22 MAY 1941, Page 2

Vichy and Morocco

It is certainly true that public opinion in occupied France is strongly pro-British, but it would be a dangerous illusion to expect any effective opposition to the Germans or to the policy of the Vichy Government. That Government is definitely hos- tile to this country, not merely because it is compelled to be so by the Germans but because it desires a rapid German vic- tory. Marshal Petain is too tired a man to make the slightest difference. Admiral Darlan and his associates are hoping for the collapse and. the disintegration of the British Empire, for in that event, so they believe, the French Empire will remain intact. That it will remain equally intact if Germany is beaten does not, apparently, occur to them. 'In any case, they do not believe that Germany will be beaten. Pro-British sentiment exists among French officers in Syria and in Equatorial and Northern Africa. But it is unable to rally. There is in some quarters a strong and considerable prejudice against General de Gaulle and his movement, many Frenchmen who ardently desire a British victory refusing to support him. The infiltra- tion of German agents into Morocco, both Spanish and French, continues. The Germans are methodically preparing the ground for a movement through the Moroccos and through Spain that will, if it is successful, close the Straits. The Spanish Government, desirous though it is to preserve neu- trality, can do nothing effective to stop the German preparations and could hardly resist German invasion. The Vichy Govern- ment could do much more but will not.