Except in the case of documents with numbered paragraphs, when it is obvious from the numbering that material has been omitted, diamonds (♦) are used to indicate the omission of one or more paragraphs.
From the Beaches to Paris in Northern France
From the Beaches to Paris in Northern France
With this chapter the focus shifts from high-level planning, questions of policy, and intergovernmental wrangling to the scene of the battlefield. How did the carefully laid plans work? This question can best be answered by the officers and men in the field, for in all military operations, including civil affairs, the "battle is the payoff."
In liberated western Europe civil affairs were a command responsibility and each commander was responsible within the area of his jurisdiction. In the American headquarters, down to and including corps, the civil affairs staffs were organized as a fifth section of the General Staff. The operating unit was the civil affairs detachment.1 These detachments were assigned to the principal cities and towns in the combat zone and operated through acceptable heads of the local civil government, except in rare cases where military necessity required more direct control. Their area of jurisdiction was so defined that the entire territory in the military zone was covered. Civil affairs detachments normally remained in the area to which originally assigned, reverting to Corps, Army, and Communications Zone control as the rear boundaries moved forward. To get a picture of what actually happened, therefore, it is necessary to examine the reports by Army Groups, Armies, and Corps, as well as records of detachments and personal accounts.
In a talk to civil affairs officers just before D-day, General Eisenhower had asked them to remember above all else that they were soldiers, "just as modern as radar and just as important to the command." Although their main job was to get the rear areas organized, they had to be on the scene early if they were to do their job well and be of maximum assistance in the battle. The first documents in this chapter detail the experience of three officers who went in on D-day with the airborne forces. Civil affairs problems in the beachhead phase were vastly simplified by the fact that the landings were made in a rich agricultural area that contained no large towns. The main activities of the civil affairs officers were establishing contact with the mayors of various small communities, assisting in traffic regulations, and arranging for the care and feeding of refugees. As the area of operations broadened an immense variety of duties fell upon them but the burden was eased by the energy and initiative of the French in taking over civil administration.
The first large city to be liberated was Cherbourg. Officers in Allied headquarters who referred to Cherbourg as the "most important port in the world" hardly exaggerated, for this city was the pivot around
which the whole supply build-up was expected to swing. The first breach in the fortifications was made on 25 June; street fighting continued through the 26th; and by the 27th the last of the enemy strongholds surrendered. On the heels of the combat troops, Civil Affairs Detachment AIAI moved into town, set up headquarters in the Chamber of Commerce, and went to work. A reasonably complete picture of what a civil affairs detachment did in an important city is revealed in a detailed report of Detachment AIAI, here included. Though conditions in the various cities or towns were never exactly alike, the problems faced by other Civil Affairs detachments followed the same general pattern.
In the minds of the civil affairs staff officers at SHAEF and at Twelfth Army Group, Paris loomed as the greatest challenge to be encountered in civil affairs. Staff officers expected that the population of approximately 4,000,000 would have to be fed for the first ten days very largely from imported supplies. They assumed that the inhabitants would be covered with lice, underfed, and suffering from rickets and tuberculosis. Food riots by an armed population were considered likely. Accordingly, elaborate preparations were made to meet such emergencies. When officers of G-5, Twelfth Army Group, entered the city on 25 August 1944, they reported that the populace appeared well-disciplined, in normal health, and reasonably well fed. Thousands were about on bicycles. With the exception of a food shortage, extreme emergencies did not arise, and in Paris, as elsewhere, the French showed initiative in restoring civil administration.
During the first three months civil affairs for the most part enjoyed smooth sailing. However, as the armies broadened their fronts and moved toward the German frontiers in the fall months, serious difficulties began to arise. The liberation of large territories uncovered large numbers of refugees and displaced persons who had to be housed, fed, and transported (see Chapter XXX). Furthermore, deliveries of civilian supplies began to run behind (see Chapter XXXII). But these were merely the beginnings of problems that would develop more acutely in countries beyond the borders of France.
1. CIVIL AFFAIRS TROOPS HIT THE BEACHES IN THE ASSAULT
CIVIL AFFAIRS OFFICERS AIRBORNE
[Lt Col James S. Thurmond, Major Eberhard P. Deutsch, and Capt John J. Knecht, Report of Service on TD With 82d Airborne Div, 23 May 44 to 14 Jun 44, 15 Jun 44, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 223, FUSA Opns Rpts, Jkt I]
1. On 23 May 1944, pursuant to orders, the undersigned left Bristol for Leicester, England, to join the 82nd Airborne Division, on TD, as a detail of Civil Affairs officers....
2. Thereafter, the undersigned made careful studies of the probable Civil Affairs activities to be encountered in the operational area assigned to the division in France....
3. At 1852 hours on the evening of 6 June 1944, the glider contingent moved out from Greenham's Common. Each of the undersigned was assigned to a different glider but all three were near each other in the formation, the total of which was approximately 150 gliders. The glider numbers were 32 (Major Deutsch), 34 (Lt. Colonel Thurmond) and 38 (Captain Knecht). Gliders No. 32 and 34 contained 1/4 % ton trucks and trailers in addition to personnel, and glider No. 38 was personnel only.
4. The formation of the glider column consumed nearly an hour after which it headed across the English Channel. Shortly after 2100 hours the column crossed the coast line of France over the Utah beach and headed westward. At about 212o hours, the gliders were subjected to heavy anti-aircraft fire and almost immediately
thereafter were released from the towing planes.
5. The experience of each of the three gliders in landing was almost identically the same as that of the others. All three crashed in small adjoining fields within the German lines.
6. Enemy fire on the occupants of the gliders took place the moment the landing had been effected and continued thereafter. Captain Knecht who was in the personnel glider (No. 38) and the other occupants of that glider immediately took to a ditch on one side of their field. Colonel Thurmond and Major Deutsch, in gliders No. 32 and 34 respectively, despite injuries sustained in the landings, assisted at once in the release of the vehicles from the gliders. All three gliders had been practically demolished in the landings. Colonel Thurmond and Major Deutsch managed to get together. Colonel Thurmond thereupon headed a reconnaissance party with personnel of his glider to locate a CP to which an effort was made to effect a rendezvous. Colonel Thurmond borrowed a vehicle from an officer of the 4th Infantry Division and made a reconnaissance of other nearby gliders, assisting their injured personnel in getting to the rendezvous.
7. In the meantime, Major Deutsch gathered as much as possible of the nearby personnel which had come in his and other gliders and, under cover of hedges, ditches and other natural obstructions, made their way to a nearby farmyard. There, a patrol was established to protect the area, and to bring in the wounded and injured, pending word to be sent by Colonel Thurmond as to the final rendezvous.
8. At the same time, Captain Knecht proceeded on a reconnaissance from his position and, under fire, managed to locate the farmyard just mentioned. He then returned to the ditch where the remaining personnel of his glider were waiting, and brought them back to the farmyard.
9. Shortly thereafter, word came from Colonel Thurmond that a tentative rendezvous had been established near the CP of a Battalion of the 4th Infantry, at the cross-roads a short distance from Blosville. The group at the farmyard thereupon proceeded by jeep and on foot, under guide of friendly civilians, to the rendezvous established by Colonel Thurmond. The enemy fire had remained continuous but was somewhat less intense. The wounded were carried in the vehicles taken from the gliders.
12. Colonel Thurmond received a severe contusion of his left knee and laceration of the left knee and both hands when his glider crashed. He was given first-aid treatment at an 8th Infantry aid station that night, and was treated again the next morning at a medical station of the 82d Airborne Division. Captain Knecht received slight injuries to his hands and knees. Major Deutsch received severe injuries to his chest and back, which were later revealed to have consisted of fractured ribs and a strained back.
13. On the next morning it was found that the bivouac in question was still surrounded by the enemy, within range of small arms, and efforts were made to reach division headquarters by radio. Division headquarters, which was also surrounded, sent out reconnaissance, and the entire day was consumed in moving from one place to another in an effort to consolidate the positions. The detachment moved into no less than six positions during the day, constantly under fire and constantly seeking the protection of ditches, hedges and foxholes. At about I9oo hours that evening it was determined that the detachment could be saved only by getting it through to division headquarters somehow. A reconnaissance group was sent across to lead the detachment by secondary roads. A part of the way was along the main road in the vicinity of the Chef du Pont, which was under intense small arms fire. . . . The movement through this portion of the enemy line was finally successful, and the column reached division headquarters shortly after 2100 hours that night, having twice crossed the enemy line within less than 24 hours.
15. On the following day and thereafter the situation improved. Firm contact was established with the 4th Division and later with the 90th Division....
17. The Provost Marshal requested assistance, and Captain Knecht from that point forward aided the Provost Marshal in traffic regulation, and in the processing of prisoners who were coming in in far greater numbers than had been anticipated.
18. The regular Civil Affairs officer of the division, while assuming responsibility for Civil Affairs, was largely engaged in matters connected with G-2 then of apparently paramount importance. Colonel Thurmond thereupon performed such essential Civil Affairs duties as the situation required, working in close co-operation with the division Civil Affairs officer. Among these matters were the procurement of civilian labor for grave digging; the contacting of Mayors of various small communities; arranging for prompt burial of civilians and the disposition of cattle killed during the combat activities; arranging for the clearance of bombs and grenades from a hospital at Ste.-Mere-Eglise so that it might be occupied by medical or other detach-
ments having need for the building; informing division ordnance detachment of the location of enemy ammunition; obtaining and turning over to G-2 enemy records located at Chef du Pont. In addition, Colonel Thurmond and the regular division Civil Affairs officer located the billet of the German Lieutenant General who had commanded the 91st German Division and who had been killed in action. The records found in the billet, of great importance and considerable volume, were promptly reported to G-2 and by them to Corps Hq. for handling.
19. At the request of G-1, Colonel Thurmond assisted in locating bodies of paratroops in the vicinity of Ste.-Mere-Eglise for the Quartermaster. When the Civil Affairs detachment for Ste.-Mere-Eglise arrived, Colonel Thurmond immediately made contact with it, and advised and consulted with them from time to time; thereafter assisting in its functions. Colonel Thurmond was of particular assistance to the detachment in the handling of refugees from other towns in the combat area. When the town of Cretteville was taken by the 82nd Division on the morning of 8 June 1944, Colonel Thurmond and the division Civil Affairs officer immediately entered the town and conferred with the Mayor. Arrangements were made for the feeding and care of refugees. A ceremony was held raising the French Tricolour. The signal section made photographs of this ceremony.
20. Major Deutsch's injuries prevented his extensive participation in direct Civil Affairs activities. However, he assisted in the interrogation of prisoners to determine conditions in local communities from which they had come. He interrogated civilians, and ordered the internment of two whose activities in behalf of, or at least in cooperation with, the enemy seemed clear. He assisted in obtaining data as to missing troops evacuated prior to the setting-up of division clearing stations; and he consulted from time to time with Colonel Thurmond and the other Civil Affairs officers on their activities, giving such help as he could.
21. On 13 June the undersigned moved forward with a portion of division headquarters to an advance CP just west of Picauville, again practically up to the front line, where the area was again subjected to enemy land and aerial fire. Pursuant to orders, Captain Knecht had returned to Army Hq on 12 June and Colonel Thurmond and Major Deutsch returned on the evening of 14 June 1944. ♦ ♦ ♦
23. It is the conclusion of the undersigned that Civil Affairs activities in an airborne division are obviously more limited in scope than in a regular infantry division. As a rule, an airborne division finds itself in territory less densely populated than others. Further, during the early stages, the airborne division is ordinarily engaged in combat of such a nature, that Civil Affairs activities are considerably curtailed. Further, the time during which an airborne division operates is limited. It comes in early, performs its mission, and is withdrawn, ordinarily, within a short time. On the other hand, except for the factors above mentioned, Civil Affairs operations in an airborne division are practically the same as those in an infantry division, once landings have been effected and consolidated. The problems of communities captured by airborne infantry are sometimes even greater than those of communities taken by regular infantry, because of the nature of the attack itself. ♦ ♦ ♦
INSTRUCTIONS TO THE CIVIL POPULATION WILL BE ISSUED BY THE CIVIL AUTHORITIES
[Ltr, WS, 21 AGp to FUSAG, et al., 9 Jun 44, Internal Affairs Branch, SHAEF files, G-5, 676, Proclamations Fr]
1. The policy of the Supreme Commander is that instructions to the Civil population in operation OVERLORD will be issued, where possible, by the civil authorities in accordance with the requirements of commanders, and conveyed to these civil authorities through the Civil Affairs Staff. Only if there is complete breakdown of civil administration will ordinances be published in the name of the Supreme Commander, and then only when he has authorized this to be done.
3. The Supreme Commander will issue initially only two proclamations:
(a) A general proclamation
(b) A proclamation relating to currency
Copies of (a) have been issued to Officers Commanding Civil Affairs Detachments with authority to promulgate them without further instructions. Copies of (b) are in the process of being issued.
4. Commanders will require certain notices for display in the
forward areas covering such matters as:
(c) Prohibition of movement on the road.
(d) Prohibition of use of cameras and binoculars.
(e) Surrender of arms and ammunition.
Suitable notices, which can be handed to the local authorities for signature and issue, have been distributed to officers commanding Civil
Affairs Detachments for use as formation commanders may direct.
THE BEACHHEAD PHASE PRESENTS No SEVERE CIVIL AFFAIRS PROBLEMS
[CA Sec, FUSA, Rpt, 9-30 Jun 44, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 223, FUSA Opns Rpts, Jkt 2]
The Senior Civil Affairs Officer, First U.S. Army, arrived ashore on Omaha Beach 2200 hours 9 June, accompanied by the Governmental Agencies and Public Safety officer. CA Detachment D7Gi, attached to the Special Engineer Brigade for lift and duty, arrived ashore 2100 hours, 9 June, and was assigned to duty at Omaha Beach. Each division and corps ashore in the First Army had members of their CA Staffs present with their respective headquarters.
Three members of the CA, Staff, FUSA, attached for lift and CA duties to the 82nd Airborne Division, landed near Ste.-Mere-Eglise about 2200 on D Day. This was the first instance of participation by Civil Affairs in an air-borne invasion.
In his initial reconnaissance on landing at Omaha Beach, the Army SCAO found that the state of law and order was satisfactory. About go per cent of the normal population was present, and civilian casualties were estimated at not over 2 per cent.
CA Detachments were placed as follows on 11 June:
|D3BI||Isigny and Grandcamp|
Action was taken to deputize civilians and build up a larger police force. On II June, the Army SCAO requested that Civil Affairs Detachments be placed on a high transport priority so as to be immediately available for assignment as soon as towns had been captured from the enemy.
On 12 June, CA Detachment C2BI was placed at Carentan. The same day, the Supply Echelon, CA Section FUSA, arrived on the Continent, with 12 officers. Two French liaison officers also reported that day. . . . On 13 June, the Army SCAO briefed officers of the Sections on the general situation, and a schedule of visits was arranged whereby every CA Detachment and Staff would be visited daily, and the entire zone of operations would be surveyed at frequent intervals by headquarters specialist officers.
On 13 June, the Army SCAO and the Governmental Agencies and Public Safety Officer conferred with the CA Office, 2nd British Army, on the general situation, with special emphasis on milling, police, and civil administration, all centered at Bayeux. ♦ ♦ ♦
By direction of the Army SCAO, a general survey was made of the supply situation, soon after the arrival of the Supply Echelon on the Continent. Apart from medical supplies, flour and soap were found to be the only major shortages in the Army area. The 2nd British Army agreed to make flour available through normal French channels. Request was made of the 21st Army Group to place butter on the free list, due to the surplus of dairy products in the lodgment area. It was also proposed to the 21st Army Group that supplies of canned milk in the allocation to Utah beach be cancelled, and 340 tons of flour be substituted.
Soon after the landing of the Supply Echelon, a limitation of 6 kilometers was placed on travel without permit, and the mayors were urged to increase civilian police forces. After contacting G-2 on security measures, the Naval Liaison Officer presented to the Naval Officer in Charge recommendations for reestablishing the fishing industry, an important element in the peacetime economic life of many towns in Normandy. ♦ ♦ ♦
On 17 June, the Army SCAO directed attention of the 21st Army Group to the fact that officers sponsored by General de Gaulle had assumed authority in Bayeux, and that the previous sous-prefect had been deposed from office. [See Chapter XXI V, Section 3-] As this was not within the First Army area, and on advice of Brigadier Lewis, CAO Second British Army, who had jurisdiction at Bayeux, no positive action was taken in regard to posters and proclamations, either placing or displacing them. ♦ ♦ ♦
THERE WAS SOME LOOTING
[Interv With Brig R. M. H. Lewis, SCAO, 2nd Br Army, 26 Nov 44, 60, SHAEF files, G-5, Negotiations With the French, an. 20-B]
♦ ♦ ♦ Thus the situation in the beachhead proved relatively simple, and did not present any severe problems. There was ample food, few refugees, and no administration problems within the small area concerned. There was, however, almost at once the question of looting to deal with. It was very bad in the early stages, and had never been covered entirely satisfactorily. Another question that arose early on the beachhead was the different attitudes adopted by the Divisional Commanders about the evacuation of the civilian population from their Divisional Areas. Divisions that have been under the command of the Canadian Army have been particularly in-
sistent on the clearing of their areas, maintaining that casualties from stray shots are often caused by enemy snipers in civilian clothes. ♦ ♦ ♦
COMBAT DISCOMMODES A COMMUNITY
[PH Dept, FUSA, Report on Activities From Arrival to 30 June 1944, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 223, FUSA Opns Rpts, Jkt 2 ]
(2) Sewage disposal in all communities is by flush toilets emptying to sumps, or by privies emptying into sumps. In most places, before combat operations began, sumps were customarily emptied every two weeks. This service was conducted by the "honey cart" system, managed by an individual known as a "vidangeur," and efforts are now under way to restore this service. Most sumps were cleaned recently, and at present there is no acute problem or emergency. Where water for flushing toilets has been discontinued, due to damaged water mains, water is brought in hand containers. Contents of "honey carts" are reported to have been buried, although some use as field fertilizer is probable. ♦ ♦ ♦
DETACHMENTS ARE TOO BIG FOR THE CIVIL AFFAIRS
PROBLEMS IN THE BEACHHEAD
[Mal Frederick E. Simpich, Report on Civil Affairs Operations in the American Zone, Fr, as Reprinted in G-2 Sec ECAD, Spec Intel Bull IV (10 Jul 44), SHAEF files, G5, Hist, 221, FUSA CA-MG Opn]
♦ ♦ ♦ Approximately fifteen detachments are now [30 June] in operation. All are 'D' except for a 'O' at Carentan and an 'A' at Cherbourg. Without exception the detachments are too big for the problems presented. Where one officer could do the job, four are present. Result is a general disposition to magnify the problem, make work, and undertake functions which are not a proper CA responsibility. No serious consequences are expected as the First Army has carefully drilled each detachment on the basic policy of reliance on the French. When the detachments operate rather than 'liaise,' it is in connection with military questions, as with the detachment commander who personally set about de-booby-trapping his town. Survivors will in any event benefit from the field experience. * *
2. FRENCH TAKE INITIATIVE IN RESTORING CIVIL ADMINISTRATION
FRENCH AT FIRST VIEW ALLIED CIVIL AFFAIRS DETACHMENTS WITH SUSPICION
[Monograph on 2d British Army Relationships With the French Civil Administration, Jun-Jul 44, 60, SHAEF files, G-5, 8987/457]
♦ ♦ ♦ General de Gaulle landed in France [14 June], addressed a meeting in the market square in Bayeux, and left behind him for the Region of Rouen a Civil Commissioner, M. Coulet, and a Military Commander, Col. P. de Chevigne. No notification of their arrival was given to Second Army, and the first the SCAO knew of their presence was when he met Col. de Chevigne standing in the road by a broken down car near Army headquarters. . . .1
... M. Coulet appeared suspicious of Civil Affairs, and studiously avoided the use of the term in all correspondence and conversation. It seemed that on instructions, presumably from Gen. de Gaulle, his primary concern was to assert the sovereign rights of France. Once, however, he had had an opportunity of seeing for himself how Civil Affairs detachments were functioning in the field, and of finding out that the Allies had no intention of interfering unnecessarily in the French responsibility for civil administration, he became most co-operative, though it was always necessary to avoid any suggestion of an infringement of French rights. By 19 June, M. Coulet felt that he was in a position to draft instructions to all Maires [mayors], laying down the general principles to be followed in the reception to be given by them to Allied demands. These instructions, submitted to Second Army on 19 June and printed and issued by 6 July 44 dealt in particular with the following points:
(a) That Allied authorities would require Maires to take certain police measure such as the posting of notices concerning restriction of movement, surrender of firearms, or the times of blackout, etc. These measures were necessary for operational reasons, and Maires were to comply without hesitation. If any requests appeared unreasonable, the matter could be referred to the Sous-Prefect; but this was not to be allowed to interfere with the prompt execution of the order. As these notices were to be signed by the local
Maires themselves, and not by the military commander, and as the procedure came within the framework of the French laws of Etat de Siege, this marked a considerable advance in the development of a legal and administrative understanding between M. Coulet and the Allied forces.
(b) That Maires should be prepared to cooperate with Military Commanders in the compulsory evacuation of women and children from areas within 3 kms of the front line in the event of a temporary stabilization of operations. This evacuation should not involve great hardship, as most of the people concerned could find accommodation with friends or relatives nearby, and in any case they could return to their homes after a few days.
(c) The question of the disposal of captured enemy material was brought to the attention of the Maires. ♦ ♦ ♦
FRENCH MILITARY COURTS ESTABLISHED
[Monograph on 2d Br Army Relationships With the French Civil Administration, Jun-Jul 44, 60, SHAEF files, G-5]
♦ ♦ ♦ On 16 June, Col. de Chevigne published a decree establishing a Military Tribunal for the Region of Rouen to sit in Bayeux or such other places later found more convenient for the purpose. It was not intended that these Military Tribunals should take the place of the normal civil courts. In fact it was planned that the civil courts should deal with all normal matters, and that the Tribunals should be confined to dealing with cases of an exemplary nature, or to cases where the security of the French State or Allied Military interests were concerned. In addition to hearing cases concerning Allied Military interests it was intended that the Tribunal should deal with charges for [sic] looting of French property by French nationals, and at a later stage, when evidence was more complete, with cases concerning collaborationists.
The Tribunal Militaire was never convened as such, but was replaced by the Tribunal aux Armees, established by Arrête No. 59 dated 2 July 44, which served the same purpose. This court first sat in Cherbourg early in July, and tried several cases of looting and one of treason and espionage. The Tribunal aux Armees had jurisdiction within the zone of deployment of the Allied Armies and was to move forward with them as the situation might require.
In order that there should be full co-operation between the Tribunals and the Allied Armies, it was agreed that a liaison officer should be appointed by Second Army, and be attached to 202 CA Detachment at Bayeux, where he would be in close touch with the Court. This officer was to attend all cases which concerned military interests; give all necessary assistance to the French judicial authorities in the preparation of any prosecutions instigated by Allied Military authorities, or affecting military security; endeavour to obtain through the appropriate military channels the presence of all military witnesses, and be present during the giving of evidence to ensure that security was not jeopardized; and to arrange for travel permits to be issued to enable all civilian witnesses to attend, when they were required.
Once the general principle of the establishment of these tribunals had been agreed, it became necessary to reach a decision upon a number of smaller points. In a letter from the SCAO to the Brigadier "A/Q," Second Army, dated 22 June, reference is made to a conference held on 19 June and attended by the SCAO and M. Coulet. 2 ♦ ♦ ♦
At the beginning of July the Inspector General of Justice Militaire, Brig-Gen. P. Mounier, paid a visit to the liberated area to see for himself how the legal administration was being carried on. In addition to the setting up of the Military Tribunes already set up by Col. de Chevigne, it was his intention to consider the advisability of establishing mobile Courts to be attached to Allied formations, and move with them to establish courts of justice as new territory was uncovered. The need for these mobile courts never arose. ♦ ♦ ♦
THESE PEOPLE TERRIFY ME
[Analysis Sheet, 18 Jun 44, Summarizing an Article in the Sunday Pictorial (London) by Rex North on His Impressions of the French Attitude Toward the Allies in Normandy, 3 SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 300, 21 AGp (Br), CA Sec]
♦ ♦ ♦ I thought I should be sitting here on the beaches of France reporting the war, but I am forced to the conclusion that there is another and possibly even more important story to write today.
It is a grave and disturbing story; of a people
who are divided among themselves-and divided to a large extent against us.
Soberly and factually I must set it down. Six out of ten of the people over here distrust and detest us, and I have carefully checked the figure. Further, more than half seem to be allies of the Germans so that it is impossible to tell who, if any of them, are our friends.
For, like so many others, I expected everyone to fete our victorious forces as they came in. Instead, I have spent a week wondering where the next French bullet was coming from.
I expected to find a starved, oppressed country that would cry out for arms and for the right to stand up and fight with our armies of liberation.
Instead over half the French I met in Normandy had no wish to be liberated. Men on street corners-wearing German field grey trousers, let me add-turned their backs on me. Others just happened to spit at that moment.
Once I thought that all we had to do was to beat the Germans with our armies. Now-frightening thought that it is-I know there is a problem just as urgent.
Somehow we have got to get these men and women of France on our side. Somehow we must reach these people with the message that we are not bombing and blasting their cities just to save ourselves. As it is, I must confess that the attitude of these people to our cause terrifies me. ♦ ♦ ♦
GIVEN THE DOUR NATURE OF THE NORMAN, THE ALLIED RECEPTION WAS FRIENDLY
[Ltr, 19 Jun 44, 21 AGp to PWD, SHAEF, as Quoted in Analysis Sheet, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 300, 21 AGp (Br), CA See]
♦ ♦ ♦ It is considered that articles of this kind [see document immediately preceding] may seriously prejudice the relations between troops and civilians at the present time and diminish the degree of cooperation which we look for from local authorities.
The information in the possession of this branch, which is believed to be representative, does not confirm North's conclusions. Taking into account the dour and undemonstrative nature of the Norman, our reception has been friendly and the degree of cooperation afforded by local officials most satisfactory. That the population generally is anti-German and pro Allied is beyond doubt. ♦ ♦ ♦
STATUS OF FRENCH CIVIL AND MILITARY AUTHORITIES IN LIBERATED AREAS
[Ltr SHAEF, G-5 to 21 AGp (Rear) CA, 3 Jul 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 115.304, Liaison, Fr]
2. M. Coulet and Col. de Chevigne . . . having been appointed by General de Gaulle, may therefore be considered to be officials of the FCNL. They are both under General Koenig, who is under General Eisenhower, and for this reason the Supreme Commander is in fact in full control of the Civil Administration in the liberated territory.
3. There is little doubt that M. Coulet has received instructions from the FCNL of the policy which he is to pursue, but there are no indications so far that he is not prepared to cooperate in every way with the Allied authorities or that he is likely to take any deliberate action which would prejudice operations.
4. This rather anomalous situation must be accepted and made to work particularly as negotiations between British and US Governments with the French are in progress. There is much to be said for the French authorities relieving us, to the greatest possible extent that operations permit, of all French civil administration. It is important that all Civil Affairs officers should realize that it is not possible at this stage to give a precise definition of the position of M. Coulet in the civil administration and that they should exercise tact and vigilance to ensure smooth working and operational requirements being met. In order to avoid any misunderstanding during the present phase, M. Coulet should be invited to submit for discussion any notice or proclamation which he finds necessary to publish on any subject which may be controversial.
LACK OF A CIVIL AFFAIRS AGREEMENT DID NOT CAUSE SERIOUS
DIFFICULTIES DURING INITIAL OPERATIONS
[1st Lt. Jesse C. Beesley, Memo on Observations in Normandy (Br Sector), 27 Jul 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 10, Hists and Monographs]
3. The question of Civil Affairs authority in Normandy did not reach a precipitation point for several reasons. (I) There was no disorder among the populace. (2) Local government was well in hand and continued to function. (3) All French mayors and lesser officials displayed a willingness to act in accordance with the wishes of the army, and made no effort to determine whether a wish
was a suggestion or order. (4) And no incident arose which was of sufficient importance to bring about a show-down on the question of authority. ♦ ♦ ♦
THERE WAS LITTLE DIRECT ACTION: CIVIL AFFAIRS OFFICERS WORKED
THROUGH FRENCH OFFICIALS
[Beesley, Memo on Observations in Normandy (Br Sector) 27 Jul 44]
4. Civil Affairs performed primarily as a liaison function. Due to the fact that its authority was not clarified before entering the area, there was a tendency to avoid responsibility. This was true at every civil affairs level, and even caused some embarrassment at the detachment level. For example, detachment leaders could issue or refuse to issue travel passes. Yet, in the case of a refusal, a person could walk out of the CA office and proceed to his destination without a pass. In many instances CA officers were asked to settle property disputes, close public houses, remove suspects from office, and take action against undesirable persons. Such cases were usually referred to the mayors, the Sub-Prefect, or the gendarmerie, and CA acted merely as a clearing house. Such "buck passing" was expedient, if not a prestige-builder.
However, it should be mentioned that while early refugee problems were almost entirely met by the local government, it could not hope to continue without physical aid. By D plus 30 some detachments were already giving assistance. Where urban areas are liberated much more will be needed.
Another CA function of growing importance was the making of surveys on food supplies, industries, abandoned German property, transportation, etc. Due to the fact that detachments covered every area, had reliable contacts, their own transportation and quick communication with the higher levels, civil affairs was an efficient information source.
5. Looting by soldiers was a constant complaint reaching CA. Orders to detachments were to report, but not investigate, complaints. It was hoped that the severe punishments being meted out would lessen these complaints.
FRENCH SHOW EFFICIENCY AND INITIATIVE IN RESTORING LOCAL GOVERNMENT
[AAR, G-5, Third Army, ch. 3, sec. 6, Gen Bd]
♦ ♦ ♦ As rapidly as conditions permitted the French assumed responsibility at all levels of government. On 6 August, the French Military
Commander of the 10th Military Region issued a proclamation, under the Law of the State of Siege, ordering that no arrests be made in the Department of Ille-et-Vilaine except for flagrant offences, without the mandate of the Military Authority for the 10th Military Region. Thus the Provisional Government quickly asserted its authority over the area involved. The practical value of the action to Civil Affairs and the Army lay in the prompt exercise of jurisdiction by the French over offences which concerned the security of the Allied forces. The action also clarified the position of Les Forces Francaises Interieures (FFI), already recognized as a component part of the Allied forces, and increased their activity and aid to the Civil Affairs Detachments.4 Soon, throughout the Army Zone, "FFI" members were assisting in traffic control and public safety functions. They gave information of enemy stragglers and concentrations, enemy supplies, native collaborationists, which was forwarded by Civil Affairs to proper Army authorities.
On the civil side, Regional Commissioners (Commissaires Regionaux de la Republique) exercised the powers given under the Laws of the State of Siege, and the power to appoint and remove officials, an end desired by Supreme Headquarters policy. The Prefect, Sous-Prefect, and Mayor of Rennes . . . and the mayors at Kinan . . . and Fougeres . . .were removed.
French officials at all levels with whom Civil Affairs Detachments were required to deal, quickly resumed ordinary functions, and demonstrated initiative in meeting extraordinary problems. Public safety, relief, money and banking required a minimum of aid and supervision by Civil Affairs personnel. The movement and care of refugees, anticipated as a difficult problem, was satisfactorily handled by local officials and agencies in the main.
The early announcement of Civil Affairs objectives and the tact and judgment displayed by Civil Affairs personnel played an important part in reassuring the French as to Allied aims and in encouraging the resurgence of French authority in civil administration. The presence of Civil Affairs officers gave prestige and strength to established French officials. It also provided a means of liaison, through which Allied policies could be conveyed to French authorities and local needs made known to the Army. When needs were made known, appropriate action was taken. For example, an Army order was issued on 16 Au-
gust permitting the movement of civilians, under Civil Affairs control, to harvest crops. ♦ ♦ ♦
ALLIES MUST TRY To RETAIN FRENCH GOODWILL
[Survey of the PWD, 22 Aug 44, Summarized in Analysis Sheet, 2 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 7.35, Relations With Gen and Spec Staffs, PWD, Jkt II]
♦ ♦ ♦ Conclusions.
1. In Normandy the Allies, up to late July, were living in a honeymoon period. To put it another way, they had a credit in favor at the bank. The Allied landings were long expected and the uppermost emotional feeling was a sense of relief and optimism over the Allied successes and joy at the thought of coming freedom. Nor have the Normans been fundamentally disappointed in this matter since the landings. By D + 45, the great majority of them in the Cotentin Peninsula were still looking at the Allies through rosetinted glasses. But our future policy and conduct will determine how inexhaustible the bank balance is.
3. So far as food is concerned, much will depend on our future methods in dealing with the black market and the effectiveness of the rationing system, for food is a problem uppermost in the Norman's consciousness. At present the Allies have been helped by the impossibility of exporting the expendable goods in Normandy.
4. At all costs the Allies must avoid being likened to the Germans in their requisitioning procedures. This appears to be an important field for future propaganda directives. ♦ ♦ ♦
3. CHERBOURG IS THE FIRST LARGE CITY TO BE LIBERATED
THE ARMY MOVES ON TO CHERBOURG
[Hist of G-5, FUSA, 12 Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.11, FUSA Hist Rpts, Jkt 2]
Continuing their offensive, U.S. forces, after their beachhead landings, began their drive for Cherbourg. As combat troops uncovered French towns in the Cherbourg Peninsula, they were followed by Civil Affairs Detachments, who took up their duties, in many instances under enemy fire, following receipt of instructions from Corps and Division Civil Affairs Staff officers. Grandcamp, Isigny, Carentan, Montebourg, Valognes, Barfleur, St. Vaast, Ste-Mere-Eglise, Bricquebec, St.-Pierre-Eglise, and Cherbourg-in these, and other towns Civil Affairs Detachments put to a practical test their schooling in the United States and England.
Though no two towns presented exactly the same conditions, the problems facing Civil Affairs Detachments followed the same general pattern. These included the care of refugees, reestablishment of local government, provision of emergency supplies for the needy, public health and sanitation surveys, organization of auxiliary police, the issuance of passes for necessary civilian travel, procuring of labor for the Army, assistance to the Army in its relations with the civil population, and restoring to as nearly normal as possible the life of the community. ♦ ♦ ♦
CIVIL AFFAIRS DETACHMENT AIAI FROM UTAH BEACH TO CHERBOURG
[Rpt, CA Detachment AIAI, Jun-Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.23, Hist Rpts, Cherbourg, Jkt I]
Administration and Policy
The Detachment landed at Utah Beach on the evening of June 14, D plus 8 and that night reported to Senior Civil Affairs Officer (SCAO) of VII U.S. Corps, First Army. The detachment comprised eight officers (3 U.S. and 5 Br) two warrant officers (U.S.), one navy officer (U.S.) attached, one French Liaison officer and ten enlisted men (all U.S.). The remainder, ten officers and twelve enlisted men, had been left behind with the intention of following at a later date.
From June 14 until the morning of 22nd the detachment remained at VII Corps Hq. From the afternoon of 22 June until entry into Cherbourg on the 27th they were attached to 9th Div. Hq. During this period every opportunity was
taken to collect as much information as possible regarding the situation in Cherbourg including the personalities involved, the food situation, economic position, population, administration, etc. Consequently when the detachment arrived in the city they had a very fair idea of what they would be likely to encounter. On the 27th the detachment moved into the town on the heels of the combat troops, set up their headquarters in the Chamber of Commerce and went to work.
A meeting with the Mayor and all the principal officials of the city took place that same day and each section of the detachment made the acquaintance of his opposite number on the municipal administration.
An interesting ceremony took place in the Place Napoleon on the 27th when [Major] General [J. Lawton] Collins, VII Corps Commander attended by his divisional commanders, greeted the Mayor and other officials and presented a Tricolor flag which the detachment had made from the parachutes of U.S. paratroopers.
On the 28th the rear party arrived bringing the detachment up to full strength. The first week involved largely a question of obtaining detailed particulars of the state of the various town services and bringing order out of the chaos. Generally the city was only about 25% damaged by the bombardment. The water supply was not functioning and was the first and most urgent repair required. The police were functioning to a limited extent and there was no real breakdown of law and order although individual cases of looting were reported during the first few days. Sufficient food was available for all for at least 30 days. The population had dwindled to some 5,000 out of a peacetime population of 38,000. Included were staunch patriots who wished to be on hand to witness the liberation they had long prayed for, town officials, young riffraff, and a large number of foreigners who had been left behind by the departing Germans.
The water was restored by the 3rd of July. The Mayor, M. Renault and his staff, the police and the officials of the Ravitaillement General, Ponts et Chaussées were all at their posts while the leading bankers, legal and other officials quickly returned and gave wholehearted cooperation to the detachment.
The only person who was dispossessed by the French during these early days was the Sous-Prefect, M. Bourdin who had been appointed by Vichy. He called on the 28th to render his compliments and respect to the detachment on the grounds that although he had been ordered to leave, "honor compelled him to greet the new authority." M. Coulet (Regional Commissaire) arrived in the city June 29th and spoke to the assembled population, in the main square. Other leaders were M. Gresselin (Resistance Group) and Capt. Schuman. The Provisional government was accepted by all with enthusiasm as being the only possible solution; at any rate for the time being. Considerable enthusiasm always greeted any mention of the name of General de Gaulle.
The enormous stock of captured food stocks in the arsenal presented a somewhat formidable problem as some were perishable. Much of this was handed over to combat troops of the 4th Division and later the detachment had orders to distribute the balance through the Ravitaillement General which was duly carried out.
During the first phase some of the difficulties arose from the continual change of command. The detachment came in under 29th Regt. of 9th Division, during the day the 4th Division took over to be succeeded by foist Airborne Division, later by 1st Army direct, then ADSEC, followed by 4th Port, then Area Command No. 1, which became Cherbourg Command. This succession of higher unit commanders led very naturally to lack of continuity in military policy and therefore a constant change of orders.
As Cherbourg was the first large city and port liberated, a constant stream of visitors, including many high ranking Generals, called at the detachment office. There were many reports. This was to some extent unavoidable but a close check on officers allowed to travel would have cut down the overflowing procession which taxed the energy and time, particularly, of the C.O. and his deputy.
The U.S. Navy and the French Naval and Military authorities were quickly on the scene and the C.O. of the detachment was instrumental in introducing all the principal persons concerned to the U.S. Army authorities and diplomatically smoothing over many difficulties. A feature of the Civil Affairs work was the task of acting as liaison between all authorities of all nationalities, both military and civil, not always a strictly Civil Affairs job.
On 3rd July the local paper, "La Presse Cherbourgeoise" was published, the first French newspaper to be printed in Free France. On the 4th the Stars and Stripes was published from Cherbourg as a continental edition. The Omnia Cin-
ema was opened ceremoniously on July 5th by a speech by the Mayor and an American Officer and the playing of the three National Anthems. This cinema hadn't been opened to the public since 1939 as it had been used exclusively by German troops. Radio Cherbourg started to operate and was at once a complete success. The equipment was not really sufficient for the job but the keenness and enthusiasm of the operating staff overcame all difficulties and the service was most highly appreciated by all the inhabitants. In addition to local "Avis" this radio-station relayed the BBC (London) (French) and ABSIE programs. Speeches by local personages were given and the C.O. of the detachment recorded a speech which was broadcast.
On the 7th July the town received a visit from General Koenig and the Detachment Commander attended a luncheon party given in the General's honor. On the 7th the Law Courts were reopened in ceremony and on the 8th two alleged spies were tried and condemned to a long term of imprisonment.
On the 9th displays were given by PAD and the city fire service and the detachment officers responsible for these activities reported most favorably on the efficiency shown. During this period considerable progress had been made by each section of the detachment and the normal life of the city was quickly being restored.
A very difficult problem was that of accommodation. Many people were returning to the city and a large number of troops were being brought in. The Town Mayor did not arrive until ten days after the capture and during this period property was acquired irregularly. The acquisition of important property in the city was a matter which required very tactful handling. The largest store was that of Rattis and it was required by the Army for a Red Cross Club for colored troops. Considerable negotiation was necessary to persuade the proprietor to release these premises voluntarily. The services of the detachment were instrumental in effecting a satisfactory conclusion to this negotiation.
The army also wished to requisition the factory known as the Usine du Maupas for use as an APO and distribution center. It was felt that the use of the factory in its proper function as a manufactory of agricultural implements far outweighed the army requirement. It also contained a foundry and saw mills and many excellent machines. This view prevailed and the detachment was able to save the factory from the army use.
Lt. Guidicelli of the French Navy had been killed in action when leading a party of American troops in an attack on the arsenal. His brave action will be remembered as one of the most heroic incidents in the struggle for Cherbourg and his funeral was attended by the C.O. of the detachment and other officers.
The delay in giving full recognition to the Provisional Govt. gave rise to many difficulties at the detachment level. As an example of this it may be mentioned the uncertainty at first of acceptance of the new currency. Another trouble was the question of postage stamps. A suggestion to overprint the "Petain" head by the "Lorraine Cross" was vetoed and eventually orders came to continue the use of the Main stamp pending new issues.
Fishing was at first prohibited, but on the 26th July this
rule was relaxed and the boats were permitted to fish under certain
Civil transportation during the whole period under review was most inadequate.
A new Sous-Prefect, M. Leviandier, had been appointed and a new Prefect, M. Edouard Lebas. Our relations with both these men were extremely cordial and they came to rely upon the detachment for advice on many matters. M. Coulet, the Regional Prefect, also looked to the C.O. for information and advice and expressed his opinion that the Cherbourg C. A. detachment was a model one. The prefect had taken his quarters temporarily in Cherbourg pending the liberation of his departmental seat at St. L6. As it happened, owing to the demolition of St. Lo, he didn't go there but instead set up his office later at Coutances.
The 14th July (Bastille day) was celebrated by a programme which, if not up to prewar scale, was perhaps more impressive by reason of the circumstances. It was naturally the first to be celebrated since 1939. Salvos of artillery and ringing of church bells took place at intervals during the day. In the afternoon a big parade assembled in the Place Napoleon made up of French military, Naval and civilian services, U.S. Army Units and British RAF and Army. This parade marched to the public garden to the Memorial of Dead. It was accompanied by M. Coulet, Admiral [George Thierry] d'Argenlieu, and all the notables of the city. The C.O. and deputy also took part in this parade. The memorial speeches were made by M. Bouchet (Resistance Group), Admiral d'Argenlieu, M. Coulet, Colonel Howley, C.O. of the detachment and others. Next on the programme was the renaming of the "Place Petain" to the "Place General de Gaulle." This was performed by the Mayor, M. Renault. A concert was held in the Municipal Theatre and the programme included
many of the old songs and tunes of France which had been prohibited for four years.
On 20 July there was a formal opening of the First American Red Cross club on French soil. Mr. [Harvey D.1 Gibson, a director of the Red Cross, opened the club and the Mayor spoke and presented a tricolor flag. The club is in the rue Albert-Mahieu, which had been prepared by the Germans for a similar purpose but never used.
In all these social activities the detachment and particularly the Commanding Officer, played an important role. The task of coordinating the Civil and Military and Naval authorities and ensuring that the pride and susceptibility of all parties were safeguarded was not a light undertaking.
On July 15 M. d'Astiere [de la Vifierie d'Astier], the Minister of the Interior paid a formal visit to the city and the Commanding Officer and Deputy attended a ceremony in the Hotel-de-Ville welcoming this important minister.
On the 29th July the Commanding Officer and deputy were invited to the Prefecture Maritime to meet the Minister de la Marine, M. [Louis] Jacquinot. They were most cordially received and discussed general matters of interest at some length. With the open recognition of the Provisional Government of France by President Roosevelt, much of the hesitance and delay in many matters was removed.
In Public Health, an important event was the turning over of the Pasteur Hospital to the French civil authority. The hospital had been occupied by the Germans exclusively during their occupation. In addition a number of beds were reserved for the French at the Maritime Hospital. The opening of the Pasteur was commemorated in a very pleasant social ceremony on July 21st at which the C.O. and deputy, health, and relief officers of the detachment attended. The city's health was generally good, no epidemics were reported.
In the first few days of August the cantons of Beaumont-Hague, Octeville and St. Pierre-Eglise were handed over to the detachment so that the three "D" detachments concerned could be relieved. An officer and an enlisted man were sent to each place and within a fortnight it was found possible to close these offices entirely.
Detachment AIAI was organized into twelve specialty sections. These served as a sort of Special Staff to the commanding officer, but they were also operational. The twelve sections for the Cherbourg operations were: Supply, Civil Defense, Public Safety, Public Health, Public Utilities, Public Works, Finance, Legal, Relief, Economics and Labor, Communications and Transportation. Some of these sections had strictly Civil Affairs duties such as Relief. Others, such as Supply, had also military duties connected with the normal functioning of the detachment. Thus, the officer in charge of Supply was also S-4. Most officers actually wore two hats, one connected with the work of the detachment, the other representing a military function in the normal life of the detachment.
In accordance with policy set down for operations in France by Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces, civil administration was left to the French themselves. At the same time the Civil Affairs detachment kept close tabs on the workings of the civilian authorities, for further SHAEF directive ordered: "If initial recourse to French authorities fails, such executive action as the security of the Allied Forces or the success of the military operations. may require is authorized."
The Civil Affairs officers and enlisted men took a direct part in several civilian functions that became quite important directly for the success of military operations, such as billeting and recruitment of civilian labor. But even in these Civil Affairs detachment was able to remain in the background officially.
The Legal Section, on its arrival in Cherbourg, found the courts closed and the officials gone. An immediate search brought forth a temporary Juge de Paix, the Procureur de la Republique and the Juge d'Instruction. Archives, furniture and lawbooks of the several courts were brought back from Valognes. The officers of the Tribunal Militaire were sworn in on 6 July, and two days later the first spy case in liberated France was heard, with life imprisonment at hard labor the eventual fate of the two defendants. The Tribunal d'Arrondissement opened on 7 July and the Conseil de Prud'homme on 26 July, giving Cherbourg a full legal organization.
In addition to getting civilian courts running, the legal Civil Affairs officers advised military officials in the city of the legal implications of various acts. On the basis of their experience in Cherbourg they recommended that higher Civil Affairs headquarters give supplementary information on the French laws of requisition and booty, and that unit commanders receive directives and explanations of policy dealing particularly with real and personal property.
The Cherbourg railway system, put in running order within two weeks after the capture of the city, was used overwhelmingly by the military
for port clearance. However, following requests from civilians to he permitted to travel on the road, an agreement was reached between Second Military Railway Service and Civil Affairs transportation officers whereby all requests for civilian travel were passed upon by Civil Affairs headquarters.
Electrical power was limited by a shortage of coal. More important, military traffic was heavy on the streets where the street car tracks existed, and military officials were loath to permit any potential interference by street cars. Civil Affairs officers did contend, though, that resumption of street car service would benefit the working population that came in from the outskirts of Cherbourg to work in and about the port. Similarly, no attempt was made to revive the motor bus service that formerly connected Cherbourg with the neighboring peninsula district because of the ban on civilian travel beyond six kilometers and the conservation of fuel.
A census of all civilian motor vehicles in Cherbourg was immediately directed by Civil Affairs headquarters to he undertaken by the Service de Repartition de Fret, an organization set up for that specific purpose within the Ponts et Chaussees. This organization eventually took care of the entire motor problem, distributing permits to circulate, receiving demands for transportation, coordinating and arranging loads, distributing fuel, controlling a vehicle pool, and allocating vehicles for the use of essential services such as the Ravitaillement General, Civil Defense, and the First Service.
As of 1 August, 450 pleasure vehicles had sought registration permits to circulate in the entire Manche district, along with 218 light trucks, 111 heavy trucks, and 18 passenger buses. Of these vehicles, 75.4 per cent used gasoline, 19.8 per cent produced gas, 2.6 per cent alcohol, and 2.2 per cent diesel fuel. In the main it was the pleasure cars that burned gasoline. Discovery of a large number of vehicles abandoned by the Todt Organization and then looted of wheels, tires, and other parts, prompted Lt. Colonel Edward J. Gully to recommend that in the future all abandoned vehicles be removed to a civilian pool as soon as possible.
Major Shepherd, fiscal officer for the detachment, was joined 29 June by Captain Thorndike, and the two jointly shared the job of getting Cherbourg's financial affairs in order. In the city were found a branch office of the Banque de France, branch offices of four of the principal Paris banks, a branch office of a provincial bank, the head office of a Banque Populaire, and a large savings bank. Separation from head offices still in German-held cities in some cases hampered efforts to resume banking operations, but by the end of July only one bank was not operating completely normal and even that one was open several days each week.
The local office of the Banque de France, which along with the largest commercial bank in the city, had been the only banking houses in Cherbourg to remain open during the occupation, had on hand 100,000,000 francs. Another equal sum had been placed for safe-keeping in the vaults of a Valognes bank that had been demolished by air attack during the battle for the peninsula. A detail of German prisoners-of war, guarded by French gendarmes, searched through the debris for three days and recovered this currency, which was brought back to Cherbourg. These assets served to provide sufficient currency for all early business purposes in the city. Postal officials borrowed enough money to handle money orders, while the Banque de France resources were also tapped to permit a special relief payment of 750 francs to all whose jobs had been lost in one way or another because of hostilities and who were unable to find work for a three week period. The Recette des Finances, the national government finance office, also made funds available to the Caisse Departmentale des Assurances Sociales so that social insurance benefits could start on 17 July.
Re-establishment of communications in Cherbourg involved a special problem of international relations during time of war, with some of the French unable to understand why Americans who come in as liberators occasionally imposed more rigorous restrictions than had the German oppressors. Sometimes they failed to realize the difference between the relatively peaceful occupation by the Germans and the intensive work of the Americans necessary in establishing a huge supply base.
Although the local phone system, on which the Germans had permitted 1,000 civilian lines, was found in good shape on arrival of the Americans, the Signal Corps froze all telephones. On 16 July the Signal Corps announced its intention of taking over the local switchboard at the Place Divette, but gave permission for installation of a smaller board of 100 lines for civilian use. A week later installation of a second 100 lines was authorized. Captain Alan H. Westervelt, who handled communications affairs for Civil Affairs, pointing out that all phone communication in the northern part of the Cotentin Peninsula depended upon a service at Cherbourg, recom-
mended on the basis of his experience that communications problems be treated on area-wide basis. He suggested that in the future at least 10 per cent of local telephone facilities be reserved for civilian use.
During the first week after the fall of Cherbourg, military officials authorized reopening of local postal service for postcards and unsealed letters, including Cherbourg and its suburban area. However, the difficulty of postage stamps interfered and postal service did not start until 18 July. Permission to extend the service down the Cotentin Peninsula to Isigny on the east and to La Haye-du-Puits on the west was granted 24 July, although it was restricted to official correspondence of the French Government at first.
Public Safety activities in Cherbourg and surrounding area kept many of the detachment officers busy. The city and metropolitan area of Cherbourg with a total normal population of 80,000 was policed by four separate police bodies, each functioning independently, the Police Surete Nationale, the Gendarmerie Nationale, the Gendarmerie Maritime, and the Renseignements Generaux.
The detachment entered the town at approximately 1400 hrs. 27th June 1944. Apart from incidental shooting by isolated enemy troops fighting had ceased.
The town itself was not badly damaged, but most of the houses, shops, etc., had been broken open-many by the few remaining French for the purpose of looting-others by the fighting troops during the processing of cleaning up.
Apparently on the 23rd June 1944 the Germans published a proclamation ordering the civilian population to evacuate the town, nominating the routes Cherbourg-Briquebec and Cherbourg-Les Pieux as those to be used.
Most of the inhabitants left the town and the civil police were used to shepherd the evacuees along the roads. It is estimated about 2,000 civilians did not obey the order and remained in the town; these took shelter in the cellars of their houses, shelters, etc.
From the inquiries made it is quite definite that immediately the Germans surrendered a large number of the inhabitants started on a systematic looting of premises, both those formerly occupied by Germans and those of evacuated French families; quite a large amount of the huge stocks of German liquor stored in the town found its way into civilian hands and the remaining civil police did not effectively interfere.
In connection with the capture of the town, an official ceremony was arranged for 1600 hours, and it was following this ceremony contact was made with the four chief officers of the police bodies and the following proclamations submitted to the mayor for his signature:
1. Curfew-between 2200 hours and 0500 hours
3. Surrender of firearms
4. Surrender of pigeons
5. Prohibiting carrying of cameras, binoculars, etc.
6. General Eisenhower Proclamation
No Proclamation restricting travel had been received, so arrangements were made for a supply to be printed locally. These were posted later.
Prior briefing proved to be invaluable as far as details regarding the town was concerned. It is suggested that directives affecting sections should be collated and issued sectionally. Many Public Safety Directives were contained on one copy of a communication affecting three or four sections. Detachments should also be supplied with a form setting out various heads under which information is required. This would considerably simplify the submitting of information and returns.
A conference was held with C.I.C. prior to entering the town. Vulnerable points to be guarded were selected and request sent to military commander to provide personnel.
In respect of large towns, the following suggestion is submitted for consideration:
Civil Affairs Public Safety Officers, Provost Marshal, and C.I.C. should operate as a team with joint prior briefing, and the team should be retained in the town for a reasonable period. In Cherbourg the Provost changed repeatedly, with the result there was a consequent lack of coordination. The C.I.C. team remained static with the result coordination and cooperation have been excellent.
One of the major problems was the removal of property, particularly furniture, by both French civilians and members of the Allied Forces. This occurred in respect of premises occupied by Germans and French alike. Large scale removals were carried out by units of the Allied Forces without requisition and it did cause considerable unfavorable comment from the French.
At request of Civil Affairs, an order was issued by the military commander prohibiting the removal of any property without written authority.
It is suggested that in all cases immediately a town is occupied an order should be issued prohibiting any removal without written authority. Such order also to be applied to civil population
(through mayor). The authority for removal in respect of military should be given by the requisitioning officer and for civilians by the mayor.
For the first 14 days, at the request of the military commander, all billeting was handled by Civil Affairs Public Safety. This proved to be a big problem, particularly as practically no records were available at the Mairie. Troops poured into the town and there was no time to complete a census of available accommodations. Nor did any French machinery exist to carry out such a census.
The Public Safety team obtained details of the masonry of buildings previously occupied by the Germans and units who made application to Civil Affairs were accommodated. Many units, however, occupied premises without reference to Civil Affairs or anyone, with the result in many cases the houses of French families were wrongly taken over. This necessitated the units concerned making a change of billets which they could have avoided had they contacted Civil Affairs.
Civil Affairs can undoubtedly render great assistance to any billeting officer and where no military billeting machinery is available, they can effectively handle it.
In Cherbourg considerable quantities of valuable material left by the Germans was found. It is impossible to make a complete collection of all such property in the early days. It is, therefore, suggested that an order be issued to all military personnel requesting details of any property found in premises to be forwarded to a central authority. This could be Civil Affairs, who would be responsible for collating a list. Military personnel desiring material for urgent work would then be directed to inquire at the Clearing House to see if such items were available in the town. Copies of the town lists could be forwarded to a Regional Clearing House, thus collecting details of available property in the whole area.
Only one senior police officer was removed from office, the officer being the Chief of the Gendarmerie Maritime. His removal was effected entirely by the French. Civil Affairs was never officially informed of his removal, although it was widely rumored in the town he was to be removed a week before definite action was taken. It is considered that it would have been the proper course for Civil Affairs to have been notified of the removal.
Very few instances of hair-cutting of collaborationists occurred in the area, the police being asked to take active steps to prevent this type of primitive punishment. One heard plenty of expressions by the French people that some sort of punishment should be given to the large number of women who lived on intimate terms with the Germans, and they were quick to note that the same women were soon on intimate terms with the Allied services. On the whole, however, this situation was accepted philosophically, the French summing it up with the expression "La femme est internationale."
Under the French law, brothels are licensed by the police, the girls being subject to a weekly inspection by a medical officer. In addition licenses are issued to girls who carry on prostitution outside the brothels. It will thus be readily seen that although one might have four licensed brothels, there can legally be many others with individual prostitutes. All the licensed prostitutes are subjected to a weekly medical examination. The brothels were immediately placed "off limits" to Allied troops.
A proclamation restricting the civil population to six kilometer limit from Cherbourg was issued. Great difficulties were experienced in effectively enforcing this, chiefly on account of the numerous roads and by-lanes leading from the town.
Six joint control points with military and civil police were established on main roads leading into the town. These functioned with varying degrees of effectiveness, lack of police personnel in the country districts being one big disadvantage.
Military drivers were the chief cause for breaches of travel restrictions being responsible for bringing civilians into the town without permits. An order, actively enforced by military police forbidding the picking up of civilians not in possession of a travel permit, would have solved most of the problems.
In order to enforce the order, spot check points were set up in the busy parts of the city, the location and time being varied daily. These checks proved to be the most effective means of picking up undesirable visitors to the town. Any detained were not released until cleared by C.I.C.
The most practical and effective movement control check undoubtedly is for Control Points to be established on all main roads to town at approximately 6 kilometers from the boundary. Mobile patrols working between the control points outside should definitely be joint military and civil.
Permits to travel, etc., were made out and vetted by the civil police, all applications being made to them. The forms were then submitted to Civil Affairs Public Safety, who signed them after consultation with C.I.C. Signed forms were then returned to the police for issue to the person concerned. This method proved to be the most satisfactory as it avoided large numbers collecting at the Civil Affairs Office and made the issue and refusal appear to be primarily a French concern.
Certain prohibited areas, such as the arsenal and military installations, were established. Difficulty was then experienced by essential civilian workers, such as electricity employees, etc., in obtaining entry. In consultation with the military commander and Provost a "pass" was prepared by Civil Affairs and issued to all employees, who had been checked by C.I.C. and local police.
A military traffic scheme was instituted by the Provost without any consultation with Civil Affairs or the Civil authorities, with the result that signs indicating One Way Streets were erected in English only, in many instances in the opposite direction to an existing French One Way sign. M.P.'s were surprised and indignant that the French were not conforming to the military traffic system.
As is obviously important, the French civil authority must be consulted on traffic schemes and signs should be erected in French and English and continental traffic signs used as far as possible.
Immediately after the Germans left the district there seemed to be no shortage of petrol amongst the French civilians. Everyone who possessed a car was soon on the road with it. Undoubtedly the petrol had been left behind by the Germans and quickly appropriated by the French.
A vehicle permit was instituted in Cherbourg, but it is essential effectively to control motor transport for a regional permit to be issued.
It is essential in all areas to effect an immediate round up of all aliens with C.I.C. and civil police. Cherbourg being a center of the Todt Organization had large numbers of aliens and the problem of rounding them up was not an easy one, particularly as military units were anxious to employ many of them and did, in fact, employ them.
It is a fairly simple matter to collect the alien population of an area but once collected there must be some clear-cut policy and method of dealing with them.
In Cherbourg all persons detained were taken to a pound where they were screened by the C.I.C. in conjunction with the French military security police.
Certain classes were released but the majority were passed on to other camps, which had been set up.
The machinery for the registration of the civilian population was set up in Cherbourg shortly after occupation, but in view of the large number of evacuees returning to the city daily, it was decided advisable to delay this until the registration of the whole Department could be effected. Arrangements were made to effect the registration in conjunction with the next issue of Food Ration Cards.
Great difficulty was experienced in dealing with persons who offended against the proclamation, curfew, travel, etc., particularly travel. Proclamations were issued by individual mayors. Thus a person arriving in Cherbourg from, say, Valognes violated the proclamation of Valognes and could not be dealt with in Cherbourg. The proclamation, as printed, did not provide a penalty and it is doubtful if there was any power to deal with offenders. This was the view of the French Administration. This matter was eventually put right by a regional proclamation from the regional commissioner. A further proclamation was made empowering the police to fine offenders on the spot. While not being in favor of this system of dealing with offenders, it was certainly the answer as far as Cherbourg was concerned. The fine was fixed at 15 francs. This system helped considerably in preventing undue breaches and was a speedy way of dealing with offenders.
The order on possession of arms was rigidly enforced. No person was allowed to possess arms unless a member of the Armed Forces or Uniformed Police. The carrying of arms by the Resistance group was stopped, and a percentage of the group, after checking, were enrolled in the Police Surete. They proved to be very satisfactory. There were no incidents of disturbances among the civil population.
In Cherbourg, Public Safety was fortunate in obtaining the services of a Gendarme sergeant, who spoke English fluently. He was thus able to act as liaison officer: his services were invaluable. All letters, reports, statements, etc., coming from the French were written in French only. Therefore, in order to pass copies to the various military departments concerned, chiefly the Provost Branch, it was necessary to have them translated: as the complaints were numerous, this proved a problem. The average French person who speaks English and is a good interpreter is not a good translator and difficulty was experienced in this direction.
All important buildings in the town were carefully checked by the engineers for booby traps, time bombs, etc., but nothing was found. There was no indication that the Germans left any booby traps in the city.
There was one prison in Cherbourg. At the time of occupation it housed 66 prisoners, the French estimation of the capacity being 100 Arrests continued to be made and the persons were put into the same prison with the result
at one time it was found to contain 168; a bad case of overcrowding and considerable lack of staff. The matter was taken up with the French officials and eventually the Naval authorities agreed to release the maritime prison for civilian use. This new prison provided facilities for segregation of prisoners and a far more humane standard of accommodation.
Under German occupation the black market flourished but following the Allied occupation prices dropped and, apart from some trafficking in clothing, there were no black market transactions which seriously affected the economic life of the community.
In conclusion the work of the detachment may be summarized as follows:
The civil authorities and inhabitants of Cherbourg were in a state of confusion and bewilderment following the battle. The detachment gave them a feeling of security and a sense of direction. In the technical field they brought to bear their individual ability and qualifications to overcome the difficulties consequent on the damage created by battle and the German occupation.
They immediately brought about law and order and reorganized the essential services. The detachment acted as a buffer between civilians and the army ensuring that the former had a fair deal and also that the army secured whatever was essential for the military effort.
The diplomatic handling of problems which affected all branches of the civilian organization and the military, both U.S. and French, was a major part of their duties and was carried through to the satisfaction of all parties-no mean feat in the uncertain political situation which at first prevailed.
All the city officials gave the greatest co-operation possible and the main problem involved co-ordination with the military. The Germans had occupied the city under peaceful conditions and our occupation was under quite different circumstances.
All these differences were quite obvious to the great majority of thinking French people. The comparison however with the German occupation was always an ever present fact which the detachment had to bear in mind in all its dealings. However, it is sufficient proof of the detachment's ability to state that when the time came for them to hand over their work, genuine regret and even concern was expressed by all leading civilian and military authorities. They all felt they had lost a friend.
Throughout, the work of the French Liaison officers was beyond praise-they filled a most important role as liaison with the civilian officials and were indispensable, particularly in matters requiring diplomatic handling and delicate negotiation.
Finally the joint American and British mixture was an unqualified success-all worked together harmoniously regardless of rank and nationality.
The overall SHAEF and lower echelon planning before "D" Day was found accurate, helpful and entirely practical. The correctness of the Civil Affairs setup from a broad view was obvious.
4. PROSPECTIVE SUPPLY CRISIS IN PARIS IS PREPARED FOR
A SUPPLY CRISIS
[G-5 Sec, 12th AGp, Narrative Report for the Month of August, 1944, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.16, Reds Narrative Summary]
f. The period was one of continuous preparation, planning, and coordination of Civil Affairs activities for the establishment of law and order and the alleviation of the supply situation in Paris. When it became evident, about 10 August, that Paris would be liberated earlier than was contemplated under the 'OVERLORD' plan, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force established a stockpile of food and medical supplies for the relief of the city; and assigned to this Headquarters six specialists to assist in preparing a relief plan for Paris. Such a plan was prepared and approved by the Army Group Commander. ♦ ♦ ♦
TRANSPORTATION WILL BE THE KEY
[Directive, SHAEF to CG, 12th AGp, 14 Aug 44 6 SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 202, 12th AGp, Opns and Policy, Jkt 2]
1. Serious problems will exist with respect to the feeding of the civilian population on the capture
of Paris. This is to summarize for you the initial arrangements which are being or have been made by this headquarters in the matter.
2. It is estimated that on our entry, the food stocks in the city of Paris will be practically negligible. Moreover, it is anticipated that, in order to avoid disease and unrest, it will be necessary to feed practically one hundred per cent of the population from stocks, either imported or brought by military transport into the Paris area from other liberated portions of France, such as Normandy and Brittany. The estimated population of the Paris area thus affected is 3,800,000. French authorities in London place it as high as 5,000,000. Emergency feeding should not fall below 1,200 calories.
3. Conversations have been taking place with the French authorities in London and their representatives, with the appropriate authority to act, are being sent to Normandy in the course of the next day or so; at the same time, officers from this headquarters, fully conversant with the problem, have been sent over to your headquarters to assist in all ways possible.
4. Briefly, the problem appears to be largely one of transportation of needed supplies. It is considered that in France today you have sufficient stocks to tide over the initial difficulties, particularly as it should not he necessary to distribute any material quantity of imported supplies in Normandy, and because of the indigenous foodstocks available in Brittany. However, as a precautionary measure, arrangements have been made to stockpile 1o days of Paris requirements of food and medical supplies near Southhampton or Bristol so that they can be called forward by you if required. In addition, a certain portion has been so located as to be available for movement by air. This arrangement will be completed by 2o August. Details of the above have been forwarded to your Civil Affairs staff through Technical channels....
5. a. From the information available at this headquarters, it
appears that little assistance with transportation, except local distribution in
Paris itself, can be expected from the French, owing to a complete lack of
serviceable transportation resources.
b. There are in the United Kingdom at the present time approximately two thousand (2000 15-cwt trucks, with one-ton trailers, which are being allocated to your forces. Arrangements are being made to have these trucks and trailers made ready for immediate shipment and are subject to your call.
c. In addition, approximately three hundred (300) three-ton trucks are being made available to you for immediate shipment if needed.
d. Details of these arrangements have been forwarded to your Civil Affairs staff through technical channels.
6. The French are making arrangements to provide the necessary drivers for these trucks in France. Discussions are also taking place with regard to the conditions upon which you will turn the trucks over to the French, and you will be informed of these as early as possible. ♦ ♦ ♦
THE PARIS PLAN OF THE TWELFTH ARMY GROUP
[Directive, 12th AGp to First and Third Armies and ComZ, 22 Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 202, 12th AGp Opns and Policy, Jkt 3, app. 35, Paris Ping Program]
II. The Problem.
1. To provide for the emergency requirements of food and medical supplies for Paris and immediate vicinity, the total population being estimated at approximately 4,000,000
2. The period of emergency is estimated at 45 days, and is divided into two
a. The initial emergency phase: 10 days.
b. The secondary phase: 35 days.
During the initial phase, due to the expected disruption of civilian services and depletion of food stocks, the total burden for the supply of the population will be a military responsibility. During the secondary phase, indigenous supplies will become increasingly available to meet requirements, provided sufficient power and transport are available. By the end of the 45-day period, the French Central Government authority is expected to take over the entire responsibility of supplying the Paris region. ♦ ♦ ♦
a. On the basis of present information, it is assumed that the supply of food available in Paris at the moment of liberation will not last for more than 48 hours. The probable disruption resulting from military operations will prevent the normal flow to Paris of any substantial amounts of food during the first 10 days.
b. It is estimated that 2,400 tons of supplies per day will be required to maintain the prevailing ration scale during the first 10 days.
c. It is estimated an average of 1,000 tons per day will be required during the secondary phase of 35 days.
d. In the event initial surveys indicate that a net saving in transportation can be achieved by substituting coal for other supplies, this sub-
stitution will be accomplished within the over-all transportation estimates.
a. The fullest practicable use will be made of Civil Affairs transport as it becomes available. In the event that such transport has not been placed in service sufficiently in advance of the liberation of Paris, the estimated maximum motor transport requirements from military sources will be as follows:
(1) For stockpiling in forward areas, 56,000 tons to be moved 120 miles.
(2) For movement from forward stockpiles to Paris during initial emergency period of 10 days, 2,400 tons per day to be moved 100 miles.
(3) For movement from forward stockpiles to Paris during secondary period of 35 days, 1,000 tons per day to be moved 100 miles.
b. The above estimates do not allow for possible reduction of motor transport by use of rail and waterways facilities or movements by air.
a. Imported Supplies.
(1) At the present time, stockpiles of CA supplies available in the U.S. area amount to approximately 6,000 tons. It is expected that by 3o August this will have been brought to 10,000 tons, under normal movement schedule.
(2) A stockpile of 23,000 tons is now earmarked in a port in Southern England for CA supplies. It has been requested that this stockpile be moved to this shore, under an accelerated schedule, by 30 August.
(3) The DCCAO, 21 Army Group, states that in an emergency he can provide from Civil Affairs imported stocks in the British zone the following food supplies:
|Biscuits||170 (perhaps mere)|
|Wheat and Flour||1,000|
b. Indigenous Resources:
(1) The immediate vicinity of Paris produces substantial amounts of truck-gardening supplies, which should begin to move into the city by local transport after the initial emergency period of 10 days.
(2) In addition, considerable resources in wheat, meat, potatoes, dairy products and vegetables will be available in the nearby regions and uncovered areas. Certain processing supplies, equipment and transport will be required to make these indigenous supplies available for the Paris region after the initial emergency phase.
(3) The above estimates covering indigenous resources are based on the assumption that the French central and regional authorities will discharge their responsibilities effectively.
a. CA Resources.
(1) 185 3-ton trucks (British type), originally allocated for fire-fighting, are available in the U.K. It has been requested that these be delivered to Communications Zone by 30 August.
(2) 1500 3/4-ton trucks and 1500 1-ton trailers have been allocated to the U.S. zone to be turned over to the French civil authorities for the transportation and distribution of CA supplies. These vehicles have been phased in at the rate of 160 per day beginning 25 Aug.
(3) 21 Army Group state that they can transfer to temporary use in the U.S. zone 250 3-ton lorries now on hand. Also 440 15-cwt trucks and 440 1-ton trailers that are to be delivered at an early date. They cannot furnish drivers. Also that excess beach capacity exists in the British area and 15,000 tons storage space in Caen.
(4) Preliminary arrangements have been made for the movement by air lift of 3,000 tons of CA supplies to Paris. It is anticipated that this air lift will proceed at the rate of 1,000 tons per day, and may begin on the second day following liberation.
(5) It is not anticipated that a substantial number of captured enemy vehicles can be efficiently utilized for the movement of CA supplies.
(6) On the basis of present information, no reliance may be placed on availability of local French vehicles for the movement of CA supplies during the emergency period.
V. Internal Distribution in Paris Area.
1. Supplies will be delivered to six central distribution points in Paris, to be determined after detailed study.
2. It is expected that the present organization of the Ravitaillement General will insure distribution down to the consumer through the Arrondissement systems and commercial channels.
3. The present ration cards will be continued in use until
such time as it is possible to replace them with new coupons.
It is not planned to allow any immediate increase in the present official ration scale.
VI. Public Health.
1. Available information indicates that certain communicable diseases, especially diphtheria, typhoid and scarlet fever, will require strict control measures. Owing to the scarcity of soap, a high degree of louse infestation will probably be found, and skin diseases will be prevalent.
2. Minimum requirements to meet public health problems are included in the 10-day emergency reserve now stockpiled in the U.K. for Paris, amounting to 53 tons; and an additional 518 gross tons of medical supplies for the secondary period.
VII. Public Safety.
1. Primary responsibilities for Public Safety measures in Paris will be assumed by the French authorities.
2. Coordination has been initiated in order to insure that French authorities
a. Take necessary steps for maintenance of law and order in the Paris region.
b. Insure security of supplies in transit and at points of distribution within Paris.
VIII. Paris CA Detachment.
1. A reinforced detachment has been charged with CA operations in Paris. Adequate reinforcements will be provided to deal with problems of Displaced Persons, Fiscal matters, and other special problems.
1. G-5, this Headquarters, will:
a. Arrange necessary coordination with French National Authorities prior to the liberation of Paris.
b. Provide suitable detachments and specialist personnel for initial Civil Affairs operations in Paris.
2. The Commanding General, First Army, is charged with the
initial conduct of Civil Affairs activities in Paris; and will effect the
necessary coordination with the Commanding General, Communications Zone, to
a. The provision of essential supplies for the civil population.
b. The transfer to the Communications Zone at the earliest practicable time of administrative and operational responsibility for Civil Affairs activities in Paris.
3. The Commanding General, Communications Zone, will:
a. Move necessary relief supplies to suitable distribution points in Paris.
b. Effect necessary coordination with Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, 21 Army Group, and other interested headquarters and agencies, for the shipment of Civil Affairs relief supplies to Paris by sea, air, rail, and motor transport.
c. Coordinate and arrange the organization and operation of French Civil Motor Transport Units, including provision of uniforms, rations, and other necessary supplies while operating under U.S. military control.
d. Provide for the taking over of such Civil Affairs detachments and personnel as may have been detailed by the Commanding General, First Army, and made available for subsequent activities under the Communications Zone; and assure the arrival in Paris at the earliest practicable time of such additional Civil Affairs personnel and equipment as may be necessary for the effective conduct of Civil Affairs operations.
4. Any requirements which cannot be met from resources of the Communications Zone, or through coordination with Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, 21 Army Group, and other available sources, without jeopardizing the military effort, will be referred to the Commanding General, Twelfth Army Group, for decision as to whether the requirements will be fulfilled at the cost of the military effort.
CIVIL AFFAIRS OFFICERS TO TAKE DIRECT ACTION ONLY IN EMERGENCIES
[Copy of Ltr, Gunn, ACofS, G-5, First Army, to ACofS, G-5, Hq V Corps, 24 Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.11, FUSA, Hist Rpts, Jkt 2]
1. Inasmuch as Paris is the Capital of France and is a city particularly well organized for administration, the Civil Affairs responsibility for Paris is less than has been assumed previously.
2. General Koenig is to be the military Governor of the city and as such is responsible for the administration thereof. Your Detachment Commanding Officers may well be told that their services are at his disposal. They will also be told that they are not to take aggressive action except in immediate or striking emergency. They are to survey and report on Civil Affairs matters, particularly as it pertains to public safety and public welfare, food and medical supplies, to you. The Commanding Officers will be careful to place themselves in a condition so that they can function in an emergency and carry out their full
responsibilities. All of the action taken must be with an idea that the First Army and you will not retain responsibility for more than several days.
CIVIL AFFAIRS OFFICERS TO ASSIST IN UTILIZATION OF INDIGENOUS RESOURCES
[Directive, Hq ComZ (Fwd), G-5 Sec, to CG's Normandy GS, Brittany Base Sec, ADSEC (ComZ), 24 Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 202, 12th AGp, Opns and Polio-, Jkt 2]
1. The French Government is responsible for the production, processing, collection and delivery of indigenous food products to Paris. It is their responsibility to see that farm products are harvested, transported to the flour mills, creameries, slaughterhouses, etc., for processing, thence, to collection points selected and maintained by them, and on into Paris in balanced, daily deliveries.
2. It is the responsibility of Civil Affairs to maintain liaison with French officials and to assist them in accomplishment of these objectives to the end that necessity for imports by Allied forces of food to feed Paris and transport needs, shall be reduced to a minimum.
3. Base Section Commanders will be responsible for assisting the French officials in the production, harvesting, processing, collecting and delivery of these indigenous food products for feeding Paris during the emergency period.
4. The producing areas whence these indigenous food supplies will come cover a large territory and are widely dispersed. Available transport and power facilities are drastically limited. It is imperative that the collection and distribution from all these areas of indigenous food be co-ordinated in order to get maximum deliveries at the right time and to reduce need of transport facilities.
5. Areas of responsibility of Civil Affairs should be enlarged to include specified areas so delineated that no hiatus area exist within the over-all jurisdiction. These detachments will be advised by G-5 of the respective commands of the scope, purpose and procedure of this plan and in all matters necessary for its successful accomplishment, and they and G-5 will keep the coordinating officer in their area fully advised at all times. ♦ ♦ ♦
5. PARIS IS LIBERATED
CONDITIONS IN PARIS UPON LIBERATION
[Ltr, Col Cornelius E. Ryan, G-5, 12th AGp to CofS, 12th AGp, 27 Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 3604, Relict of Paris]
1. General Situation:
a. City is scarcely damaged. Great enthusiasm over liberation. De Gaulle wildly acclaimed as he walked from Arc de Triomphe to Notre Dame on afternoon of 26 August. Effervescence of people could get out of hand if food situation should become more critical. Police forces seem insufficient to control populace in event of widespread disorder, although many can be seen, appearing well-disciplined and presenting neat appearance.
b. As de Gaulle reached Cathedral, bursts of fire came from snipers in areas. Sniping continues intermittently throughout city and FFI are shooting indiscriminately at snipers in most sections of city. If sniping is not soon checked, this may lead to indiscriminate reprisals.
c. Last organized German resistance ceased at 1430 hours on 25 August as remaining elements holding out in various public buildings surrendered. Great damage was caused by incendiaries during a light raid night 26-27 August. Industrial areas Southwest of City suffered greatly. Visit on the spot showed no adequate civil defense or fire fighting organization functioning.
d. Vichy incumbents in key central and municipal offices were removed on Saturday 19 August by FFI who seized control of city as bulk of German garrison was withdrawn. Personnel removed has been jailed pending trial and replaced by appointees of the Resistance, presumably approved by de Gaulle although some difficulty may well arise when Algiers groups arrive to take over functions of central government.
e. People seem in normal health and standard of dress is satisfactory. Individual cars in small number driven by officials; more cars in hands of FFI; solve trucks on the streets. Thousands of bicycles being used by populace for private transport.
2. Supply Situation:
a. High Officials, who appear competent and straightforward, submitted following information in the course of several conferences held with U.S. representatives:
(1) Flour in sufficient quantity to last through Monday, 28
August. Small arrivals from nearby areas. . . .
(2) Miscellaneous food supplies, including substitutes, are held in sufficient quantities to last about 7 days on present reduced ration scale.
(3) Some meat available and cattle being brought on hoof to the city.
b. Public Utilities and Services:
(1) Electricity. Enough coal is available to last 1o days with go minutes per day for general consumption and to provide minimum allotment for utilities (water system, sewage, telephone, hospitals, police). It is expected that by end of 10 day period, power lines to Southern hydraulic plants will be restored. If this is done, enough power will be brought to the city to provide minimum requirements as above, plus operation of subway to 60% capacity. Water system operates with coal at a rate of 210 tons per day and present reserve will last two months. Should lines not be in working condition in 10 days, daily supply of 500 tons diesel and 500 tons of coal will be required to operate on minimum basis as above (alternative 1300 tons of coal per day).
(2) Gas. None available and need is urgent as 80% of population cooks by gas. 25,000 tons of coke on hand. This can be used to manufacture gas if Diesel oil is supplied. To provide 1 hour of gas per day for one month, 25,000 tons of coke on hand plus goo0 tons of Diesel oil will suffice. Unless immediate relief is provided, gas mains will fast deteriorate and several weeks will be required to restore system to working order.
(3) Milling Facilities. Flour mill at Corbelli is undamaged and has a milling capacity of 700 tons per day.
(4) Coal. French officials emphasize that unless substantial supply of coal can be obtained from Northern mines, or from other sources, by one month from now, the entire situation with respect to coal must be seriously examined and immediate emergency measures adopted. ♦ ♦ ♦
LACK OF CLARITY AS TO COMMAND CHANNELS CAUSES FRICTION
[Interv With Col Howley, Det AIAI, 27 Feb 45, Concerning CA Activities Subsequent to Occupation of Paris, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.23, Hist Rcds, Jkt 2]
Saturday morning, Brig. Gen. Pleas Rogers with Lt. Col. Robert [M.1 Hamilton, his G-5, remained in the lobby of the Hotel Louvre, demanding that I report to them. Brig. Gen. Rogers was at some future date to assume command of Seine Base Section, ComZ. I spent those hours searching for billets, getting my men placed out of the street fighting. I went to the Hotel Louvre at 2 o'clock. Gen. Rogers gave me a skinning and demanded that I assist him immediately in locating adequate quarters for himself and his staff. I explained that I had been busy in the exercise of my duty and that the handling of real estate was done by the Engineer Section. That I was empowered to take care of Civil Affairs needs because the Real Estate Section had not yet arrived.
The General accused me of looking out for only CA interests and demanded that I do the same for him. I explained that I could accept his direct orders only after I was released from V Corps. General Rogers would listen to none of this. I called Colonel [William J.] Morony, G-5 of V Corps, introduced him to Gen. Rogers, and said that Col. Morony was my boss and I would do what he said. Col. Morony suggested it would be all right to give Gen. Rogers a note of introduction to the Prefect of Police, who, it was assumed, could requisition buildings for the American Army. ♦ ♦ ♦
It was my definite understanding that I was in command of 23 Civil Affairs Detachments, that we were to be responsible for Civil Affairs in Paris, as we had been in Cherbourg. It was my overall understanding that I would be responsible to some CG, who would have, as advisor, a G-5But that the CG, though exercising general responsibility for Civil Affairs, would not actually participate in the Civil Affairs Operations themselves.
Gen. Rogers considered that he was responsible for actual Civil Affairs operations in Paris at all times. Relations between the CG of Seine Section and CA were continually strained because the CG felt that we were encroaching on his program. ♦ ♦ ♦
The skinnings and misunderstandings grew out of a conflict in our instruction. Seine Section and all members of its Staff thought Civil Affairs responsible only for introducing them for first contacts; after that, they carried on their affairs direct. We believed it our duty to direct civil affairs for the benefit of the Military, in accordance with directives we had received. It was our belief, and it had proved correct in Cherbourg, that the CG to whom we were attached would be happy if the Civil problems were taken off his hands. We thought this would also prove true in Paris, where we assumed the chief interests
of ComZ would be getting petrol and food supplies up to our army. This apparently was not true. From the start, the CG called conferences with French authorities, particularly on food. The Provost Marshal contacted the police, not only on problems dealing with soldiers, but any police problem which interested him. ♦ ♦ ♦
AFTER SOME WAITING CIVIL AFFAIRS OFFICERS GO TO WORK
[Interv With Howley, 27 Feb 45]
♦ ♦ ♦ Monday morning, all Special Sections were at Hq. The arrondissement Det's were out in their districts. The Section Heads were impatient. Everyone wanted to get to work. But we had received orders from Col. Gunn, G-5, 1st Army, that we were not to operate. We were to be like the American Regular Army in peace time, ready. And we were to operate only if requested to do so by General Koenig, French Military Governor of Paris.
In a place where street fighting was still taking place, where the French Govt. was still not completely organized or only partly organized on a local basis, in a city where everything pointed to the need for a Civil Affairs job, it seemed inconsistent that we should be sitting around with an organization of 136 officers and 220 EM, doing nothing. I talked with Col. La Roque, my senior French Liaison Officer, and asked him if Gen. Koenig knew we were doing nothing. He contacted Gen. Koenig and within a hour reported that Gen. Koenig said we were to operate as we operated at Cherbourg. The message was: "Tell Howley and his gang to get to work."
My staff and I were known to Gen. Koenig. We had already proved that we were not Military Government in disguise, that we were genuine Civil Affairs. We had specialists in utilities, police, finance, supply, and we were willing and able to help the French. Within 20 minutes of Gen. Koenig's request, all functions of Civil Affairs in Paris were in operation. We contacted French authorities, we asked how we could help, we gave professional advice where wanted, we stressed the great friendship between the Allies and the French. ♦ ♦ ♦
GI's BEAT UP FRENCH POLICE WHO TRY TO INTERFERE
WITH BLACK MARKET
[Interv With Howley, 27 Feb 45]
♦ ♦ ♦ Plenty of black market operations were taking place in the city. At the foot of the Eiffel Tower, American troops were known to be selling American foods, gasoline, and other stuff to French civilians. Such activities were growing in scope and spreading to the Arrondissements. The matter was reported by my Police Officer to the French police. They were reluctant to interfere with activities of American soldiers, perhaps because the few police who did interfere were beaten up. The matter was then reported to Seine Section and more MP's were brought in. Black marketing of American supplies was curtailed and forced underground. ♦ ♦ ♦
CIVIL AFFAIRS OFFICERS WORK THEMSELVES OUT OF A JOB
[Interv With Howley, 27 Feb 45]
♦ ♦ ♦ The Police Section, under Major Palfrey, British, did a bang-up job. Most of the heads of the local police department, 22,800 men, were not professionals. M. Louize, the Prefect of Police had been Representative Governor of Corsica. He was a man of skill and ability, but he did not know the administrative details of running a large police force. He was so appreciative of our help that he placed one member of his force, a M. Roche, on permanent duty at our headquarters for liaison work.
Other special functions helped the French, depending upon the need. In the case of Legal, no aid was required. ♦ ♦ ♦
Within a very short time (3 weeks), except for Supply, my Civil Affairs units were working themselves out of a job. This was entirely in accordance with our policy of letting the French do it. Some sections were doing little or no work except to report daily activities. Legal, Economics & Labor, Fiscal, Pubic Health, Utilities, Communication, and Transportation were marking time. ♦ ♦ ♦
... The only thing we had to do in Paris was to bring in supplies. Even then they might have avoided starvation without our being there. ♦ ♦ ♦
CIVILIAN SUPPLIES BEING BROUGHT INTO PARIS AT EXPENSE OF THE MILITARY EFFORT
[Ltr, Hq 12th AGp to SCAEF, 31 Aug 44, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist, 202, 12th AGp, Opns and Policy]
1. Preliminary planning for the relief of Paris has been
under constant revision throughout the current operation in accordance with:
a. Intelligence reports received.
b. Experience in areas first uncovered.
c. Analyses of indigenous food supplies, transportation facilities, and civilian organization.
2. Advance planning culminated in an order to the major Headquarters concerned, issued by
the Commanding General, Twelfth Army Group, 22 August 1944.
3. The plan referred to above was put into operation immediately following the liberation of Paris, and is being carried out, at the present time, with modifications in accordance with the situation as found to exist in Paris. A copy of a report on conditions in Paris to the Chief of Staff, Twelfth Army Group, dated 27 August 1944, is attached hereto [see above].
4. The situation with respect to the delivery and disposition of relief supplies to the civilian population of Paris is as follows:
Commanding General, Twelfth Army Group, has authorized the import of 2400 tons per day of Civil Affairs supplies into Paris. 1500 tons daily of this are authorized at the expense of the military effort. The 1500 tons are now being loaded in the Communications Zone, and first delivery of that amount from the U.S. zone should be made on Friday, I September. Meanwhile, the British are delivering approximately 500 tons per day, and the U.S. supplies landed at the Orleans Airport are being transported to Paris by military convoy at the rate of 500 tons per day. French civilian vehicles have started deliveries of indigenous resources to Paris. It is estimated that deliveries on Tuesday and Wednesday, 29 and 3o August, will amount to 500 tons per day. Efforts are being directed to expediting the movement of French indigenous resources and captured German supplies (released for Civil Affairs use) to Paris. 12 U.S. officers, Agricultural Specialists, have been assigned from a Specialist Pool to the job of assisting local French authorities in locating and arranging transportation to Paris for these supplies. These officers are working under the supervision and co-ordination of Communications Zone Agricultural Specialists. . . . It is estimated that on Monday, 28 August, 900 tons of Civil Affairs supplies and 500 tons of indigenous supplies were delivered, and on Tuesday 1000 tons of Civil Affairs supplies and 500 tons of indigenous supplies.
FOOD CRISIS IN PARIS OVERCOME
[SHAEF G-5 (Fwd), Rpt to Hq, SHAEF, G-5, 3 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 3604, Relief of Paris]
1. Food situation in Paris believed past critical stage due largely to the success of the French in bringing in indigenous supplies. Average daily indigenous supplies brought in by French now averaging approximately 1800 tons daily, as follows: wheat 900 tons, potatoes 200 tons, cabbages 300 tons, meat 100 tons, cheese, butter, eggs, vegetables and fruit 300 tons, milk 80,000 litres.
Daily improvements being shown in most of the above classifications, with 2500 tons of potatoes reported having reached Chartres from Rennes on the railroads yesterday. All CA foods unloaded in Paris to midnight 1 Sept; 2800 tons from 21 Army Group; 1400 tons from Airlift; 88 tons miscellaneous. In addition, the first group of 50 3/4-ton trucks with I ton trailers arrived in Paris from beaches with food, others reported on way. ♦ ♦ ♦
PARIS PLACED UNDER SEINE SECTION COMMUNICATIONS ZONE
[Ltr, 12th AGp to First, Third, and Ninth U.S. Armies, 8 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 202, Hist Rcds, 12th AGp Opns and Policy]
For your information and guidance, the following letter, dated 28 August 1944, has been received from Headquarters, European Theater of Operations:
"1. Paris and environs has been designated by Supreme Headquarters as within the U.S. zone of operation.
"2. Effective 1200 hours, 28 August 1944, the Seine Section, Communications Zone, European Theater of Operations, is designated as the sole U.S. agency for administration of Paris and environs, in accordance with the terms of the agreement concluded between the French Committee of National Liberation and the United Kingdom and the United States on 25 August 1944. ♦ ♦ ♦
6. TROOP SPENDING RAISES QUESTION OF ANTI-INFLATIONARY MEASURES
THE FRENCH SEEK CO-OPERATION IN ANTI-INFLATION PROGRAM
[Aide-mémoire, 12 May 44, Dealing With High Pay of American Troops, inclosed in Ltr, Monnet to McCloy, 12 May 44, CAD files, 112.4 (3-13-43) (1)]
The French authorities in North Africa have on several occasions . . . pointed out that it was important, both on psychological and economic grounds, that the troops should not make full and indiscriminate use of the very high purchasing power which the conversion of their pay into francs gave them in a country where most goods were in short supply.
The Allied Army will be confronted with the
same problems in France, but on a much larger scale and in a more acute way. . . . The American Government is fully aware of the extremely precarious state of the French economy at this time. Four years of occupation have stripped the country of most of the consumer goods; there are no stocks of any kind, the population is underfed, every commodity is in short supply. On the other hand, the pay of the American troops converted into francs is out of proportion with the standard wages in the country. The daily allowance of an American private converted into francs at the present rate of exchange is higher than the daily salary of a French skilled worker; but whereas the worker has to live on his salary, the American soldier gets free lodging, food and clothing from the army, and will therefore have at his disposal in France a very high purchasing power on a market where there are few goods to buy.
The consequence will inevitably be a rise in prices and an increase of black market operations. ♦ ♦ ♦
The French Committee of National Liberation wishes, therefore, to draw the most serious attention of the War Department to this important matter and suggest for its consideration the advisability of taking the following measures:
1. The daily allowance convertible into francs should, during the first months of liberation, and until such time as supplies may then become available, be limited to as low a figure as possible;
2. Appropriate instructions should be given by the Commander in Chief to prevent individual buying of food products by the troops;
3. The American troops should not be allowed to bring into France American currency and use or exchange it for their own private purchases.
THE OFFICIAL RATE OF EXCHANGE BORE LITTLE RELATION TO ACTUAL VALUES
[The General Board, USFET, Study No. 34: Financial Plans and Operations of Civil Affairs and Military Government, pp. 6-7, OCMH files]
♦ ♦ ♦ a. The decision to use special supplemental French Currency, equal in value to the French Metropolitan currency, and to fix rates of exchange favorable to France, was made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, after collaboration with the State Departments of the countries concerned. The exchange rate of 49.5663 francs to the dollar or 200 francs to the pound sterling, which was announced prior to D Day, was an official rate only for the purpose of exchanging dollar and sterling currency in the possession of troops and of fixing the troop pay scales in francs. This rate of exchange was favorable to France, and bore little relation to the actual relative values of the currencies, which under the circumstances could hardly have been accurately determined. If yellow seal dollars and British Military Authority notes had been used, it would have been necessary to have fixed rates of exchange which would have been official for all purposes. This would have given rise, from time to time, to pressures to change the rates as economic and other factors changed. Initially, the rate probably would have been nearer to 200-I than 50-I, as established for military purposes. It was the opinion of many qualified observers in the field of economics that extreme inflation probably would have followed. Such inflation would have injured the French people, already suffering from the effects of four years of German occupation, and probably would have necessitated the closing of French banks and the declaration of a general moratorium, with consequent impediment to the Allied military operations. The wisdom of the policy adopted has been questioned mainly on the ground that Allied troops have not received full value for the money they have spent in France. Since personal expenditures by troops have been only for items which cannot he classed as essential and consistently have involved only a small fraction of their earned pay, the loss to them appears to have been of small moment compared to the undeniable advantages that accrued from the avoidance of inflation. Certainly this was true during the period of active military operations. ♦ ♦ ♦
MEASURES ARE TAKEN BY SHAEF TO PREVENT EXCESSIVE TROOP SPENDING
[Msg, Gen Holmes, SHAEF, to AGWAR, for Hilldring, 12 Jun 44, CAD files, 112.5 (3-13-43), sec. I, CM-IN 9976]
We have given a great deal of study to the question of inflationary effects of spending of Allied Troops overseas and have formulated a considerable program on the matter.... Following quotation from memorandum on this problem gives essence of program undertaken:
1. Facilities in American Army for voluntary allotments, remittances, savings deposits, purchase of war bonds and insurance and at post exchanges, quartermaster stores etc., have resulted in U.S. Army personnel spending only small fraction of their pay in foreign theater in which they are....
2. Special Services is planning to extend its recreational facilities for Army personnel and to facilitate the establishment of civilian concessionaires at army posts. Army exchange service is planning an extended service and will include extensive line of souvenirs, including souvenirs acquired in liberated areas. . .
3. A public relations and educational campaign is being conducted to make troops understand harmful effect of their spending on economy of countries which we are liberating and the desirability of their saving money for postwar activities.
4. Orders have been issued by SHAEF prohibiting troops from making any local purchases for individual use (including food in restaurants). . . .
6. In view of the rate of exchange which has been fixed for French franc, prices in France are likely to be comparatively high and this together with the shortage of goods will discourage purchase by Army personnel. ♦ ♦ ♦
NO WITHHOLDING OF PAY TO PREVENT INFLATION
[Ltr, Hilldring to Holmes, 25 Jun 44, G-5, SHAEF files, Hist Reds, 113.04]
The report on SCAEF's program to limit the inflationary effect of military operations, sent with your letter of 8 June 1944, reflects that a fine job is being done. 7
In fact, your consideration of the problems involved is so thorough that we can acid nothing new to your program. However, it may be that the War Department can give you some assistance in its implementation.
If you have not already done so I suggest that full information regarding these plans be made available through Headquarters, SCAEF, to the French authorities with whom contact is maintained. This is most important from two angles, the first being that no anti-inflationary program can succeed without full cooperation between the troops and the indigenous authorities. Secondly, there is bound to be some inflation during our occupation, and we should make as clear a record as possible to prevent later claims by the French or by others that inflation is brought on solely by the troops' spending and that we have failed to take all proper steps to prevent inflation.
The request of the French that we limit the amount of pay given to troops is not possible to grant, not only because it would affect adversely the morale of troops, but also because it would be unlawful. In order to clarify this point we requested a legal opinion from the Judge Advocate General, who has advised us that compulsory withholding of soldiers' pay under the circumstances cited would be in violation of federal law. ♦ ♦ ♦
ALLIED TROOPS DID NOT AGGRAVATE INFLATION IN THE INITIAL STAGES
[Ltr, Holmes. DACofS, G-5, SHAEF, to Hilldring, 15 Aug 44, CAD files, 014 (3-8-43 (1), sec. 5 ]
We have been able to ascertain the facts regarding the
monetary and economic situation in liberated Normandy....
... All evidence points in the direction that fears which may have been expressed by French authorities of inflation being augmented by the presence of large numbers of Allied troops whose purchasing power could not be sufficiently controlled, is not supported by the facts found in the region itself. ...
Insofar as fiscal matters are concerned, the impact of the Allied invasion on the French economy has been well controlled. . . . The plans prepared have been well implemented and the regulations or orders issued have been observed in such a manner as to reflect credit upon Allied Forces in the area.
The facts found lead to these inescapable conclusions:
a. Expenditures of Allied Forces and individual troops have been relatively small, and have not contributed to inflation.
b. Plans to encourage savings have been successful....
c. The tendency of prices, both legal maximum and actual prices, has been notably downward since liberation.
d. Black markets have ceased to exist in all commodities except a very few. . . . Such black markets as continue to exist (e.g. tobacco, coffee, gasoline, and sugar are not patronized by and are not due to the presence of Allied Forces. ♦ ♦ ♦
THE AMERICAN SOLDIER FEELS HE, IS BEING CHEATED
[Extract from Memo, Chief Finance Branch, 31 Dec 44, Attachment to Memo From Lt Col Hilliard to Hilldring,
12 Jan 45, CAD files, 123.7(12-19-44) sec. 2]
♦ ♦ ♦ A general feeling exists that military personnel, particularly those stationed in Paris or those utilizing Paris as a "leave center," are the victims of extreme financial injustice because
of the franc rate of exchange. This considered to be the result of:
a. The prices charged for alcoholic beverages and luxury items.
b. Soldiers who do not know the country often go to places that are normally much more expensive than they could frequent at home.
c. The knowledge that illegal or black market transactions in foreign exchanges are being effected at rates far more advantageous to the holder of dollars/sterling than the official rates.
d. Too much ill considered publicity concerning the rate.
e. The feeling of a portion of the military that it has "liberated" France and has "something coming" as a result.
f. The high prices of merchandise in shop windows which leaves an impression even though the items are not desired by the observer or can not be legally purchased.
g. Stories about cheap prices in France before the war.
h. The observing of heavy spending in public places, such as night clubs, by French civilians which can not be matched by military personnel. ♦ ♦ ♦
A MOUNTING TIDE OF PUBLIC OPINION SUPPORTS THE SOLDIER'S VIEWS
[Memo, Somervell to CofS, sub: Effect of Present French Franc Exchange Rate on Troop Morale, 6 Apr 45, CAD files, 112.5 (3-13-43) (1), sec. 2]
1. The complaints of American soldiers serving in France relative to adverse effect upon local purchasing power of official rate of exchange at which their unalloted pay is disbursed in French francs, have shown an intensity which cannot be disregarded by the War Department, which have won strong Congressional support and which, on the grounds of troop morale, as well as of public relations, demand that positive measures should be initiated by the War Department with a view to alleviating the cause of such complaints.
2. The fundamental basis of soldiers' complaints is that the exchange rate of approximately fifty (50) francs to the dollar used in payroll conversions is grossly out of line, both with the relative internal purchasing power of the franc, and with rates paid for dollars on currency black markets which have ranged from one hundred twenty-five (125) to two hundred twenty-five (225) francs to the dollar. .. .
3. In the financial planning of cross-channel invasion operations it was considered by the United States and British governments that the ultimate responsibility for fixing rates of exchange for the metropolitan French franc rested with the French Committee of National Liberation. The Committee advised the Allied governments that it desired to maintain the same rates which had been set for the franc in French North Africa at the Casablanca Conference with the approval of the President and the British Prime Minister. It was agreed by the Allied authorities, prior to D Day, to use the rates desired by the French Committee of two hundred (200) francs to the pound, and forty-nine point five six six three (49.5663) francs to the dollar (based on the sterling-dollar rate of £1=$4.035....
4. All available evidence indicates that in terms of its relative internal purchasing power the French franc is highly overvalued at the present official rate of exchange . . . the present rates ... represent a devaluation of only about twelve and one-half (12V2) per cent. On the other hand, . . . the indications are that the present internal purchasing power of the franc has declined on the average of something like seventy per cent....
6. Since it is our soldiers in France who are chiefly affected by the present dollar-franc rate of exchange, the War Department has a primary concern in initiating action designed to afford a measure of relief. ♦ ♦ ♦
THE FRENCH AGREE ON A PROGRAM TO AFFORD THE SOLDIER RELIEF
FROM THE UNFAVORABLE RATE OF EXCHANGE
[Paraphrase of State Dept Msg, 18 May 45, signed Grew, CAD files, 112.5 (3-13-43), sec. 2, CM-IN 20114]
When Pleven was here he talked with officers of the War and Treasury Departments about questions touching the welfare of U.S. troops in France, especially the trouble created by the unfavorable franc-dollar exchange rate. They in principle agreed upon a plan aimed at furnishing more entertainment facilities and non-rationed commodities for the troops at special terms. Col. Carl Pforzheimer, a delegate of the War Department, is going directly to Paris to consult with U.S. troops in France and the provisional Government so that an agreement may be put through for alleviating the situation which has caused numberless complaints by soldiers and which might produce considerable friction while the redeployment period continues if it is not solved. Colonel Pforzheimer intends to visit the Embassy after he gets to Paris and will tell you how his talks progress.
7. FCNL IS RECOGNIZED AS THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT AND A ZONE OF THE INTERIOR IS CREATED
SHAEF MISSION (FRANCE) IS ESTABLISHED
[Msg, SHAEF to CCS et al., 15 Sep 44, SCAF 83, SHAEF-SGS files, 322.01/5 SHAEF Mission, Fr, FS OUT-2495]
1. Advance elements of Supreme Headquarters, Allied
Expeditionary Force Mission (France) now established Hotel Crillon, Place de la
Concorde, Paris. Function of Mission is as follows:
A. To safeguard Supreme Commander's interests in France.
B. To represent Supreme Commander's requirements to de facto French authority.
C. To act as channel through which de facto French authority raises matters with Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force.
D. To be the authorising agency for contact by all personnel of Allied Commands under this Headquarters with French authorities.
2. Head of Mission is Major General [John T.] Lewis (United States); Deputy Head Major General Redman (British).
PROPOSAL TO CREATE A ZONE OF THE INTERIOR
[Ltr, Eisenhower to Gen of the French Army Juin, 13 Oct 44, SHAEF files, 371, Fr, vol. 1]
♦ ♦ ♦ At the time when the agreements of 25th August were being negotiated, it was thought essential to make certain reservations to ensure the implementation of all measures, considered necessary by me, for the successful conduct of operations, since we could not foresee the conditions which would prevail in the liberated territories of France. However, thanks to the effectiveness of the French Administration, the powers reserved to the Supreme Commander in the Forward Zone have not been invoked.
The result has been that the Allied Expeditionary Force and the French National Authority have worked on the basis of the liberated portions of France being, in effect, a Zone of the Interior. As you know, the French Administration has, as soon as territory was liberated, begun to exercise its functions and has provided the Allied Expeditionary Force with military facilities as required.
Progressing, therefore, along the path of our close collaboration, I am of the opinion that the French Government should now declare formally that a Zone of the Interior exists in an area of France, mutually agreed between us. 8 The area of the Zone of the Interior suggested in your letter should, it is thought, include all territory within the Eastern boundaries of the following departments: Seine-Inferieure, Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Yonne, Nievre, Saone-et-Loire, Rhone (complete and including Lyon), Ardeche and Gard. The extent of this Zone will be increased as operations progress, early consideration is being given to the departments of Drome, Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône and Var.
There is, I believe, no need to draw up a detailed list of all these matters which our present working arrangement embraces. Indeed, we can ill afford the time which such a laborious work would entail. The continuance of our present degree of collaboration should obviate this formality.
To ensure the successful progress of operations, the facilities at present afforded to the Allied Expeditionary Force by the French must continue as was foreseen in the provisions of Article 5 of the Agreement. But as rapidly as military considerations permit, these facilities will be handed back for civil administration and use. ♦ ♦ ♦
EISENHOWER RECOMMENDS THAT THE DE GAULLE COMMITTEE BE
RECOGNIZED AS THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT
[Msg, Eisenhower to JCS, 20 Oct 44, CCAC files, 014, Fr (9-21-43), sec. 2, CM-IN 19234]
From the military point of view the existence of a strong central authority in France is essential particularly in view of the difficult economic and supply situation which faces us this winter. The only French authority with whom we can deal is the present Council of Ministers and we urge that
every support be given to it including formal recognition as the provisional government of France.
It would be helpful if the announcement of American recognition could be made simultaneously with the announcement of the Zone of Interior. We anticipate the latter announcement will be made within a few days....
A ZONE OF THE INTERIOR IS CREATED BUT THE CHANGE IS NOMINAL
[Msg, SHAEF to CCS, 21 Oct 44, CCAC files, 014, Fr (9-21-43), sec. 2, CM-IN 19627]
1. Agreement is about to be reached with the de facto French national authorities for establishment of a zone of the interior in France....
3. Practical effect of this development will be more nominal than actual. It will however enhance the prestige of the Provisional Government and will impress upon the French people that the facilities allowed to the Allied Expeditionary Forces are freely given as a part of the French war effort. Since French have already exercised a large degree of administrative control in liberated areas, we have not adopted the formal attitude provided for in the agreement of 25 August and are endeavoring to avoid invoking the safeguards of Article 5 of that agreement so far as possible. 10
4. Subsequent announcements will be made from time to time either extending the zone of the interior to the east or creating military zones within the present zones of interior, as for example, around the Bay of Biscay ports.
[Msg, SHAEF to WD, 22 Oct 44, CCAC files, 014, Fr (9-21-43), sec. 2, CM-IN 2,521 ]
Details of agreement with French authorities for establishment of the Zone of Interior . . . have been concluded and a decree prepared which will be signed and go into effect as soon as General de Gaulle returns to Paris, probably Monday, October 23, 1944. ♦ ♦ ♦
[Msg, SHAEF to WD, 24 Oct 44, CCAC files, 014, Fr (9-21-43), sec. 2, CM-IN 22966]
General de Gaulle has signed decree establishing Zone of Interior....
Decree is being published this morning.
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