851.01/3475: Telegram

The Acting American Representative to the French Committee of National Liberation at Algiers (Chapin) to the Secretary of State

631. The full text of the draft ordinance on the organization of the provisional government of France adopted by the Committee, February 23, has just been obtained. Though its substance has been made public the full text has not. This draft ordinance will be submitted to the Consultative Assembly as was agreed at the end of the debates in the last session. (Reference this office’s 197, December 19,27 87, January 8, 154, January 14 and 240, January 23).

Draft provides that a National Constituent Assembly shall be convoked at the latest on the expiration of 6 months after the return of four-fifths of the prisoners and deportees and that it shall be elected by secret and direct ballot by all French men and women who have attained their majority. The geographic basis on which delegates [Page 653] will be elected and the size of the membership will be determined presumably by a law to be adopted later.

In the interim, in order that the popular will may be consulted as soon as possible, the prefect of each department is to appoint a “délégation spéciale” for each municipality choosing persons who have taken part in the resistance, preferably from among the municipal officials in office 1939. The délégation spéciale will revise the electoral lists and will be responsible for the government of the municipalities until the election of provisional municipal governments and General Councils which is to take place not later than 3 months after the liberation of each department.

When municipal elections have been held in two-thirds of the administrative regions including Paris, a provisional National Assembly will be convoked. Upon [Until?] this time the present Consultative Assembly will continue to sit with the addition of 14 members from each administrative region as it is liberated to be designated by the resistance organizations on the nomination of departmental committees of liberation. The provisional National Assembly will be composed of 269 members elected by departmental electoral colleges composed of delegates chosen by the municipalities and of the members of the General Council, of 100 members elected by the National Council of Resistance and of 50 parliamentarians designated by the departmental electoral colleges and by National Council of Resistance. In addition there will be 21 representatives of the extra-metropolitan resistance. The Provisional Assembly will elect by majority vote the President of the provisional government who will form a cabinet to which the Committee of National Liberation will resign its powers, on the approval of the Provisional Assembly of its ministerial declaration the provisional government will receive full powers. Until the Constituent Assembly is convoked the Provisional Assembly will remain in session and must be consulted on international agreements, will vote the budget and may interpellate the Government. The Provisional Assembly must approve the law governing the method of election of the Constituent Assembly.

  1. Not printed.