851.01/3645b: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman)64

836. Preamble. General Eisenhower: This memorandum is directed to you as Supreme Allied Commander in the event of the occupation of French territory.

The three paramount aims which are to be the landmarks of your policy are the following: (A) The prompt and complete defeat of Germany. (B) The earliest possible liberation of France from her oppressors. (C) The fostering of democratic methods and conditions under which a French Government may ultimately be established according to the free choice of the French people as the government under which they wish to live.
The following powers and instructions are given you for your guidance in the achievement of the foregoing aims:
The Supreme Allied Commander will have supreme authority in order that the war against Germany may be prosecuted relentlessly with the full cooperation of the French people. As such Allied Commander you will have the ultimate determination as to where, when and how the civil administration in France shall be exercised by French citizens, remembering always that the military situation must govern.
When and where you determine that there shall be set up a civil administration in any part of France, so far as possible there [Page 676] shall not be retained or employed in any office any person who has wilfully collaborated with the enemy or who has acted in any manner inimical to the cause of the United States.
In order to secure the setting up of any such civilian administration locally in any part of France, you may consult with the French Committee of National Liberation and may authorize them in your discretion to select and install the personnel necessary for such administration. You are, however, not limited to dealing exclusively with said Committee for such purpose in case at any time in your best judgment you determine that some other course or conferee is preferable.
Nothing that you do under the powers conferred in the preceding paragraph 3 in connection with the French Committee of National Liberation or with any other group or organization shall constitute a recognition of said Committee or group as the government of France even on a provisional basis.
In making your decision as to entering into such relations with the French Committee of National Liberation or other committees or persons for that purpose, you should as far as possible obtain from it the following restrictions upon its purposes:
It has no intention of exercising indefinitely in France any powers of government, provisional or otherwise, except to assist in the establishment by the democratic methods above mentioned a government of France according to the free choice of the French people, and that when such government is established it will turn over thereto all such powers as it may have.
It favors the reestablishment of all the historic French liberties and the destruction of any arbitrary regime or rule of personal government.
It will take no action designed to entrench itself or any particular political group in power pending the selection of a constitutional government by the free choice of the French people.
In any area of liberated France, whether or not there has been set up local control of civil affairs as aforesaid, you will retain the right at any time to make such changes in whole or in part which in your discretion may seem necessary (a) for the effective prosecution of the war against Germany; (b) for the maintenance of law and order; and (c) for the maintenance of civil liberties.
As Supreme Commander you will seek such uniformity in the administration of civil affairs as seems advisable, issue policy directives applicable to British, French, and American commands, and review all plans.
You may at your discretion incorporate in your Civil Affairs Section members of the French Military Mission and other French officials.
You will have no talks or relations with the Vichy regime except for the purpose of terminating its administration in toto.
Instructions on economic, fiscal, and relief matters will be furnished you later by the Prime Minister, by the President, or by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
  1. This telegram is text of President Roosevelt’s draft directive of March 15 to General Eisenhower. In reproducing this telegram the paragraphs which were transmitted out of order for security reasons have been printed in their proper order.