Jilted France Accuses Australia of ‘Treason’, Calls Britain a U.S. ‘Vassal’


The French government is seething over Australia’s decision to drop a troubled multi-billion French submarine deal in favour of collaboration with Britain and America, describing it as “treason”.

“Our British friends explained to us that they were leaving the EU to create Global Britain. As you can see, it is a return to the American fold and accepting a form of vassal status,” France’s minister for Europe, Clément Beaune, seethed in comments to state broadcaster Public Sénat reported by The Times — as if Britain being an EU member and the French getting the submarine contract would have meant the British were more sovereign, somehow.

He harped on the same theme in comments to France 24, jeering that “Global Britain seems to be more about [being] a junior partner of the U.S. than working with different allies.”

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was perhaps even more undiplomatic, accusing Britain of “permanent opportunism” and being the “fifth wheel on the carriage” with respect to the Australia deal, while another government source said the British were now sitting in the “American lap”.

Britain’s new Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, meanwhile, has said the so-called Aukus (Australia-United Kingdom-United States) pact could “create hundreds of new and high-skilled jobs, from the shipyards of Govan to the factories of Tyneside.”

The French government has not recalled its ambassador to Britain as it has done with its representatives in Australia and the United States, however, with the former being lambasted in much stronger terms than its mother country.

Recalled ambassador Jean-Pierre Thébault said that France had had “very reliable reports” that “the crime was prepared for 18 months,” describing the decision to drop the French submarine deal for an Anglosphere one in florid terms.

“If the reports that were published … on the treason in the making and the intentional double language, is true, then it is a major breach of confidence and a very bad signal,” he added melodramatically.

Australia, for its part, insists that the French were aware of their “deep and grave concerns” over the cancelled French contract, which was dogged by delays and cost overruns.

“The capability that the [French-built] Attack class submarines were going to provide was not what Australia needed to protect our sovereign interests,” said Australian prime minister Scott Morrison on Sunday.

“They would have had every reason to know that we have deep and grave concerns that the capability being delivered by the Attack class submarine was not going to meet our strategic interests and we have made very clear that we would be making a decision based on our strategic national interest,” he added.

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