Hypolite Worms' London Mission – November 1939-July 1940
On 23 November 1939, Hypolite Worms was appointed Head of the French Delegation to the Permanent French-English Maritime Transport Executive Committee, based in London. In cooperation with the Ministry of Shipping, he negotiates the chartering of the neutral vessels needed to cover the country's import requirements. July 4, 1940, twelve days after the signing of the Franco-German armistice (June 22, 1940) and the day after the Royal Navy attacked the French warships stationed in the harbor of Mers el-Kebir (3 July), he signed an agreement by which he transferred to England the two million tons of neutral ships whose contracts he had signed on behalf of France.
Returned to France after a journey of several days, he reported his mission to the Secretary of State for the Navy, August 1, 1940, in Vichy. The work of the French delegation between June 10 and July 17, 1940 seems to have left no trace in the archives of the Ministry of Marine. It is this gap that the present study attempts to fill by presenting and placing in context the documents kept by Maison Worms.