Why the French are so furious at the Biden administration over a derailed submarine deal

French President Emmanuel Macron, second from left, and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, center, stand on the deck of the HMAS Waller, a Collins-class submarine operated by the Royal Australian Navy, at Garden Island in Sydney in May 2018. (Brendan Esposito/AFP/Getty Images)

PARIS ― France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for consultations Friday, underscoring simmering French anger over a secretly negotiated submarine technology deal between the United States, Australia and Britain.

In a statement, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the move came “at the request of President [Emmanuel] Macron” and reflects “the exceptional seriousness.” Le Drian had earlier compared the U.S. decision to something “Mr. Trump would do.”

The Biden administration’s move to share sensitive nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia, which was first announced Wednesday, effectively canceled an earlier agreement between Australia and France. Under that previous deal, Australia would have purchased 12 French diesel-powered submarines.

The French diplomatic response has been unusual in its public bluntness. In an interview, France’s ambassador to Australia accused his host country of having engaged in “lies and treason” for 18 months. A Friday night gala at the French Embassy in Washington that was supposed to commemorate France’s naval assistance to American forces during the Revolutionary War was abruptly canceled.

France recalls its ambassadors to the United States and Australia over submarine dispute