French Freedom Papers

De Gaulle to Mordant: 2/29/1944

Historical Context

At this time, Indochina is a French colony and has been under the control of Vichy since 1940. By this point in the war, the collapse of Vichy (and Germany) is all but assured, but Japan will likely take a bit longer. The Japanese have military control of French Indochina under a non-aggression pact with Vichy. However, the imminent collapse of Vichy presents the threat of a total Japanese takeover. In 1944, Japanese troops begin mobilizing to move into Indochina which they would eventually seize in March 1945.

Letter Sumary

In this letter to Mordant, de Gaulle discusses the complex situation of the French government in Indochina. He includes measures that can be taken by the Free French to ensure the liberation of Indochina from the Japanese and goes on to write that Free France is qualified and eager to play a key role in this liberation. Next, he goes into detail regarding militaristic strategies and potential contributions of the Free French. De Gaulle then gives Mordant approximations of troops and supplies as well as a timeline for when the resources he feels would be useful to the cause will be ready. Near the end of the letter, de Gaulle stresses the importance of cooperation among the troops and tells Mordant that he will be in charge of the organization and operation of the Resistance. To conclude, de Gaulle writes that continuing to fight for victory is essential and stresses again the importance of this mission to everyone in Indochina. 



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