France became skeptical of Australia's commitment to a $ 40 billion submarine order in June, and President Emmanuel Macron was briefed only by Canberra on the collapse of the agreement, written hours before it was announced. an official of the French presidency.
According to him, there was no hint of cancellation of the contract, when the French president met with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Paris in mid-June, shortly after the G7 leaders' meeting in Britain.
"We have been hearing voices from Australia about concerns over the execution of the contract since June," Elize's official told Reuters today.
Australia announced last week that it would cancel an order for conventional submarines from France to acquire at least eight US and British-built nuclear-powered submarines after concluding a security agreement with those countries under the name AUKUS.
Canberra's move angered Paris, sparking an unprecedented diplomatic crisis that analysts say could permanently damage US alliances with France and Europe.
France discussed the submarine deal with its allies at the G7 summit, the official said. Australia is not a member of the G7, but was invited by Britain.
On June 15, when Macron received Morrison for dinner, Morrison outlined Australia's concerns, but gave no indication that his country was considering canceling the contract, the French official said.
"Morrison did not say anything to suggest this and they agreed to continue working together. "The president later wrote an extensive letter to Morrison in response to his concerns," the official said.
For months, Australia has had issues with the delivery date and cost of the project, but it is unclear what concerns Morrison presented to Macron.
A second Elysee official said Canberra had not once mentioned that it was considering an alternative to the agreement with France.
France sought answers from the United States but received none, the first official said.
Morrison informed Macron in writing that the agreement had been canceled, before the official announcement.