851.01/3582: Telegram

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

1021. In a public meeting yesterday afternoon the Consultative Assembly concluded its article by article consideration of the draft ordinance on the organization of the provisional government of France. (See my 984 of March 25, 194436). The project as amended by the Assembly was then approved as a whole by a vote of 64 to 4. As soon as it is possible to obtain the text as finally adopted I shall cable a summary of the modifications effected by the Assembly in the National Committee’s draft.

General de Gaulle was present at yesterday’s meeting and made a brief address of which the following were the points of chief interest:

He had observed a certain discouragement in the Assembly because of the difficulties encountered in trying to reach absolutely precise and unanimous conclusions in regard to the constitution of the new provisional [Page 660] assembly for France. He himself did not share that discouragement because he felt that there was general agreement between the Assembly and the Committee on fundamentals and that it was only natural that there should be many opinions regarding details. For its part the Government had had no desire to intervene in the slightest way in the Assembly’s debate and it would receive the decisions of the Assembly whatever they might have.

There had been talk of the effect upon foreign opinion of the attitude taken by the Assembly and by the Government. In that connection the Government requested the Assembly to take into consideration in its deliberation only that which had to do with the national will. He concluded: “France which gave liberty to the world and which had always been and was still its champion, France did not need in order to determine the manner in which she would reestablish her own liberty to consult the opinions which come to her from outside her frontiers. And as to the Provisional Government of the Republic which since June 1940 had not ceased no more than its predecessors to stand firmly on the basis of democracy and at the same time of war it can I assure you do without all advice which does not come to it from the French nation which is after all solely qualified to give directions.”

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