I keep hearing this "intended for the French". Does anyone have a reference for this? As far as I know, the French never had a contract for Hi Powers. It was a Belgian made weapon, sold to the Chinese and Brits, and several other European countries, but I have never heard of a French issue. Then the Germans took Belgium over, production was started in Canada for the British forces, and later a plant was built in Argentina for licensed production.
The Hi-Power we know wasn't intended for the French, but the gun that JMB did design (also the one that Dieudonné Saive used as a starting point for the gun we know today as the Hi Power), known as the "Grand Rendement", was designed in response to a French military trial for a new 9mm high capacity sidearm, however it was not chosen by the French. Browning eventually passed away working on his Superposed shotgun and Saive took over working on the design, with the final result being the P35 that was adopted by Belgium.