultimate settlement of these advances, including any credits which may be set off by agreement, will be a matter for subsequent arrangement.

V.

This agreement shall be regarded as having come into force on the 1st July, 1940.

General de Gaulle to Mr. Winston Churchill 4 Carlton Gardens, London, S. W. 1, August 7, 1940.

My Dear Prime Minister,

You have been good enough to send me a memorandum dealing with the organization, employment and conditions of service of the force of French volunteers which is at present being constituted under my command.

In the capacity in which I have been recognized by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom as leader of all Free Frenchmen, wherever they may be, who rally to me in support of the Allied cause, I hereby inform you that I accept this memorandum. It will be considered as constituting an agreement concluded between us in regard to these questions.

I am glad that on this occasion His Majesty’s Government have taken an opportunity to state that they are determined, when victory has been gained by the Allied arms, to secure the full restoration of the independence and greatness of France.

For my part, I confirm to you that the French force now in process of constitution is intended to take part in operations against the common enemies (Germany, Italy or any other hostile foreign Power), including the defense of French territories and territories under French mandate, and the defense of British territories and communications, and territories under British mandate.

Yours sincerely, C. DE GAULLE

THE RT. HON. WINSTON S. CHURCHILL, C.H., M.P., &c., &c., &c.

14 Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers, Exchange of Letters between the Prime Minister and General de Gaulle Concerning the Organization, Employment and Conditions of Service of the French Volunteer Force. London, August 7, 1940. Presented by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to Parliament by Command of His Majesty, France No. 2 (1940), Cmd. 6220, His Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1940.

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Chicago: "Military Agreement Between Great Britain and the Free French Force, August 7, 1940," Documents and Readings in the History of Europe Since 1918 in Documents and Readings in the History of Europe Since 1918, ed. Walter Consuelo Langsam and James Michael Egan (Chicage: Lippincott, 1951), 885–889. Original Sources, accessed September 24, 2021, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YE5UH8KLFQIYSMT.

MLA: . "Military Agreement Between Great Britain and the Free French Force, August 7, 1940." Documents and Readings in the History of Europe Since 1918, in Documents and Readings in the History of Europe Since 1918, edited by Walter Consuelo Langsam and James Michael Egan, Chicage, Lippincott, 1951, pp. 885–889. Original Sources. 24 Sep. 2021. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YE5UH8KLFQIYSMT.

Harvard: , 'Military Agreement Between Great Britain and the Free French Force, August 7, 1940' in Documents and Readings in the History of Europe Since 1918. cited in 1951, Documents and Readings in the History of Europe Since 1918, ed. , Lippincott, Chicage, pp.885–889. Original Sources, retrieved 24 September 2021, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YE5UH8KLFQIYSMT.