851.01/3562: Telegram

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

970. Reference is made to first sentence of paragraph 4 of my 900, March 19, 5 p.m.35 Unfortunately because of a slight indisposition it was only today that I was able to inspect the plan for the resumption of civil government in France and its relations with the military authorities which Massigli had promised to show me.

The ordinance dated March 14 is highly secret and was shown me on the understanding that I would only report it to my Government. From the necessarily hasty perusal which I was able to make in his presence the following are the salient points.

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A delegate is to be appointed who will be the direct representative of the FCNL in each theatre of operation in metropolitan France (in north and south). He will presumably be a civilian. He will be assisted on one hand by an administrative delegation upon which will be represented all the Civil Commissariats concerned and on the other hand by a military delegate who will be a general officer and who will represent the Military Commissariats and the French High Command.

The liberated territories are conceived as being divided into two zones, the forward or operational zone and an interior zone where local government will have already been set up and begun to function. Provision is made however that certain militarized zones may be created within the interior zone. Incidentally it is provided that the limits of the forward and interior zones are to be defined by the FCNL. When I asked Massigli about this he stated that of course such limits would be defined only in accord with the Allied High Command. However there is no mention of such fact in the document.

The chief function of the administrative or civil delegation will be to instill and insure the functioning of civil administration in all its aspects in the interior zone; to supervise measures for the welfare work of the civil population including such things as rationing, housing, transportation etc.; and finally to exercise the powers of government under an order of martial law (état de siège). The functions of the military delegate will be in all zones (1) to establish liaison with resistance groups and to insure their participation in the fight against the enemy (2) to assist in reestablishment and gain tenancy of communications and public utilities (3) to reestablish and maintain all the usual organs of military administration (4) in the advanced zones the military delegate will be charged with the reestablishment of local civil authorities as such establishment becomes possible.

Provision is made that under the military delegate liaisons will be established according to the various echelons between Allied military authorities and the French civil and military authorities. The chief or civil delegate may in his discretion grant to the military delegate such a portion of his authority as he may deem necessary in order to carry out his task.

Finally the two chief delegates are enjoined in the preparatory period before the beginning of military operations in France to take steps to build up the nucleus of their organization and to establish liaisons with the Allied military authorities so as to insure the prompt putting into effect of the measures envisaged in the ordinance.

Sent to the Department as 970, repeated to London as 113.

  1. Not printed. This sentence reads: “Massigli stated that Committee had prepared a plan for resumption of local civil government in France and its relations with the military authorities.” (851.01/3540)