3. Miss Ward
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make a statement on the negotiations between Washington, the French National 1711 Committee and ourselves with regard to the civil administration of liberated France.
§ 9. Mr. Martin
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the negotiations with the French Committee of National Liberation and the communications which have passed with the Government of the U.S.A. on that subject.
§ Mr. Eden
As I explained to the House last week, the results of the discussion on civil affairs in liberated France and other connected questions, which have taken place in London between officials of His Majesty's Government and the French Committee of National Liberation, have been under examination. I am now able to state that His Majesty's Government have endorsed the outcome of those discussions. We have good hopes, that on this basis, we shall shortly be able to announce that formal agreements have been concluded between His Majesty's Government, the United States Government and the French Committee of National Liberation. We had thought it desirable, however, to make no statement of our position upon these matters until after General de Gaulle's visit to Washington.
The House will now have observed from President Roosevelt's statement to his Press conference yesterday—of which I have so far only seen Press reports—that theUnited States of America has decided to recognise the French Committee of National Liberation as the de facto authority for the government of the liberated area of France pending electionsand that the United States Government were prepared to use as a basis the draft agreements arrived at in London between representatives of His Majesty's Government and the French Committee. His Majesty's Government naturally welcome this decision of the United States Government, all the more so since the Anglo-French discussions which recently took place in London, following on General de Gaulle's visit to this country, were conducted on the basis that the French Committee would in fact exercise governmental authority in France as that country's liberation proceeds.
1712 The House will welcome this progress in Allied relations and will note that its own forbearance in not pressing for a Debate is now seen to have been a by no means unhelpful contribution to the satisfactory developments which I have much pleasure in reporting to-day.
In view of the fact that the President of the United States has already made a statement to a Press conference, may I ask when is it proposed to let the House of Commons know the basis on which these agreements have been reached?
§ Mr. Eden
I do not think that the President of the United States has told anybody what was in the documents. There are a number of documents governing civil affairs, but we have not finally reached agreement about them. We have approved them and I understand that the French Committee of National Liberation have also approved them, and, as soon as they are finally approved, they will be signed and be made available to Parliament.
§ Mr. Vernon Bartlett
At any rate, on this occasion my right hon. Friend's Department deserves a considerable pat on the back.
§ Mr. Martin
While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for the very satisfactory statement, may I ask whether he can now say how soon he expects the details of this arrangement to be published?
§ Mr. Quintin Hogg
Does not the very satisfactory nature of this reply illustrate the wisdom of His Majesty's Government and the House of Commons in refusing a Debate early this week?
May I ask my right hon. Friend whether there will be a joint declaration on the part of the United States, the French Committee of Liberation and ourselves of the basis on which agreement has been reached?
§ Mr. Eden
I imagine that we shall probably follow the same practice as with the other Allied Governments when agreement is finally reached. If so, it will be signed by me and the Foreign Secretary of the other Government concerned, and by General Eisenhower for the United States. But it is for the United States to decide how they will proceed.