751R.62114/7–644: Telegram

The Secretary in Charge of the Mission at Algiers (Lawton) to the Secretary of State

2287. On instructions from Foreign Office Duff Cooper left note with Massigli this afternoon strongly protesting action of French Command in sanctioning execution of six German war prisoners as reprisal measure by French interior forces in southern French department which was subject of communiqué issued by Chief of Staff for National Defense. Note cites failure of French Command to consult SHAEF as breach of agreement whereby FFI were placed under command of SHAEF; points out reprisals might well provoke counter reprisals against American and British prisoners; says SHAEF asking Koenig20 to give immediate instructions for all executions of German prisoners to cease; and insists that French Committee insure that these instructions be obeyed and refrain from any further reprisal threats. Note states failure to comply with request will oblige British to reserve right to disassociate themselves publicly from action of French Command.

Duff Cooper tells me Foreign Office is suggesting to American and Canadian Governments that similar protests be lodged with French Committee through their Missions in Algiers. In the absence of instructions, I am taking no action.

  1. Gen. Joseph Pierre Koenig, appointed Commander of the French Forces of the Interior, June 9, 1944.