851.01/3583: Telegram

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

1027. Following is summary of draft ordinance as approved Monday37 by Consultative Assembly.


Article 1. French people to determine future institutions. To that end National Constituent Assembly will be convoked as soon as circumstances permit regular elections; at latest, one year after complete liberation of France. Assembly chosen by secret ballot in one degree by all adult French men and women except those incapacitated under present laws.

Article 2. During transition period preceding convocation assembly, progressive reestablishment republican institutions will be effected as provided below:

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Title I. Local Assemblies

Article 3. Until it is possible to hold regular elections in each community, municipal assemblies elected before September 1, 1939, will be maintained or re-established [in?] office. Consequently municipal councils dissolved and mayors, assistants and councillors dismissed or suspended since that date will be immediately restored except in certain special circumstances.

Article 4. Under law of April 5, 1884, and decree of September 26, 1939, communal assemblies appointed by usurper and municipal delegations established since September 1, 1939, will be dissolved. Under said law and decree mayors, assistants, and municipal councils who served or assisted enemy or usurper will be dismissed.

Article 5. If municipal organizations which are maintained or reestablished are reduced below quorum fixed by 1884 law, they will be provisionally filled by Prefect upon advice of departmental Committee of Liberation. Prefect will name French men or women who have been active in resistance against enemy and usurper taking into account vote of last municipal elections and tendencies manifested in community at time of liberation.

Article 6. Mayors and assistants deceased, resigned, or dismissed under article 4 above will be replaced through elections by secret ballot in municipal assembly as soon as latter has legal quorum.

Article 7. Under 1884 law and decree of September 26, 1939, elected assemblies which, having existed since July, 1940, favored or assisted the enemy or usurper will be dissolved. These dissolved assemblies will be replaced under legal provisions above mentioned by special delegation which will administer communities until elections.

Special delegations will be named by competent authority on advice of departmental Committee of Liberation from among French men and women who have been active in fight against enemy or usurper and including necessarily members of last elected municipality who remained faithful, taking into account vote in last municipal elections and tendencies manifested at time of liberation.

Number of members of delegations will equal quorum fixed for dissolved municipal council under 1884 law.

Article 8. If through enemy action territorial extent of communities has been modified through merging or partition, re-establishment of municipal councils or installation of special delegation will apply to the community as it existed in June, 1940, unless otherwise decided by French administration.

Article 9. As soon as municipality or special delegation is installed communal administration will undertake revision or re-establishment of voting lists in accordance with laws of the republic.

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Time limits for procedure applicable in such revision will be fixed by decree.

Article 10. General Councils will be reestablished.

Article 11. Terms of General Councillors in office September 1, 1939, are extended to last until provisional departmental elections provided in article 15.

Article 12. General Councillors who served or assisted enemy or usurper will be dismissed by Commissioner or Minister of the Interior on advice of Prefect and of departmental Committee of Liberation.

Article 13. If because of decease, resignation or dismissal under preceding article the General Council is reduced to less than quorum fixed by law of August 10, 1871, and in the colonies by their appropriate regulations, it will be dissolved and replaced by departmental committee appointed by decree issued on recommendation of Prefect and on advice of departmental Committee of Liberation in accordance with following provisions.

Article 14. Number of members of departmental committee is equal to quorum for each department fixed by law of August 10, 1871.

Departmental committee will be composed preferably of members of dissolved General Council who remained faithful and also of French men and women who have taken active part in fight against enemy or usurper taking into account alignment in dissolved assembly as well as tendencies manifested at time of liberation.

Article 15. Special ordinance issued after consultation with Provisional Consultative Assembly will establish municipal administration of the Seine during transition period and will fix electoral regime provisionally applicable to Municipal Council of Paris and General Council of the Seine.

Article 16. In a department as soon as voting lists are drawn up, and not later than 3 months after liberation, Prefect will convoke electoral college to hold elections for municipalities and provisional General Council.

Article 17. Women will have the right to vote and hold office under identical conditions with men.

Article 18. The following will not be eligible for communal or departmental assembly or any special delegation or departmental committee:

Members or former members of alleged governments established in France since June 17, 1940.
Citizens who since June 17, 1940, by their activities, their writings or their personal attitude either favored the activities of the enemy, impeded the activities of the United Nations or of the resisting French, prejudiced the constitutional institutions or the basic public liberties or knowingly obtained or attempted to obtain direct material benefit from the application of the regulations of the de facto authority contrary to the laws in force on June 16, 1940.
Members of Parliament who abdicated their mandate by voting to delegate the constituent power to Philippe Pétain38 in 1940.
Individuals who accepted from the structure called “the Government of the French State” a position of authority whether as National Councillor, as Department Councillor, or as Municipal Councillor of Paris.

Persons coming within the above categories, however, may be rehabilitated if upon investigation it is proved that they subsequently took direct and active part in resistance, such action to be determined by departmental Committee of Liberation.

Article 19. Immediately upon liberation there will be established in each department a departmental Committee of Liberation to assist the Prefect.

Committee will be composed of a representative of each resistance organization, union and political party directly affiliated with National Council of Resistance and existing in that department. Departmental Committee of Liberation will assist Prefect by representing before him opining [opinions?] of all elements of the resistance.

It will necessarily be consulted on all replacements of members of municipalities and the General Council.

It will cease to function upon establishment of all local assemblies hereafter provided.

Title II. Transitory Period and Provisional Representative Assembly

Article 20. Consultative Assembly will move to France with French Committee of National Liberation and will meet in city where public authority is established.

It will be immediately completed by delegates of different organizations adhering to National Council of Resistance appointed by boards of directors of those organizations in the proportion now in force and in equal number.

Assembly will be further completed by members elected according to provisions of following articles:

Article 21. Each department within period provided in article 16 will elect by majority of secret ballot in two votes as many delegates as its population according to last legal census contains 150,000 inhabitants plus one for each fraction of 75,000 inhabitants.

No department will elect less than two delegates. Women will vote and be eligible the same as men.

Those persons listed in article 17 will be ineligible.

Article 22. During the month following the establishment in France of Consultative Assembly each of its members must inform [Page 664] the Bureau of the Assembly as to department or territory to which he is attached.

When in any department elections are held the delegates of that department who are not elected will cease to hold office.

Article 23. When elections have been held in two-thirds of metropolitan districts, including the Seine, Consultative Assembly will transform itself into Provisional Representative Assembly.

Article 24. Within 15 days following the second vote in the last election the Assembly will create its Bureau.

Article 25. Once the Bureau is created the French Committee of National Liberation will turn over its powers to the Assembly which by absolute majority will elect President of Provisional Government.

Latter will form Provisional Government and will present himself with it before Assembly which will pass upon the ministerial declaration.

Vote of confidence will confer upon Provisional Government until Constituent Assembly convenes powers defined by paragraph 3 of law of December 8, 1939.

Article 26. Members of Assembly will enjoy immunity fixed by constitutional laws of the Republic.

Article 27. Provisional Representative Assembly will function during all this period and will become lawfully extinct when Constituent Assembly begins to function.

It will necessarily be consulted on all international conventions which under republican laws were submitted to the approval of Parliament as well as on all draft ordinances. Decree laws adopted in cases of immediate necessity by virtue of final provision of article 25 will be submitted to ratification of Assembly within 1 month.

Article 28. Assembly will vote budget without having the right of initiative in expenditures.

Article 29. By a majority of its members it may summon the Government to explain its general policy or place upon its agenda any question of national interest.

Article 30. As soon as it arrives in France Assembly shall be consulted regarding establishment of a high court of justice.

Article 31. Assembly will be charged with determining in full accord with the Government the manner of representation in Constituent Assembly of the territories of the Empire.

It will be consulted on the date and rules of elections for Constituent Assembly.

Article 32. In these elections members of the armed forces of all ranks will be eligible to vote and hold office.

Suffrage by mail will be established for those categories of citizens who are kept through their profession away from their residence as well as for prisoners and deportees still kept away from their homes.

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Article 33. Present ordinance will be fulfilled like a law and will be made known and registered wherever necessary.

Article 34. Present ordinance will apply in the French provinces overseas now represented in Parliament.

  1. March 27.
  2. Marshal Pétain replaced Paul Rejnaaud as Prime Minister of France. June 16, 1940.