London: New secret documents have revealed that the British military planned to secretly arm Vichy France during the Second World War behind Churchill’s back.
The British Army decided to take such a drastic step despite the fact they were fighting for enemy forces, according to these new documents.
The documents also reveal that the senior members of the Allied forces had organized a clandestine meeting with delegates from Vichy France, even as their opposing forces were fighting in Madagascar.
Not only were Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle unapprised of the meeting, they were specifically banned from being told under orders of the British Chief of Staff, who dreaded their reaction.
The file, with the title “Most Secret”, ruled “knowledge of this plan should be greatly restricted”
“It would be unnecessary to inform the Prime Minister or Foreign Office until discussions were about to start” it added.
Representatives of Vichy France came to London to meet with unnamed British officials, in a meeting described in a highly confidential Chief of Staff file signed by Field Marshall Alan Brooke.
The plan, which could have changed the course of world history, was intended to go into effect should the German Army be forced to retreat from France, a British newspaper reported.
Then, it suggested, the British army should arm eight divisions of Vichy troops to help them land at Bordeaux or La Rochelle, and create a “corridor” to move supplies into occupied territory.
The information will have significant nuances for the way historians understand the relationship between powers during World War II.
But in December 1941 while Churchill overtly condemned the men of Vichy France, who ‘lay prostrate at the feet’ of Hitler. His advisors were holding a secret meeting to discuss arming them.