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French warn British on New Hebrides force

France has sent a strong protest to Britain over the arrival of a British military force in the New Hebrides, according to authoritative sources in the capital of this South Pacific island chain. A protest letter was delivered to British resident commissioner Andrew Stuart by his French counterpart, Jean-Jacques Robert, on the instructions of the French minister for external territories, Paul Dijoud, the sources said. New Hebrides is ruled jointly by the French and British.

Mr. Stuart said he was unable to discuss its contents, but sources said the letter warns that France will view any deployment of the British force outside the capital of Vila as a unilateral action and a breach of the 1974 Protocol, one of the main guidelines under which the two countries have ruled the islands for 74 years.

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