Under German pressure the Marshal has just abandoned
exercise of power to the Head of Government only reserving for himself
the signing of constitutional laws. This means that the Marshal does
not wish decisions that the French Government may be impelled to make
in the sole interest of Germany to bear his signature. The Marshal declared
yesterday (November 19) that he was the living embodiment of France.
This is so and that is why we have pledged ourselves to him.
We have not pledged ourselves to the Head of Government.
Our patriotic duty remains unchanged. Liberate the homeland and the
Empire and, I should add, liberate the Marshal, the living embodiment
of imperial France. In 1940 by signing the armistice at a time when
France was invaded and practically disarmed the Marshal prevented France
from disappearing as a nation and saved Africa from destruction and
occupation. Ever since and until lately France remained alone . . .
If this policy had not been followed the Germans and
Italians would have been in Africa a long time ago not as friends respectful
of French sovereignty but as oppressors. Their actions in occupied France
serve to prove it. And if this had happened it is probable that allied
forces would not be on our side today to help us recover our freedom.
Ever since June 16, 1940, I have been a loyal collaborator
of the Marshal who often confided his feelings to me. I know his feelings
of affection for the great nation of the U.S. I know that, at the bottom
of his heart, what matters most to him is the friendship of the American
people. By feeling thus the Marshal is loyal to true French tradition.
Is it after all possible for us to imagine that the
victor of Verdun walks hand in hand with the dictators who would deprive
France of Alsace Lorraine, Flanders, Savoy, Nice, Corsica, and part
of North Africa-with the dictators who keep 1,000,000 of our prisoners
in Germany and who starve the country? When he was free to act the Marshal
always expressed his confidence to me. He did it again on November 9
before the invasion of the free zone.
It is, therefore, with certainty of being a loyal
interpreter of his real feeling that I confirm to you my previous orders
to fight at the side of American and allied forces for defense and liberation
of our territories and integral restoration of French Sovereignty. I
add-in agreement with American authorities-that the African Army will
never be placed in the position of fighting against Frenchmen.