Free France was established after France fell to Germany in 1940. Its de facto leader was Charles de Gaulle, although not every French force who battled the Axis was directly under his command, or necessarily recognized him. With the liberation of France in 1944, de Gaulle's Free France was recognized as the new French government.
By 1947, the United States had realized that its policy of non-interference in World War II had been a grave mistake and was backing the colonies of Free France. Although furnished with American supplies and equipment, the war against the German backed Vichy French in Africa was not going well.
In the following decades, Free France became neutral territory for all sides. While they could have easily have fallen to the Race, the United States, or the Empire of Japan, the U.S. and Japan realized that they'd be at loggerheads with each other if they did. Moreover, all three found having a lawless no-man's-land, where deals could done without oversight to be very useful.
When France regained independence following the Race-German War of 1965, making Free France redundant, many wondered how much longer it would continue on.