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Letter from Anthony Eden to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Foreign Office.—A settlement of the dispute between de Gaulle and Muselier is in sight (see 1/246). Most of the naval officers who absented themselves from the Free French Naval Headquarters have now returned to duty.



Foreign Office, S.W.1
30th March, 1942.


My dear Pethick-Lawrence,

Thank you for your letter of the 20th March. I am sorry not to have replied sooner. I have been waiting in the hope of being able to tell you that we had succeeded in reaching a settlement of the de Gaulle–Muselier dispute. This now seems to be in sight. It has been an exceedingly difficult and delicate negotiation, since both parties put themselves in the wrong, and even Admiral Muselier’s friends would admit that he behaved very foolishly.

I understand that the great majority of the Naval officers who absented themselves from Free French Naval Headquarters have now returned to duty. The great thing is to avoid a break-up of the Free French Movement and to restore harmony as quickly as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Anthony Eden

Carbon copy of a letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Anthony Eden

Gives an account of a further interview with his French friends on the dispute between the General (de Gaulle) and the Admiral (Muselier).



20th. March, 1942.

Dear Eden,

I have had this afternoon a further interview with the French friends who called upon me before. They reported to me what I have no doubt is already within your knowledge, that the General has publicly dismissed the Admiral and that a great many naval officers (they said more than 50%) have resigned their commissions and that the General now threatens to punish them—in what way they do not know.

I asked our friends what they suggested and they said that they would like to see each of the French Services standing on its own feet but related directly to the corresponding British Service, and that the General should be placed in an honorific position nominally above them all but without disciplinary powers.

I passed on to them what you suggested I should say to them, but they represented to me a slightly different version of the facts. I made it clear to them that my main specialisation was in finance but that I would pass on to you what they had said to me.

I shall be in the House next week during its sittings, but I do not think there is anything I have to add to what I have put in this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Letter from Barbara Drake to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

Labour Research Department, 9 Old Court Mansions, Kensington, W.—Is glad he can come to the meeting of the women’s committee. Asks him to look at the rough draft of a report on women in trade unions.



Labour Research Department {1} 9 Old Court Mansions, Kensington W.
May 4

Dear Mr Pethick Lawrence,

I am hoping so much that you will be able to attend the meeting of our women’s committee on Tuesday June 1st. It would be a great help to have you.

The rough draft of our report on women in trade unions {2} is now practically complete & lying for inspection at 34 Eccleston Square.

I should be grateful if you could find time to look at it. & let me have any criticisms before the meeting.

Unfortunately, for financial reasons, we have only one typed copy.

Yrs sincerely
Barbara Drake


{1} These three words were added above the printed address by hand and underlined.

{2} Barbara Drake, Women in Trade Unions (Labour Research Department, 1920).

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