Establishment of the Vichy Government

(July 10, 1940)


CONSTITUTIONAL ACT NO. 2, DEFINING THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHIEF OF THE FRENCH STATE, JULY 11, 1940

We, Marshal of France, Chief of the French State, in consideration of the Constitutional Law of July 10, 1940,

Decree:

ARTICLE I. Section 1. The Chief of the French State shall have full governmental powers. He shall appoint and revoke the appointment of ministers and of state secretaries, who shall be responsible only to him.

Section 2. He shall exercise legislative power in the Council of Ministers:

1. Until the formation of the new Assemblies.

2. After this formation, in case of tension in foreign affairs, or of a serious internal crisis on his own decision and in the same form. In the same circumstances, he may issue all regulations of a budgetary or fiscal nature.

Section 3. He shall promulgate laws and assure their execution.

Section 4. He shall make appointments to all civil and military posts for which the law does not provide any other method of appointment.

Section 5. He shall have full power over the armed forces.

Section 6. He shall have the right of granting pardon and amnesty.

Section 7. Envoys and ambassadors of foreign countries shall be accredited to him.

He shall negotiate and ratify treaties.

Section 8. He may declare a state of siege in one or more parts of the territories.

Section 9. He may not declare war without the previous consent of the Legislative Assemblies.

ARTICLE II. All provisions of the constitutional laws of February 24, 1875, and July 16, 1875, which are incompatible with this act are hereby abrogated.

Vichy, July 11, 1940

PH. PETAIN

CONSTITUTIONAL ACT NO. 7, JANUARY 27, 1941

We, Marshal of France, Chief of the French State, in consideration of the constitutional law of July 10, 1940,

Decree:

ARTICLE 1. The state secretaries, high dignitaries, and high officials of the state shall take oath before the Chief of the State. They shall swear allegiance to his person and engage themselves to perform their duties for the welfare of the state in accordance with rules of honor and of probity.

ARTICLE 2. The state secretaries, high dignitaries and high officials of the state shall be personally responsible to the Chief of State. This responsibility shall apply to their person and their property.

ARTICLE 3. In case any one of the above-mentioned group should prove unfaithful to his obligations, the Chief of State, after instituting an inquiry by means of a procedure upon which he shall decide, may require payment of reparation and fines, and may temporarily or definitively apply the following penalties: loss of political rights; surveillance of residence in France or in the Colonies; administrative internment; detention in a fortress.

ARTICLE 4. The imposition of penalties by virtue of the preceding article shall not prevent the prosecution under normal judicial procedure, of crimes or offense which may have been committed by the same persons.

ARTICLE 5. Articles 3 and 4 of the present act shall apply to former ministers, high dignitaries, and high officials who have exercised their duties within the past ten years.

Vichy, January 27, 1941

PH. PETAIN

See also: The Vichy Regime


Sources: Constitutional Act No. 2, France, Journal Officiel de la République française, 1940, No. 168; Constitutional Act No. 7, France, Journal Officiel de l'Etat française, 1941, No. 28. Words of Peace-Words of War.