He also said that until Mr Macron received a letter on Wednesday morning from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison telling him that the French submarine deal was canceled, Australia had given no indication that she would withdraw from the agreement.
Australia had asked in June if France thought its attack class submarines still lived up to the threats they might face, and accepted French assurances that they were, he said. -he declares. U.S. officials have suggested Australia made it clear to France as early as June that the deal was dead.
US officials admitted to first briefing the French on Wednesday morning, hours before Mr. Biden’s announcement of the deal. They also said senior US officials tried unsuccessfully to schedule meetings with their French counterparts before news of the deal leaked to the Australian and US press – a mirror image of the French claim.
Faced with a disastrous imbroglio, the two camps tried to blame each other. It was clear, however, that France had been taken aback by friends on an issue of critical strategic and economic importance.
In a briefing with reporters Friday before the French government’s announcement of the recall, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, downplayed the damage to relations between the two countries.
“As the president said, we are cooperating closely with France on common priorities both in the Indo-Pacific region and we will continue to do so here in the Security Council,” she said. “Good friends have disagreements, but that’s the nature of friendship and it’s because you’re friends, you can have disagreements and keep working on those areas of cooperation.”
She added: “We don’t see these tensions changing the nature of our friendship.”
In Paris, however, there was no sign of words like “cooperation” and no indication that France was prepared to declare anything remotely resembling business as usual.