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.
In Belgium and Luxembourg Both Fighting and Politics Retard Stabilization
In Belgium and Luxembourg Both Fighting and Politics Retard Stabilization
Having made preliminary agreements with the exiled governments, the Allies did not enter the countries of northwest Europe with the same initial uncertainty as in France. There was, however, uncertainty that the Allied policy of delegating civil affairs to local and national authorities would prove successful. For the sake of political and military advantages the Allies were assuming the calculated risk of entrusting authority to peoples who might succumb to political disunity and internal strife. To minimize this and other risks the CA agreements endowed the supreme commander with freedom of action during the military period, together with the right to use his own judgment as to when conditions safely permitted return of full authority to a national government. Though some of the governments administered better than others, in no case, fortunately, did administration collapse.
The nearest approach to collapse of indigenous government came in Belgium. Although the normal functioning of the Belgian Government was restored with a minimum of Allied interference, there was much political friction during the first months of the liberation. As the government-in-exile, the Pierlot administration had acquired a dubious reputation among the resistance movements and the leftist elements. Upon its return to the continent, it encountered strong opposition. Charges against the government included ineptitude in handling food supplies, dilatoriness in punishing quislings, and failure to give proper recognition to the resistance. In November three ministers, representing the left wing and the resistance groups, resigned. Faced with the possibility of the collapse of an effective local government, Maj. Gen. George W. E. Erskine, head of SHAEF Mission (Belgium), intervened. He offered to assist the Pierlot government in maintaining order and held conferences with the three ministers who had resigned. The three ministers agreed to do nothing to impede the Allied war effort, and the resistance groups agreed to hand over their arms to Allied authorities. Thus a possible collapse of administration was averted.
Efforts to restore efficient administration in Luxembourg followed a checkered pattern for two reasons: intense combat took place in the area and the enemy, during the period of occupation, had eliminated every vestige of the former Luxembourg government. Officials, even when they could be located, had been divested of responsibility for four years. A SHAEF Mission was sent into Luxembourg early in September on the assumption that the ad
vance into Germany would continue and that the mission would shoulder the burden of all government contacts, leaving the tactical commanders free for their operational responsibilities. Instead, the armies were checked on the eastern boundaries of Luxembourg, putting the country in the forward zone of operations. On 21 October the mission was therefore dissolved, and a Headquarters, Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment, Twelfth Army Group, was established.
The most difficult time for civil affairs officers in both Luxembourg and Belgium was during the unexpected enemy counter offensive of December 1944. Although the few documents reproduced here cannot pretend to tell a comprehensive or even connected story, they do illustrate the activities of civil affairs officers in preventing hysteria among civilians, in controlling circulation, in enforcing curfew, in guarding against enemy agents and sabotage, and in supervising the evacuation of civilians. These and other miscellaneous activities, such as removing cattle from artillery Fire Direction Centers (FDC's) and making civilian laborers available to dig trenches, relieved the tactical troops of such tasks and enabled them to proceed with their main mission of halting the German threat.
It was only after the defeat of the German counteroffensive that political and administrative difficulties both in Belgium and Luxembourg were finally resolved. A new Belgian government was formed in February, and in April a solution was found to the administrative anomaly in Luxembourg by making the head of the Belgian mission at the same time the supreme commander's representative to the Luxembourg Government.
1. ORGANIZING AND PLANNING FOR BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
EARLY BRITISH PLANNING FOR NORTHWEST EUROPE AND DEVELOPMENT
OF COMBINED PLANNING FOR BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
[Belgium and Luxembourg Country Unit, Semi-Monthly Hist Rpt, 15 May-i Jun 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, Country Units, Hist Rpts, Belgium]
♦ ♦ ♦ Occupied Belgium is governed by the Secretaries General under a German military governor, ostensibly according to the letter of the Belgian Constitution. Only the districts of Eupen, Malmedy and St. Vith, restored to Belgium by the Treaty of Versailles, have been completely incorporated in the German Reich.
The case of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is different. It has been made in toto an integral part of the Reich, and it is reported that some 300,000 Germans have been added to its population of roughly the same number. Annexed to Germany since 1940, its governmental machinery has been completely destroyed, and it is governed as part of a neighboring German Gau. This state of affairs will make necessary a different Civil Affairs approach from that employed in Belgium....
During the early history of Civil Affairs planning in World War II, Belgium was considered as a part of Northwest Europe. The U.S. at first played the role of an interested and sympathetic observer, while the British made a start in collecting and arranging materials for Civil Affairs in the Low Countries and Northern France. This region has always been a matter of concern to England from geographic, economic and political considerations.
Accordingly, in the Spring of 1942, the Administration of
Territories (Europe) Committee (hereafter referred to as AT (E) [see also
Chapter V]), was set up at the War Office under the Chairmanship of the
Permanent Under Secretary for War, Sir Frederick Bovenschen. On 10 October
of the same year, it authorized the formation of a branch of the War Office to
draw up plans for Civil Affairs in future operations in Northwest Europe.
Brigadier S. Swinton Lee was in charge, with the title of Deputy Chief Civil
Affairs Officer (DCCAO), and he had as assistant Major V. C. Greening. Shortly
afterwards, two more officers were added, Major E. R. Summer and Major
H. C. Talbot.
a food expert, and Major Talbot, an authority on transportation, are now with the Belgium and Luxembourg Section.]
The DCCAO prepared the first Military Manual of Civil Affairs (Provisional). Since the need for trained Civil Affairs officers was great, the DCCAO organized the first Civil Affairs training course of thirteen weeks which started at Wimbledon on 25 February 1943, and selected candidates to attend it. The present Head of the Belgium and Luxembourg Section, Colonel J. F. Bygott, M.C., was Chief Military Instructor and Assistant Commandant of the School. ♦ ♦ ♦
.... By the summer of 1943, it became apparent that a reorganization was imminent. Brigadier Lee was encouraged by the War Office and by COSSAC (Chief of Staff, Supreme Allied Command) to begin organizing "Country Houses," while in July, a Civil Affairs Directorate, under Major General S. W. Kirby, had already been set up by the War Office. On 23 August 1943, the DCCAO ceased to exist. Its function of planning Civil Affairs for Northwest Europe was taken over by the Chief Staff Officer for Civil Affairs, COSSAC, and the "Country Houses" were formed. The Civil Affairs organization at COSSAC was a joint U.S./UK undertaking from the start, and American and British officers together set up the "Country Houses" or Country Sections as they came to be known.... The country planning was co-ordinated with military requirements as envisaged by the "Overlord" and "Rankin" operations.
It was during this period that the first significant combined U.S./UK effort at Civil Affairs planning for Belgium and Luxembourg was made. In August 1943, the Belgium and Luxembourg Country Section took up its quarters in Norfolk House. It later moved to Cadogan Square. Since code names were required, the Belgium and Luxembourg Section was at first called "Bysep" (a combination of Bygott and Sepp) and later "Maxwell." Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas J. Sepp (U.S.) was the Head with Colonel J. F. Bygott, M.C., (Br.), serving as Deputy. The need for a detailed Civil Affairs plan for Belgium and Luxembourg was becoming increasingly urgent. On ii September 1943, Memorandum No. 1, called Preparation of Emergency Plan, was issued by Lieutenant Colonel Sepp to serve as a guide in the preparation of what came to be known as the Maxwell Plan for Belgium and Luxembourg. This was amended by Memorandum No. 3, of 29 September 1943 which provided for C. A. Administration in Belgium and Luxembourg under four possible contingencies. Both memoranda assumed as basic the following:
"a. That both countries are friendly to the United Nations' cause.
b. That the minimum supervision will need to be exercised.
c. That the maximum use will be made of local authorities; and therefore the minimum need of Civil Affairs officers."
The four contingencies which might arise in the course of
military operations were to be covered by plans based on the assumptions:
(1) of an immediate German disintegration which would present our forces the opportunity for attacking at once;
(2) of a deliberate withdrawal by the enemy from both countries;
(3) of the complete collapse and surrender of Germany;
(d) that the enemy would resist strongly everywhere and that the two countries must be liberated by combat.
The priority for the preparation of the plans was to be in the order listed above, and the same factors of destruction and/or confiscation were to be applied to all four.
While much basic material for preparing these plans was available owing to the earlier research, a great deal more had to be done quickly to meet the "target date for the completion of all plans"3o November. Actually this was advanced, and the Maxwell Plan was hastily put together by 30 October 1943.... For each of the four contingencies a complete Civil Affairs Administration was envisaged, the method and time of its establishment varying with the conditions under which Belgium and Luxembourg were to be occupied. Although the postponement of the invasion prevented the use of the Maxwell Plan, the material then accumulated was to be of use in the preparation in 1944 of Plans and Policy Instructions for Civil Affairs in Luxembourg. ♦ ♦ ♦
The completion of the Maxwell Plan ushered in a change of policy regarding Civil Affairs organization. The country sections were swept away and their finished research and supply estimates, together with most of their personnel, were absorbed by over-all functional sections, composed of specialist staffs, for Northwest Europe. The heads of the country sections alone remained and became a liaison section of the Civil Affairs Division (CAD) COSSAC. They continued such liaison with the nationals of the various countries concerned as was possible under the changed conditions arising from the postponement of the invasion. Colonel Bygott was
able to keep alive, on an informal basis, the cordial relationships already established with the members of the Belgian Government in London. This liaison work was important during a period when official contacts had to be almost completely severed, and made possible the resumption of semi-official relations when once again invasion plans had to be prepared. During the interlude lasting from November 1943 to February 1944,
Civil Affairs for Belgium and Luxembourg were carried on by the specialist functional staffs, with Colonel Bygott keeping open the door for future close collaboration with the Belgian authorities.
Meanwhile, COSSAC was giving way to Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), after the appointment of General Eisenhower as Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force (SCAEF) on 16 January 1944.
It was becoming apparent that some means must be found to co-ordinate and consolidate the work being done by the Special Staff, CAD, SHAEF, into handbooks for the conduct of Civil Affairs in the various countries concerned. Hence once again it was decided to form country sections. . . .
SO No. 2 from SHAEF dated 25 Feb 44 ordered all components of the Special Staff, CAD, SHAEF, to move to the Civil Affairs Center at Shrivenham, beginning Monday, 28 Feb 44. ♦ ♦ ♦
At Shrivenham, the Section settled down in three dormitory rooms in Watson
West. ♦ ♦ ♦
.... On 22 Feb 44, CAD, SHAEF, had ordered as a matter of urgency the preparation of handbooks for France, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, and this was also the order of priority. The Belgium and Luxembourg Section was given great freedom as to the form and contents of the handbook but it was urged that it should be severely practical so that it could serve as the only necessary book for a Civil Affairs officer in the field....
Intensive work on the handbook commenced on arrival at the Civil Affairs Center to meet the deadline of 1 April 1944. The completed first draft of the "Plan and Policy Instructions" was then submitted to G-5 for approval. During this period and until shortly after the section was moved back to London on 25 April 1944, its work was handicapped by its officers being allowed to consult with Belgian authorities on matters of information only. It was not until the beginning of May that permission for discussions on policy with the Belgian authorities was granted. Only then could the functional officers of the Section proceed to work out agreed plans and instructions for Civil Affairs with the Belgians on the basis of the various functional chapters of the "Plan and Policy Instructions."
Meanwhile, all the country sections, except Germany and Austria, had been moved to 27 Princes Gardens. . . . The move was made to give the large German section more room and to enable the other country sections to maintain quicker and closer contact with the Norwegian, Netherlands, Belgian and French Governments in London. ♦ ♦ ♦
... Since it had become increasingly obvious that the problems of Belgium and Luxembourg were radically different, the request of the Section to issue the Luxembourg sections in a separate handbook was granted on 26 May 1944. ♦ ♦ ♦
SHAEF DIRECTIVE FOR IMPLEMENTING THE CIVIL AFFAIRS AGREEMENT WITH BELGIUM
[Directive, SHAEF to Hq, Northern Gp of Armies, and CinC, Central Gp of Armies, i Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 703, Internal Affairs, Br-Directives, Belgium and Luxembourg]
1. Civil Affairs Planning and Operations. Civil Affairs planning and operations will be carried out for those areas of Belgium in which you have or may have responsibility for Civil Affairs in conformity with Annexures hereto, and with such Civil Affairs policy Directives and Instructions applicable to those areas as may be issued from time to time by this headquarters.
2. Powers. a. An agreement has been entered into with the Belgian Government which provides that in areas affected by military operations it is necessary to contemplate a first or military phase during which the Supreme Commander must de facto exercise supreme responsibility and authority to the full extent necessitated by the military situation. [See Chapter XXII, Section 2.]
b. It is not intended, however, that Military Government will be established in liberated Belgium and civil administration will normally be operated by the Belgian Government.
c. If at any time or in any locality the Belgian authorities do not render the assistance necessary to enable the Supreme Commander to accomplish his mission, then such executive action as the military situation may require is authorized. Appropriate redelegation of power to subordinate commanders is also authorized, but no general redelegations of authority to take direct action are authorized to an echelon lower than that of the most senior headquarters at the time located within Belgium. No executive action of a civil administrative nature, which is national in character, such as the enactment of legislation national in scope (e.g. relating to price or wage
control, rationing, currency, establishment of courts, etc.) or the suspension or appointment of national officials shall be taken except as hereafter expressly authorized by the Supreme Commander.
d. As soon as, and to such extent as, in the opinion of the Supreme Commander, the military situation permits the resumption by the Belgian Government of their responsibility for the civil administration he will notify the appropriate representative of the Belgian Government accordingly. The Belgian Government will thereupon, and to that extent, resume such exercise of responsibility subject to such special arrangements as may be required in areas of vital importance to the Allied Forces, such as ports, lines of communication and airfields and without prejudice to the enjoyment by the Allied Forces of such other facilities as may be necessary for the prosecution of the war to its final conclusion.
3. Area of responsibility. You will be responsible to the Supreme Commander for Civil Affairs activities in your respective areas in Belgium.
4. Civil Affairs Detachments. Combined Civil Affairs Detachments organized for administrative purposes into Groups/Companies, will be employed for the discharge of Civil Affairs responsibilities in the field. They will be allotted by this headquarters. You will be responsible for calling forward these Detachments and for their inclusion, with their organic equipment, in the lift tables of the appropriate units under your command. Direct communication on Civil Affairs matters between you on the one hand, and ACofS, G-5, this headquarters, on the other is authorized.
5. Provision of Stores/Supplies. a. You will be responsible for calling forward stores/supplies to meet such relief and emergency requirements as must be fulfilled to insure accomplishment of your mission. You will be given credits authorizing your use of such stores/supplies as may be made available to the Supreme Commander by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. You will utilize military movement and supply agencies to the extent necessary, and will be responsible for completing arrangements to call forward and deliver such stores/supplies to the points where Belgian or other civil agencies can take them over.
b. Adequate control and inspection measures will be instituted by you to assure that the stores/supplies are utilized for the purposes intended.
6. Belgian Civil Affairs Officers. The Belgian Government will provide Belgian officers who will be attached to your command for use in the discharge of your Civil Affairs responsibilities and in effecting such policies as the Belgian Government has agreed or may agree with the Supreme Commander are consistent with his operational requirements. You will be responsible for the inclusion of the Belgian Civil Affairs officers and also such representatives of the Belgian Government as the Supreme Commander may direct, with their organic equipment, in the lift tables of the appropriate units under your command.
7. Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force Mission (Belgium). The Supreme Commander will appoint and accredit a Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force Mission (Belgium) to the Belgian Government. This mission will have a Civil Affairs component which will in addition to its other duties, when requested, transmit to that Government the Supreme Commander's needs with respect to civil administration and the utilization of Belgian resources.
2. CONDITIONS IN BELGIUM RIGHT AFTER LIBERATION
THE GOVERNMENT IN EXILE RETURNS BUT WITH THE "EATON SQUARE JITTERS"
[Capt A. W. Williams, Historical Survey of Events in Belgium, September 1944 to July 1945, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I ]
3. The constitutional government of Belgium came over from London on the 11th of September and took control. The secretaries general under the occupation were removed and replaced by loyal Belgians. Previous to the arrival of the Government, executive powers were exercised by a Belgian Military Mission, which arrived from England with the advance part of SHAEF Mission on 5 September. There was also a military mission made up of members of the Resistance groups, which soon came under the Belgian Military Mission from London.
4. Herein lay the seeds of future political discord. Throughout July and August in London there existed a complaint known jokingly as "the Eaton Square jitters." The Belgian Government
in exile had their offices in Eaton Square; and as the time drew near for their return to Brussels, a day that had seemed so impossibly remote in 1940 and which was now rushing upon them, the nervousness of the politicians became very apparent. Should they not have made more plans and worked harder? How would the voters back home feel about them?
5. One thing they had in their favour. The inevitable dispute over the problem of King Leopold III could be indefinitely postponed, for by some quirk of German policy he and his family had been taken away to Germany. Thus it was possible to install his popular brother, Prince Charles, as Regent, which was accordingly done on 20 September. Secondly, the people were willing to give the Government a chance. True, M. [Hubert] Pierlot, the Prime Minister, was not a very popular figure. Nor were his London colleagues regarded in the light of liberating heroes. But they were the constitutional government of Belgium and they acted according to the constitution in resigning and then reforming at the request of the Regent. ♦ ♦ ♦
THE SITUATION IN BRUSSELS ON LIBERATION
[Cable, G-5, SHAEF (Main), to G5 SHAEF (Fwd), 10 Sep 44, Incl to Analysis Sheet, 18 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 532.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium]
1. General Administration. Government has returned and position Belgian Military Mission not therefore clear. SHAEF Military Mission under command 2nd Army and in close contact Belgian authorities National level although sorely handicapped by lack of transportation and personnel. Problems being dealt with by Belgians on national level and contact so far U.S. zone and military mission nil. [Lt. Col. K. T.] Moseley despatched 1st U.S. Army to remedy this but recommend military mission revert to SHAEF Mission. Lack of SHAEF representative to deal with Transportation on national level very marked. Recommend despatch representative G4 immediately....
2. General Situation. Brussels presents better appearance than Paris as utilities are operating. Clothing not so good but quite adequate. Great excitement shown our troops and flowers still being handed out to all and sundry. Restaurants reopened. Theaters reopening.
(a) Flour. Threshing has only just started with result that indigenous stocks will not be available in quantity for a week. Brussels still has about 3 days stocks but badly distributed with result that some districts have been without bread for 3 days. 2nd Army has asked for airlift of 400 tons daily commencing today and all arrangements made for reception. This will cover both Brussels and industrial region Mons-Charleroi where position somewhat unclear. 2nd Army CA now seeing if this cannot be moved in by rail. Recommend you investigate immediately Northern Army Group. Position of other towns not too clear but all seem to have about a week's stock. Threshing dependent on availability Diesel Oil. Reports vary considerably on this but Hermann spot checking. Recommend Armies be instructed to issue locally where needed. Quantity required about 15 tons a day for all Belgium. Recommend further arrangements now be made for having coaster loaded with diesel and ready sail Antwerp whenever freed for handing over to national authorities.
(b) Meat. Scarce but ground now being uncovered will provide adequate stocks. No immediate requirements.
(c) Milk. Brussels distribution now 70 percent requirements.
(d) Fats and Coffee. In view small tonnage recommend importation as soon as military situation will allow. Present stocks nil.
(a) Telephones Brussels not operating. One month to repair damage.
(b) Water apparently all right although some doubt in Ghent and Ostend area. Recommend northern army investigate....
(c) Electricity. Satisfactory Brussels, Antwerp and apparently generally. Average 30 days stock plants. Charleroi power station damaged affecting coal mines. Cissler investigating with possibility completing lines Brussels-Charleroi if damage to plants extensive.
(d) Gas main problem. Coking plants Brussels operative but Charleroi out owing damage to railway bridge. Compressor gas vehicles now large consumers and supply Brussels may have to be restricted to them although sufficient coal for 20 days operating on present reduced scale at Brussels and Antwerp....
5. Coal. Position not yet clear. No flooding appears to have taken place
but problems are:
(a) Lack of pit props and explosives.
(b) Lack of power Charleroi region.
(c) Indecision over transport.
ACTIVE RESISTANCE GROUPS PRESENT A PROBLEM
[An. A, Hist Rpt, FUSA, 1-30 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.11, First Army, Rpt I]
As the Civil Affairs detachment moved forward into Belgium in the wake of the armored col-
umns, they were confronted with a problem they had never met in France-that of co-ordinating several distinctly different Resistance Groups operating actively in the area. The French Resistance Groups had all united under the name of the FFI before the invasion, thereby presenting a single authoritative leadership that could be dealt with easily by the Allies and was in a better position to give aid. Those in Belgium, however, had not yet reached that state in development when the Allies arrived. The Resistance was active, more so than in most parts of northern France-but its efficiency was thwarted by the very fact that there was no control authority to guide its actions, and one group frequently served as a stumbling block for another while both were trying to accomplish the same objectives.
The Armée Secrete, also known as an Armée Blanche, was the chief resistance organization in Belgium, composed entirely of volunteers and led by officers who had formerly been members of the Belgian army. The Allies had been in contact with this organization long before D Day and had dropped arms and other equipment to them to aid their sabotage activity. Although small quantities of arms were dropped to other resistance groups, the Armée Secrete was the one over which the Allies maintained continued direct control, and with which it made plans for the final authority.
The two other resistance groups which were large enough to play a part were: the F.I. (Front de l'Independance), an organization whose members came largely from the laboring class, and which according to Belgian officials, has political ambitions of a Communist nature.
M.N.B. (Mouvement National Belge), which represented the extreme right, and was composed of leading jurists, statesmen, catholics, and others who did not join the F.I. or Armée Secrete.
While the Armée Secrete was purely a military organization, created and used solely for that purpose, the F.1. and the M.N.B. tended to revert into political organizations once the actual fighting had passed on.
From the view point of Allied armies, the resistance groups were extremely helpful, difficulties arising only after liberation. Many Belgian towns were liberated by the resistance, thus facilitating the advance of our troops. They were of immense value in clearing out isolated pockets of Germans in the wake of our forces, and took many prisoners. They were used as guards by Civil Affairs detachments and assisted in the direction of traffic, keeping civilians off the military roads.
The difficulty that Civil Affairs encountered as it settled in Belgium was that of chaos created by many different local resistance organizations, many of which had offered only passive resistance to the Germans, blossoming out with colored armbands once the battle had passed on. Some had fought in their own locality, but were not interested in the national scope of the war once their own town had been liberated. The Armée Secrete moved on, leaving behind it the local factions.
Detachment A-I, E-I, Charleroi, met a resistance problem which was typical of Belgian industrial towns. As it entered with the Third Armored, it found the different resistance groups engaged in rounding up Rexists and other collaborationists-venting all the hatred and contempt of five years. In this activity, they produced a great deal of friction, due to the fact that each resistance group had its own black list, and occasionally the black list of one group would include the name of a person associated with another group. Those who were rounded up and thrown into the Caserne were given no immediate trial and many were severely beaten and subjected to inhuman treatment by the Belgians who were having their revenge, according to reports from the detachment. Bands of resistance members roamed the streets taking into custody any and all who were connected with the Nazi regime.
As soon as the Civil Affairs office was set up, complaints flooded in about relatives being arrested without cause, complaints about terrorism, complaints that Resistance groups were requisitioning food and supplies. Two different groups would attempt to requisition the same item, and the question arose as to who had the authority as well as the guaranty of payment.
The gendarmes, who ordinarily would have taken charge of the situation in their capacity for preserving law and order, were handicapped by lack of arms and ammunition, and therefore could not function efficiently during a time when the man with the gun had the last word.
In the face of these circumstances, the Detachment Commander, Lt. Col. Albert A. Carmichael together with Maj. Raymond M. Criswell, Public Safety Officer, called a meeting of all resistance leaders in the Civil Affairs office. There it was pointed out to the resistance that all the confusion was interfering with the smooth working order of the city, and therefore with the army. They were also told that the brutalities were to stop at once, and that the prisoners in the Caserne were to be granted immediate trials in Belgian courts. Col. Carmichael also told them
that they should do their requisitioning of food and supplies through official channels, to obviate the complaints that were being brought against them. He emphasized the fact that the Detachment was not a ruling body, and therefore it was up to the people themselves to form order in the city.
The situation improved rapidly after the meeting, and the mass round-ups ceased, as did the cruel treatment in the Caserne. Trials and investigations commenced, with result that many persons were freed as being innocent of collaboration. Requisitioning was put through channels, and there were no more seizures of food stocks in Charleroi.
3. SHAEF MISSION COMES TO BELGIUM
APPOINTMENT OF HEAD OF SHAEF MISSION
[Ltr, CofS, SHAEF to Maj Gen George W. Erskine, 15 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 132.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium ]
1. You are appointed Head of the Supreme Commander's Mission to the Belgian Government.
2. You will set up your mission in Brussels at the earliest opportunity. It will be accredited to M. Pierlot, Prime Minister.
3. You will be the Supreme Commander's representative in dealing with the Belgian Government, and your object will always be to obtain agreements which conform with the Supreme Commander's policies.
4. You will be the authorizing and screening agency when Commands subordinate to the Supreme Headquarters wish to make contact with the Belgian Government.
5. The Heads of your staff sections will arrive fully briefed on the Supreme Commander's policies. Changes in policy will be notified to you.
6. You will rely on the political officers of Supreme Headquarters for your political advice.
7. . . . The Civil Affairs component [of your mission] represents an advance section of the Supreme Headquarters Belgian Country Unit, which is available to you as required for Civil Affairs work in Belgium. The G-5 component is at present under the command of 21st Army Group, but you will assume command of it at a time suitable to yourself and Army Group. Colonel [John B.] Sherman, United States Army, has already been selected as your deputy. ♦ ♦ ♦
FIRST REPORT OF SHAEF MISSION
[Cable, SHAEF Mission Belgium to Lt Gen Sir Frederick Morgan, DCofS, SHAEF, 10-17 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 132.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium]
1. The Mission was established by my arrival in Brussels on 10 Sept.
The G-5 Section under Col. Bygott has joined me and is now under my order by agreement with Brig. [T.] Robbins, 21 Army Group. I urgently need the rest of my Mission. My Deputy, Col. Sherman, has joined me but I have nobody for my G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4 Sections, and no administrative commandant or staff. I realize the difficulties but it is extremely inconvenient to work without any staff....
2. Anything which can be done to improve my communications with SHAEF would be most valuable. 21 Army Group lines are very congested....
3. The Belgian Government are most anxious for the rest of their Mission to be brought over from England and also certain Belgian officials including the members of the Belgian Parliament. The latter is most urgent as Parliament meets on the 19th and the absence of their deputies in London is most undesirable as their support is required and their absence might be considered "fishy." . . .
4. Another important requirement from the UK is the Belgian
Government franc note issue. That is, I believe, held by the Bank of England
awaiting release by SHAEF. These notes are required to effect the change in
currency circulation. This as you know is necessary to prevent inflation. It is
highly desirable to make the announcements when the Chamber assembles on the
19th and give immediate effect to the announcement by exchanging the old
circulation for the new.
If the new notes are not here by the 18th this cannot be done. There will then be a serious danger of lack of confidence in the present issue, and this is likely to affect food prices and the whole economy of the country. . . .
5. The arming of the Gendarmes is a matter of considerable urgency. The Belgian Government feel that they might find themselves much embarrassed with large numbers of the various resistance movements under arms but their own
Gendarmerie unarmed. They feel there is a lack of authority behind their orders....
7. The Belgian Government and all officials have been most helpful. The generally excellent spirit of cooperation is as good as ever.... I understand from the Prime Minister that they will appoint Prince Charles the Regent. The Government will then resign and a new Government will be formed. I do not think anybody can say what the composition of the new Government will be. . . . I have impressed on the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior the importance of organizing the food and transport. The transport is really the key to the food situation. The transport could be much improved by central control of civilian vehicles and this is being done. . . . We may have to help over road transport particularly with petrol....
8. The internal communications in Belgium are very bad and almost nonexistent. ♦ ♦ ♦
THE BELGIANS ARE MORE INCLINED THAN THE FRENCH TO RELY ON ALLIED AID
[Personal Impressions of Lt Col Walker Smith, Opns Branch, G-5 SHAEF, to Chief Opns Branch, G-5, Undated, SHAEF files, G-5, 22, Belgium-Nation]
♦ ♦ ♦ The Belgium problem is like the French in that the root of its supply problem is the lack of transportation, and the difficulty of achieving full coal production. In other respects, however, the position is rather different. Civil Affairs officers in coming into Belgium found their welcome more warm hearted than in France; and there is no doubt of the warmth of the sentiment of this somewhat emotional people
for the Allies. On the other hand, they have not exhibited the self reliance of the French. In France the authorities on the whole are only too anxious to assume the burden of its administration in order to demonstrate to the world that they are capable of so doing. The Belgians, on the other hand, preferred to solve their problems with a more generous reliance upon Allied co-operation.
The reason for this is not hard to seek. France has a traditional status of a great power. She is anxious above all to assume this status. Belgium on the other hand, is not so much concerned with the problem of prestige. It is therefore more natural for them to look for continued assistance from the Allies without feeling that any loss of face is thereby incurred.
The result is that, in addition to the supply problem in Belgium, there is a political problem of possibly mounting gravity. The government headed by M. Pierlot is in every sense a compromise government without the fortification of any electoral mandate from the people. It is a compromise between parties-reading from right to left Catholics, Liberals, Socialist and Communist-and a territorial compromise between Walloons and Flemings, headed by an old man who was not desirous of taking office. This government like all partially emigre governments returned on the tide of partial victory is faced with many difficulties. It is faced with the charge of not being wholly conversant with what is taking place within the countries; it is faced with the charge of depressing instead of ameliorating conditions; it is faced with the charge of having an inadequate policy for reconstruction and for maintenance of order. ♦ ♦ ♦
4. TROUBLE IN DISARMING RESISTANCE FORCES IMPERILS THE GOVERNMENT
EISENHOWER THE RESISTANCE GROUPS TO DISARM
[Eisenhower Order of the Day, 29 Sep 44, Summary of Belgian Press Opinion, 3 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I]
The hour of combat has thus passed for most of you as soldiers of the resistance troops. This does not necessarily mean that your services are no longer necessary. The war has been carried into enemy territory and if your government orders you to continue the struggle as soldiers of the
regular armed Belgian forces, I shall be proud to have you again under my command. In the meantime, in my capacity of Supreme Commander, I desire that it shall be made known to members of the resistance groups that those who are no longer in combat or required by orders of Allied military leaders as guards or for other military duties can not do better to aid the military effort than by giving up their arms to their authorities and by waiting for instructions as to the manner in which they can take part in the struggle to come.
BELGIANS REGARD THE ORDER AS TYPICALLY AMERICAN
[La Nation Beige, Summary for 5 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I]
... Others besides ourselves will catch the humor of this lecture; it is not for nothing that Gen. Eisenhower is from Mark Twain's country. It is absolutely American, and now we may expect that the Belgians, who are supposed to have a sense of humor, will respond by deferring without delay to a bit of advice that is not the less imperative for having been given in a fatherly fashion. ♦ ♦ ♦
[La Libre Belgique, Summary for 5 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I]
♦ ♦ ♦ We have only one regret, namely that this measure was not promulgated by the Belgian Government. We are aware that the Government has plenty of excuses. It is still in the first flush of adaptation and numerous tasks require its attention. Notably the police forces which are at its disposal must yet accomplish their organization and armament. But let us not forget that it is the duty of the Belgian authorities, in the first instance, to put their house in order. ♦ ♦ ♦
BELGIANS ARE PRODDED ABOUT FOOD DISTRIBUTION
[Ltr, Gen George Erskine to Lt Gen Paul Tschoffen, Chief, Belgian Mil Mission, 14 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 13 SHAEF Mission to Belgium]
1. I am much concerned over the question of an equitable distribution of foodstuffs throughout Belgium. From my own personal observations and those of officers of my Staff, I am convinced that there is a widespread lack of imagination at all levels, both in administration and distribution, which results in grave shortages of essential foodstuffs in certain areas.
2. Now that it has been established that sufficient stocks of food exist in Belgium to maintain and in some cases improve the existing ration during the next few months, there can be no question of diverting Army transport, which is urgently required for operational purposes, to import food during this period. It therefore becomes a virtual military necessity to prevent any possibility of a breakdown in the distribution of food within the Country, whereby military operations might be seriously hampered.
3. I cannot find that there is any one Government Authority or Coordinating Board for food distribution. The Ministries of Food, Relief and Communications seem to be the most interested parties. The normal peacetime method of leaving distribution to uncontrolled private enterprise leaves a great deal to chance and to black market profiteering. In case of a threatened breakdown, I am not certain with which Government Department I should deal.
4. I am sure the Government are giving the matter their attention. I should like to satisfy myself that the arrangements contemplated will work, and I would be only too glad to attend any meetings on a Ministerial level that you might like to convene.
SHAEF WARNED THAT CIVIL ADMINISTRATION MAY COLLAPSE
[Ltr, Gen Erskine to SCAEF, 21 Oct 44, SHAEF files, G-5, Hist Rcds, 132.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium]
1. By raising the matter of the collapse of the Civil Government in Belgium I do not wish to infer that such is imminent or probable. But if it occurred it would raise a set of circumstances which we ought to be prepared to meet at least in matters of broad policy....
2. The present Belgian Government is faced with certain difficulties. The food situation is acute through lack of adequate distribution. The coal industry is only just commencing to work again and there is a serious shortage of coal to run essential civil requirements. Many men of the Resistance Movement are still maintaining themselves in a state of mobilization and the presence of so many armed civilians-numbering approximately 70,000-tends to overawe the Police and Gendarmes whose accrued strength amounts to approximately 6,000, and by the nature of their duties are dispersed into small parties and detachments. There is very considerable unemployment because industry is closed down, mainly owing to the shortage of coal.
It needs no imagination to see that rioting might easily occur and that the Government forces of law and order might well be insufficient to restore tranquility. If this should occur the Government might resign and . . . in such circumstances there would be very considerable difficulty in forming any Belgian Government. The situation might then further deteriorate requiring military forces to restore order and military assistance to work the essential services.
It might well be that before there was an actual breakdown the Government would come to me and demand certain assistance to avoid collapse. If this assistance was refused or not available the Belgian Government would be able to
lay the blame on SHAEF. To some extent this has already happened by approaches requesting demonstration of troops in certain areas and suggesting that it would be better if we disarmed the Resistance Movements using force if necessary.
3. I have repeatedly pointed out that SHAEF have no intention of assuming any responsibility for the Government of Belgium and that they look to the Belgians to govern themselves. While I feel on firm ground that this is the right and correct attitude and the one most likely to spur on the Belgian Government to the greatest efforts, I feel that there may be a phase when a little practical support might prevent or limit trouble and so avoid a worse situation. ♦ ♦ ♦
EFFORTS TO DISARM THE RESISTANCE PRODUCE A GOVERNMENTAL CRISIS
[Belgian Press Opinion, Summary for 17 Nov 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I]
The Ministerial crisis, which began on Saturday, has steadily worsened since then. Thursday afternoon the two communist ministers, MM. [Albert] Marteaux and [Raymond] Dispy, and the resistance minister, M. [Fernand] Demany, handed in their resignations, although they had voted with the Government in previous decisions to demobilize the resistance forces. The Front de l'Independance, which may properly be considered the radical wing of the resistance groups, marched and countermarched most of the afternoon, but the big meeting, which had been scheduled for the evening at the Cirque Royal and at which M. Demany was slated to speak, was forbidden by the Governor of Brabant. The Government almost fell three weeks ago over the question of food supply and it will now be interesting to see if it can weather this crisis as well.
All the three resigning ministers issued statements to the press explaining their action. Dr. Marteaux said in part: "The Government has several times signified its intention to assimilate the healthy elements of the resistance into the army. It is on the realization of this plan that we cannot agree. Ill will is being shown by certain parts of the military administration. In certain quarters it is obviously desired to destroy first the armed forces of the resistance, next to attack the resistance movement in general and finally to do the same with certain political groups, notably ours. To ask us to be associated in the destruction of the resistance movement, when we know that in principle it is directed against ourselves, is certainly a bit thick. And that is not all; there is the whole question of "epuration" which has not been solved.
MEASURES TO BE TAKEN IN CASE OF A BREAKDOWN
[Directive, SHAEF to CinC, list AGp; CG, 12th AGp; CG, ComZ; Head, SHAEF Mission (Belgium), x8 Nov 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 132.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium]
1. It has been represented to this Headquarters that disorders may arise in Belgium which will be beyond the powers of the civil administration to control. These disorders may require military forces to restore order and military assistance to work essential services. The object of this directive is to lay down how our military interests are to be secured, and the channels of command and communication which are to be followed in dealing with this situation.
2. The sole concern of the military authorities is to ensure that the Allied war effort is not impeded by internal dissension in Belgium. We have no desire to interfere in Belgian internal affairs, but it is our duty adequately to secure our installations and lines of communication, and full precautions must, therefore, be taken.
3. While Army Groups and Communications Zone will be responsible for watching for internal security problems in their respective areas in Belgium, the Supreme Headquarters Mission (Belgium) will be responsible for communicating to them the forecasts of the Belgian Government in this respect. Army Groups and Communications Zone will communicate their information and appreciations to the Mission both for the information of the Belgian Government and for co-ordination to be carried out by the Mission.
Warning of Internal Disputes
4. SHAEF Mission (Belgium) will be responsible for conveying to Army Groups and Communications Zone any information which it received from the Belgian Government on situations which may affect the maintenance of law and order and the preservation of essential services. Army Groups and Communications Zone will be responsible for looking locally for indications of this nature and for keeping in touch with local administrative officers.
5. Precautionary measures, such as redisposition of troops, will be taken by Army Groups and Communications Zone as they consider neces-
sary and on the advice of SHAEF Mission. They will keep SHAEF and the SHAEF Mission fully informed of such action.
Action in Support of the Civil Power
6. No action to support the civil power will be taken unless the local commander is satisfied that military interests are involved.
7. Allied intervention in the preservation of law and order will fall under
two main headings:
a. Where the Belgian Administration calls for military assistance.
b. Where riots, strikes, picketing, etc., make military action necessary in order to safeguard military operations, without requests from the Belgian administration.
It is of the greatest importance that the former of these two alternatives shall be adopted whenever possible and that the latter shall be the extreme exception. The Supreme Headquarters Mission, Army Groups and Communications Zone will therefore encourage authoritative action by the Belgian authorities by maintaining close touch with the Government and the local administrative authorities, by exchanges of information and by tendering advice.
8. It is also of importance that the Belgian Government shall take the first steps in dealing with the troubles by use of the police and gendarmerie. In such circumstances it will be of advantage if evidence of Allied backing is shown by the presence of Allied military police with the Belgian civil power. The Allied military police will not take an active part at this stage.
9. A request for military assistance must be made in writing and will whenever possible have governmental approval from Brussels.
10. Once it has been decided to provide military assistance, the action to be taken is entirely a military responsibility and the military commander alone will give orders. There must, however, always be appropriate representation by the Belgian civil power.
11. Should internal dispute become widespread, priority in
countermeasures will be given to:
a. Preservation of essential military services and security of military installations.
b. Measures required to keep those civilian services working on which the sustenance of the civil population depends.
Command and Control
12. Twelfth and 21st Army Groups and Communications Zone will remain under the direct
command of Supreme Headquarters for action in support of the civil power and for the preservation of facilities essential to operations. Army Groups and Communications Zone will have full discretion in the action they take within the terms of paragraphs 5-9 above. ♦ ♦ ♦
THE GOVERNMENTAL CRISIS MUST NOT INTERFERE WITH MILITARY EFFORT
[Belgian Press Opinion, Summary for i9 Nov 44, SHAEF tiles, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I ]
General Erskine had a conference with the three resigning ministers after which all parties signed the following communiqué: The former ministers state that they do not agree with the methods adopted by the Government for the disarming and integration into the army of the resistance movements. That is one of the reasons for their resignation. They acknowledge Gen. Erskine's statement according to which the necessities of war and military operations exact in point of fact that only those persons can carry arms who have been specially authorized by virtue of signed certificates to that effect issued by Allied military commands. Gen. Erskine asked them to do their best to avoid occurrences which might bring about conflicts with Allied military forces. The three resigning ministers acknowledged this request. They agreed to do all in their power to assure respect for the law and that everything should take place in an orderly fashion. By way of conclusion, Gen. Erskine stated that it was his formal desire that the arms of the resistance movements should be handed back according to the orders of the Government. This desire will be communicated to the resistance movements and the three resigning ministers undertake to see that these movements will avoid any conflict with the Allied forces. ♦ ♦ ♦
RESISTANCE GROUPS AGREE TO HAND OVER THEIR ARMS
[Belgian Press Opinion, Summary for 19 Nov 44 ]
♦ ♦ ♦ Meanwhile the resistance groups met and decided to hand in their arms to the "inter allied military authorities." They acknowledged the communiqués of M. Pierlot, of the Allied High Command and of the resigning ministers and declared that the arms had been given to the movements and not to the men individually. Therefore, they could not turn in their arms for payment of a bonus. "A soldier does not sell his arms." They would hand them in to their responsible chiefs who would make an inventory
and then comply with the directions of the "inter-allied military authorities." ♦ ♦ ♦
THE TROUBLE LIES NOT WITH OUR MINISTERS
[Belgian Press Opinion, Summary for 24 Nov 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I ]
♦ ♦ ♦ Le Peuple, after having once again recited the old story of the vicious circle of domestic problems, says: "All this is only too clear and it is useless to recall that specially interested critics of the government have tried to make us believe that all our ills stem from bad politics and it will suffice to cure them by changing ministers. The best minister in the world, upheld by the will of the masses unanimously, would remain powerless before those difficulties. They arise out of the war which ruined us and they continue because the war continues. It is stupid to wish to remedy them by solutions of principle or propaganda. The situation will only get better with Allied successes and the putting into operation of the port of Antwerp. But time is necessary for that." ♦ ♦ ♦
BRITISH NEWSPAPER QUOTED AS FAVORING A BETTER BELGIAN GOVERNMENT
[Belgian Press, Summary for 29 Nov 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I]
♦ ♦ ♦ It is also with barely concealed delight that Le Drapeau Rouge picks up and quotes an editorial in the London News Chronicle that Saturday's [25 November] demonstrations "bear witness to the unpopularity of the Pierlot Government which maintains its authority with the support of the Allied High Command." The London paper goes on to say that "this Government was never constitutionally elected and now it appears that important patriotic elements repudiate it. It is sustained by the industrial and financial interests, which were not all exempt from collaborationist tendencies, rather than by the Belgian workers. . . . After all, the best method of protecting the lines of communication is to have at the head of the country a government which enjoys popular support. From another angle, the high Command must never allow itself to be so situated that, by the presence of its arms, it confers authority on a government which does not have the support of the Belgian people...." ♦ ♦ ♦
CHURCHILL DEFENDS EISENHOWER'S INTERVENTION
[Gist of Churchill's Remarks in the House of Commons as reported in La Libre Belgique, 10 Dec 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I]
♦ ♦ ♦ In Belgium there would have been a coup d'etat in November against the government of M. Pierlot, which was the only constitutional tie with the past. There were demonstrations and lorries loaded with armed men were despatched from Mons, but orders were given to arrest them and British troops were placed in the streets. These measures have been ordered by Gen. Erskine, who holds his authority from Gen. Eisenhower. I consider the decisions of Gen. Eisenhower absolutely just. Not only have We obeyed Gen. Eisenhower's orders, but we believe they were wise, reasonable and dictated by common sense. We British, about whom it is hinted that we are faithless friends of democracy, have lost between 35 and 40,000 men in the operations for the reopening of the port of Antwerp. Those things too must be considered in the same light as the "friends of democracy" travelling in lorries from Mons to Brussels to unleash a bloody revolution. ♦ ♦ ♦
5. SHAEF MISSION FINDS TROUBLED CONDITIONS IN LUXEMBOURG
SHAEF LUXEMBOURG MISSION NOT WELCOMED BY THE CORPS COMMANDER
[SHAEF Luxembourg Mission, Report for Period 3-15 September 1944, SHAEF files, G-5, 132.o6, SHAEF Mission to Luxembourg]
1. The Luxembourg Mission was activated as of 1100 hours 3 Sep 44.
c. Upon arriving on continent, contact was immediately established with Headquarters, Central Group of Armies, and with Headquarters, First United States Army, through their respective G-5 Sections.
d. In accordance with verbal instructions issued by Supreme Hq, AEF, Main Headquarters, G-5, request was made of the Commanding General, Central Group of Armies, to furnish the necessary items of equipment which the Mission did not have at time of departure from United Kingdom. G-5 of the Central Group of Armies
stated that in view of the fact the Commanding General, First
United States Army, was to be held responsible for transporting the Mission to
Luxembourg, he would also be held responsible for taking care of the needs of
e. Col. Damon Gunn, G-5, First United States Army, upon being informed of his responsibility, immediately initiated action whereby certain transport was procured from captured enemy motor pools....
g. Under date of 9 Sep 44, the Luxembourg Mission departed for Laon, France. The departure was made when the Mission learned that approximately a week or more would be required to procure all of the supplies requisitioned for the Mission by the Commanding General, First U.S. Army. Arrived at Laon 1800 hrs 9 Sep 44.
h. Due to breakdowns of motor transport, it was decided to halt the movement at Charleville, the afternoon of 10 Sep 44, in view of the fact Headquarters, Fifth Corps, United States Army, had moved North into Belgium.
i. Departing from Charleville at 0800 hrs 11 Sep 44, the Mission reported to Headquarters, Fifth Corps, United States Army at 1030 hrs., same date, having been delayed because of bridge destruction and bad river crossings.
j. Official representatives of the Government of Luxembourg, who were members of the Mission, were greatly disturbed over the fact that Prince Felix, the Prince Consort, had been installed as the HEAD of the Government as of 10 Sep 44, a position he was not entitled to fill under their constitution. Their fears were allayed when informed that the error had been rectified and that Prince Jean, the heir, had been brought in late the same date.
k. G-5, Headquarters, Fifth Corps, United States Army, informed the Mission that the Corps Commander was installing Civil Affairs detachments within the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and that the Corps Commander would brook no interference from the Mission, or any other source. Further, that all dealings concerning Civil Affairs matters would be referred to the Corps Commander for action. Army and higher headquarters were criticized for not co-ordinating the movement of the Mission, and further for not acquainting the Corps Commander as to the purpose of the Mission. The Corps Commander had not asked for the Mission, instead, Headquarters, First United States Army, had directed the Corps Commander to receive the Mission and assist in its arriving safely in Luxembourg. It was evident that the Mission was not welcome in the area under jurisdiction of the Fifth Corps, United States Army.
The Luxembourg Mission arrived in the Place de Ville,
Luxembourg City, 1500 hrs 11 Sep 44. Proceeding to the Mairie, contact was
established with Prince Felix and the Burgermeister. The citizens, from the
time the frontier was crossed, cheered continuously....
a. Prince Felix and the Burgermeister expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the arrival of the Mission. The Prince stated that now the Mission was here he was transferring all responsibility to the Mission and would depart for London as soon as practicable.
b. No Civil Affairs Detachments were in Luxembourg when the Mission arrived.
c. The first assignment given the Mission was assisting elements of the Fifth Armored Division, United States Army, in the selection of points to establish road blocks, areas to be patrolled, and other defensive measures necessary to afford protection to the city and the governmental agencies. Enemy stragglers, and enemy units being pinched out by the tactical operations and bypassed, were harassing the villages near the city. Light mortar fire from enemy on outskirts caused some casualties.
d. The first Civil Affairs detachment arrived at approximately 1800 hrs 11 Sep 44.
e. Prince Jean the Heir, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, was contacted approximately 1900 hrs 11 Sep 44.
MISSION FINDS CIVIL LIFE PRACTICALLY AT A STANDSTILL
[SHAEF Luxembourg Mission, Rpt, 3-15 Sep 44]
f. All banks and financial institutions, courts, public
offices, general merchandise stores and shops were closed. Shortage of staple
food permitted no food stores and cafes to remain open. Garages and repair shops
were also closed. This condition had prevailed since 5 Sep.
g. No police force or gendarmerie existed. Members of the Union of Patriots were functioning under self-appointed authority. Population was very orderly.
h. Electricity and water were operating intermittently at but partial capacity.
i. Health conditions were excellent.
j. All communications (telephone, telegraph, radio and postal) were closed. Radio Luxembourg had been damaged by enemy action as well as the telephone exchanges and transmissions system....
k. Transportation was at a standstill except for private cars operated by members of the Patriots Union. Rolling stock of the rail and
tram, or bus systems, were in the yards or dispatch buildings.
1. Industry was completely closed down throughout the entire Duchy.
m. At the time the Mission arrived nothing had been done in regard to economic or administrative rehabilitation, or organization. The enemy had during the period of occupation eliminated every vestige of the former Luxembourg Government. When the enemy withdrew, the officials, civil and economic, left with them taking all records possible and attempting to destroy the balance.
n. In addition to the elimination of the Luxembourg Government, the enemy had installed their own government. The Duchy was redistricted or rezoned and a complete change over made in the functions of the administrative officials. New offices and bureaus were created with a complete change in the keeping of civil, or, what may be termed public or quasi-public records. When a former Burgermeister or public official, either national or local, was found he obtained no aid from the files at hand when such files were located. The heads of many offices, including the private ones, had been out of touch with their respective function or duty over four years, having been replaced by the enemy shortly after the occupation began.
o. The enemy had departed or removed from the Grand Duchy approximately 50,000 persons. Over 30,000 were in Germany (including Austria), some 5,000 in Poland, others were forced into German Army or Todt organization. Majority of those removed were civil servants, both national and local in character. In a country of approximately 250,000 nationals this was a great loss. Without the civil servants and officials to assist, the problem of restoring the Government presented a new angle.
p. In addition to those departed, under Displaced Persons problems came those persons imported into South Luxembourg. This is the industrial centre of the Grand Duchy. As of this date there were approximately 3,000 persons, chiefly Russian, in this area. There was a probable flow from Belgium of 200 or more per day which will constitute a major problem in feeding and providing shelter.
COMBAT FORCES MAKE SOME ILL-ADVISED ARRANGEMENTS
[SHAEF Luxembourg Mission, Rpt, 3-15 Sep 44]
3. A verbal agreement apparently has been entered into
between the Miliz and Union of Patriots (both Luxembourg) [resistance groups], and the military forces occupying the liberated
areas. This was necessary at the time of occupation due to the fact that there
were no Luxembourg Government officials present, nor were the local officials
present, i.e., Burgermeister, civil servants, police and similar.
a. This purported agreement has created considerable confusion and embarrassment. Proclamations have been issued informing them they are free, that in absence of the government the Union is the responsible agency within the Grand Duchy for the preservation of life. All are signed "I' Union."
b. On 14 Sep 44, the Union proclaimed a general mobilization of Luxembourg, and attempted to call up the classes of 18-26 to put into the armed forces. The Mission promptly called a conference of the leaders of the Union and informed them the Mission would not tolerate such action and to withdraw the proclamation....
c. Major George Schommer, Chef de la Mission pour les Affaires Civiles, initiated action whereby the judicial and civil servant systems would be re-established. First meeting of the judiciary group was to be held 1400 hrs 14 Sep 44, and the meeting of chiefs of civil servants was arranged for 1000 hrs 15 Sep 44. The organization of the judiciary and bureaus would immediately begin following the conference indicated....
d. Major Francois Ewsch as head of the Armed Forces of Luxembourg, began recruiting personnel for the military forces, gendamerie, and police force. Personnel were being drawn from the Miliz, Union of Patriots and citizens at large. This included the persons who were formerly in the military forces, gendarmerie, and police force, as well as those who were in the German Army, Belgian, and French resistance movements. The Luxembourg Battery, now a part of the Belgian Army, when made available, will form the nucleus of the military force.
e. Major Guill Konsbruck, aide-de-camp to the Grand Duchess Charlotte, and representing M. [Pierre] Dupong, Prime Minister of the Duchy, inspected the Ducal Palace and other government buildings upon his arrival late in the afternoon of the 12 Sep. Conferences were held with such officials as could be found relative to the establishing of government under a state of siege. ♦ ♦ ♦
LUXEMBOURG MISSION SIZES UP ITS JOB
[SHAEF Luxembourg Mission, Rpt, 3-15 Sep 44]
g. The Mission resolved that its primary functions were the following:
1. To assist in the establishing of a military force, gendarmerie and police.
2. The re-establishment of the judicial system in order that those persons now under arrest could be tried.
3. The placing in office of loyal and efficient civil servants.
4. The opening of banks, both commercial and savings, and provide for the payment of taxes in order that salaries and other government expenses could be met. Taxes to be paid in marks in order that the mark can be withdrawn before financial decrees are issued.
5. Reopen the stores and shops in order that trade and commerce could be resumed, retaining existing price and rationing systems.
6. Restore electricity and water service which were functioning intermittently.
7. Restore transportation service.
8. Restore communications (P.T.T.).
9. Opening of cinemas, provide concerts by the band, and similar forms of entertainment.
10. Establish bureaus for the handling of Displaced Persons and Welfare problems. ♦ ♦ ♦
HEAD OF THE MISSION RECEIVES INSTRUCTIONS
[Ltr, CofS, SHAEF to Brigadier S. O. Jones, 26 Sep 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 132.06, SHAEF Mission to Luxembourg]
1. You are appointed Head of the Supreme Commander's Mission to the Luxembourg Government.
2. You will set up your mission in the city of Luxembourg at the earliest opportunity. It will be credited to Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
3. You will be the Supreme Commander's representative in dealing with the Luxembourg Government, and your object will always be to obtain agreements which conform with the Supreme Commander's policies.
4. You will be the authorising and screening agency when Commands subordinate to the Supreme Headquarters wish to make contact with the Luxembourg Government.
6. In view of the links which existed between Belgium and Luxembourg before the war, you will maintain close touch with the Supreme Headquarters' Mission (Belgium). You must not, however, presuppose that the two countries will wish to enter again into those or even similar agreements.
7. You will rely on the Political Officers of Supreme Headquarters for your political advice.
8. The composition of your mission is shown at Appendix "A" [in above cited file]. The Civil Affairs Section comprises the Supreme Headquarters Luxembourg Country Unit; it is at present in Luxembourg under command of Twelfth Army Group, and you will assume command of it as early as possible.
9. The Chief of your Civil Affairs section will also be Deputy Head of the Mission.
10. There will be no Naval or Air representation on the mission. ♦ ♦ ♦
SHAEF MISSION (LUXEMBOURG) IS DISSOLVED
[Ltr, CofS, SHAEF to Head, SHAEF Mission Luxembourg, et al., 21 Oct 44, SHAEF-SGS files, 322.01-4]
1. At the time when it was decided to install the Supreme Headquarters Mission (Luxembourg), it was considered advisable to make provision for what at that time, appeared likely, namely a rapid advance by the Third Army into German territory. It was, therefore, necessary to pre-suppose that the Headquarters of Armies and even the Advanced Headquarters of Twelfth Army Group would shortly be situated east of the Duchy of Luxembourg with the resultant need for a Mission in Luxembourg which would shoulder the burden of all Governmental contacts and leave Commanders free for their operational responsibilities.
2. As events have turned out, our forward advance has been checked on the Eastern borders of Luxembourg leaving that state in a forward zone of operations. In these circumstances civic matters are so closely related to the requirements of battle that they can best be handled by the Commander on the spot. The presence of a Mission becomes, in these circumstances, redundant.
3. It is, therefore, more satisfactory that the Supreme Headquarters Mission (Luxembourg) be withdrawn and that Headquarters, Twelfth Army Group deal directly with the Luxembourg Administration.
4. The Supreme Headquarters Mission (Luxembourg) will be withdrawn at the earliest possible date, less the Civil Affairs component which is to come under command of the Twelfth Army Group. At a later date when the advance is resumed, a Mission may become necessary, and at that time a detachment from the Supreme Headquarters Mission (Belgium) might assume the responsibilities of governmental contact.
6. ARDENNES COUNTEROFFENSIVE PUTS CIVIL AFFAIRS PERSONNEL TO THE TEST
CONDITIONS BEHIND THE FRONT PRIOR TO GERMAN DRIVE
[Hilt Rpt, G-5, XII Corps, for Dec 44, SHAEF files, G-5 244, Third U.S. Third U.S. Army]
b. Prior to enemy counteroffensive [16 December 1944], civilian life in the Grand Duchy [Luxembourg] had almost returned to peacetime normal. The national government and local administration were functioning efficiently. Civil police and gendarmerie, supplemented by specially appointed police of the "Miliz" were enforcing local law and order. ♦ ♦ ♦
[Hist Rpt, G-5, FUSA, 1-31 Jan 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.11, Hist Reds]
♦ ♦ ♦ The German attack confronted Civil Affairs and Military Government with the most serious problems since D Day. At the moment the enemy struck, numerous difficulties in many communities had just begun to be ironed out; rehabilitation of the war-torn villages and towns was well under way; and the "self-help" program for the civilian population had made remarkable progress, due largely to two factors: a mounting belief among the civilians that for them the war was over, and a gradually abating fear of Nazi reprisals against those who collaborated with the occupying authorities.
The German counter-offensive struck hard at both these impressions. Civilians suddenly realized that, far from being out of the war, they might: be in the thick of it for some time to come. Word of the Wehrmacht return instantly raised the spectre of Nazi vengeance. Rumors adding to the general apprehension were stimulated by the absence of reliable news owing to the lack of electric power and communications; some communities had no official word of the attack four days after it began. Nevertheless, the widespread fear at no time degenerated into panic. ♦ ♦ ♦
MAIN PROBLEMS OF CIVIL AFFAIRS IN A DEFENSIVE OPERATION
[Robinson, HS, SHAEF, G-5, Monograph, CA/MG Activities in German Counteroffensive, Dec. 44, SHAEF files. G-5, 60, CA/MG in Defensive Opns (Ardennes) (Northern Alsace), May 45]
♦ ♦ ♦ As the Germans smashed into Belgium and Luxembourg (and the following month into Alsace), tension became endemic among the civilian population. A recurrence of German atrocities against public officials, resistance members, and possibly the general populace was foreseen. With the return of bitter hostilities to many areas, terror grew acute and, for a time, panic threatened.
Intense fighting produced widespread devastation, disrupted utilities, paralyzed supply machinery, created a mounting list of civilian casualties. Civil administration tottered in places; the excellent state of law and order previously prevailing threatened to lapse. Thousands of inhabitants of the affected area in the liberated countries, as well as in Germany, started to take to the roads in an effort to flee. The danger became so imminent that Allied military operations might be hamstrung by a breakdown in civilian controls.
Military Demands on CA/MG:
Faced with these civilian problems, the tactical troops turned to their G-5 Sections for concrete and immediate help. Never before had CA/ MG been so integral a part of the military team.
The most pressing task for the G-5 Sections at Army, Corps and Division levels during the withdrawal operations was "to prevent any interference with the Allied counter-measures, especially the convoys of troops and supplies that seemed to move on every road every hour of the day and night."
This called for intense activity by almost every CA/MG officer to restrain hysteria among civilians, to control refugees, to keep military routes clear of civilian traffic, and to ensure the maintenance of security. The security question was a vital one in view of the presence of German parachutists and enemy partisans within the hit districts. In some instances the mass evacuation of entire towns became an operational necessity.
Of key importance, too, was the "expeditious billeting of Allied units which had fallen back or were coming up to meet the German advance."
Civilian Demands on CA/MG:
Homeless, hungry, terror-stricken and often wounded, tens of
thousands of people, chiefly friendly, looked to CA/MG for succor.
Detachment had to meet such problems as finding ambulances and hospitals for civilian casualties; locating adequate housing facilities for civilians who had fled, or who had been evacuated from overrun towns. They had to organize police, civil defense, and fire fighting services. They had to restore local civil governments.
With supply routes cut off, the CA/MG detachments were forced to solve food problems, in some cases distributing Allied food stock-military and other. In some instances, they had, at the risk of their lives, to move supplies into a cave between the German and American lines near the village of Welferding where hundreds of people had sought shelter.
More important than all, perhaps, CA/MG officers had to lend strength and reassurance to the officials and population of the localities in which they were assigned. They had to supply the greatest and most difficult of all intangibles courage and stamina-to thousands of frightened people.
Administrative Demands on CA/MG:
For all CA//MG officers, from the highest Army Group level down to the smallest detachment, the withdrawal produced administration problems never before encountered.
Onrushing German advances forced Divisions and Corps repeatedly to move their CP's (Command Posts). Even Army CP's had to be shifted. The result ,vas a serious disruption in communications between G-5 Sections and some detachments. Frequently it was difficult to maintain messenger liaison, let alone telephonic contact.
The detachments in the field often were faced with an acute lack of information concerning the military situation and received their first notice of enemy locations from the approaching sound of shellfire. In some instances they manned the firing line themselves; had to decide when to retreat. Pushed back by the enemy progress, or moved from locale to locale by higher authority, they were required to solve, under most trying conditions, questions of transportation, communications, rations, and billeting.
For ECAD (Europe Civil Affairs Division) administrative headquarters, the problems were equally acute as companies in the field struggled to keep in touch with their wandering units. ♦ ♦ ♦
CIVIL AFFAIRS DETACHMENTS AMONG THE LAST TO LIVE THREATENED AREAS
[Hist Rpt, !USA, 131 Dec 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17-11, Hist Reds, Jkt I]
♦ ♦ ♦ In the opening days of the German offensive, several Civil Affairs detachments in extreme forward areas were forced to evacuate. In almost all cases these detachments remained in their assigned towns until the last possible moment; several instances were reported where detachments left only with the withdrawal of the last tactical troops...
On the northern shoulder of the offensive, detachment 14G2, with jurisdiction over Landkreis Monschau, elected to remain in Monschau despite the threat that the town would be overrun by German troops. After a conference of the detachment officers, the decision to remain in the town was made for the following reasons: (1) The detachment's presence in the town was of considerable assistance to the local tactical unit, which expressed a desire for the detachment to remain. (2) The detachment's departure would be obvious to the local populace, which had already observed the removal of a group and two battalion headquarters from town, and would have a very serious effect on civilian morale, with the possible result of attempted mass evacuation. (3) Military Government would in the future be handicapped in the Kreis, if the detachment departed leaving behind, for the mercy of civilian opportunists and possibly German military personnel, the civilians who had cooperated with the administration....
While the tactical situation in Monschau remained serious throughout the remainder of the month, with the town suffering from constant shelling, the detachment maintained complete control over the population, which remained calm and cooperative. . . .
The detachment in Eupen, augmented by V Corps Provisional Military Government Security Guards, was also a "tower of strength" during the emergency period after the launching of the German offensive.... Areas still farther to the rear, such as Verviers, Spa and Liege, also felt the impact of combat conditions again, with Verviers being subjected to shelling and to intermittent attacks by enemy aircraft. Since several important supply routes passed through Verviers, prompt and careful supervision of civilian circulation and curfew were required to prevent impeding military traffic.
The situation was highly fluid in the first days of the offensive, and detachments in Mallnedy, Stavelot, Marche and Spa evacuated their assigned towns since they were in danger of being overrun. The detachments returned as soon as the tactical situation permitted. ♦ ♦ ♦
ONE CIVIL AFFAIRS DETACHMENT WIPED OUT
[SHAEF, Public Relations Div, Press Release covering Dec 44-21 Mar 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 13.06, Hist Reds]
A complete civil affairs detachment, stationed in a Luxembourg town which was engulfed by the
German midwinter offensive in the Ardennes is now officially reported missing in action.
The detachment, a small one of two officers and five enlisted men working to help restore normal conditions in Clervaux, near the German frontier, fought against the advanced German forces, was besieged and shelled by armoured columns and was last seen defending itself from the Post Office, where its records were being burned....
Reports show that although some civil affairs and military governments detachments were swept from their respective areas of administration and occupation in the first week of the German advance, the Cleraux detachment was the only one lost. ♦ ♦ ♦
CIVIL ADMINISTRATORS ARE EVACUATED FROM FORWARD COMBAT AREAS
[Historical Rpt, FUSA, 1-31 Dec 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.11, Hot Reds, Jkt 1]
♦ ♦ ♦ As a consequence of the German advance, all mayors in Belgian and Luxembourgois towns near the front lines were advised that they would be warned and evacuated in case the situation should become critical. Mayors and other important civil administrators left, or were evacuated by Civil Affairs detachments, in Spa, Butgenbach, Berg, Nidrun, Barvaux, Ciney, St. Vith, Wiltz, Veilsalm and Bastogne, Belgium and Nersch, Comar-Berg, Fels, and Diekirch, Luxembourg. In all cases where officials left cities remaining in our hands, they were replaced, and the substitutes were instructed in the enforcement of curfew and other security regulations as well as in the normal grist of governmental activity.
USE OF INDIGENOUS POLICE
[War Diary of Detachment 18D2 for December 1944, dated 8 Ten .45. SHAEF files, G-5, 624 ECAD ECAR, Second ECAR, Co. D]
i. e. During German counter-attack emergency, beginning. 16 December 1914, all Militz [Miliz] and Auxiliary Police in this Cantone [Capellen] of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg have been mobilized and given authority to arm. They are being used to enforce civilian circulation and curfew regulations. In many cases, they are being used at road junctions to direct traffic. They have been given authority by this unit to confine known German collaborators to their homes and they have been directed to make arrests. One known Nazi collaborator has been arrested and taken to Luxembourg Prison by this Detachment and several others have been arrested by Auxiliary Police. All main roads have been kept clean of civilian traffic and evacuees "frozen" to the towns they now occupy. Identity papers have been issued to the Militz and/or Auxiliary Police used on Night Patrol. Large numbers of American troops have been billeted, under cover in all cases, by this unit during this emergency. This unit has been successful in controlling the civil population, alleviating panic, counteracting rumors, and in keeping the people calm, under control, and subject to our instructions. Curfew from dark to daylight has been imposed and enforced. Passes have been withheld except to the Militz, Police, and other essential persons, such as doctors. Contact and control has been maintained with and through the local police and officials. Close liaison has been maintained with Army units in the Cantone. This unit has arranged temporary, alternative, and supplemental office in another village six miles SW of present office for effective handling of the situation. Stein fort reported bombed by German planes at 1420 this date (23 Dec 44). It is felt this bombing was slight. Civilian doctor requested to report there to care for casualties and wounds inflicted. ♦ ♦ ♦
[Periodic Rpt of Unit D7CI, Malmedy, Belgium, 1 17 Dec 44-4 Jan 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.11, Hist Rpt, First Army Jkt I]
♦ ♦ ♦ When first fire broke out on 23 Dec. as a result of the bombing, the fire house was forcibly entered by Det D7CI and fire-fighting equipment was dispatched to the scene and manned by members of the Detachment and passers-by. During the night, pressure mains supplying water failed completely as a result of bombing and continued shelling and an aspiration pump was drawn by Det. jeep to the fire. Hose lines were laid and planned by Detachment and 291st Engrs. and the fire spread was checked and brought under control. Further bombing on 24 December started new fires and destroyed the second pump. Detachment personnel brought a third pump to the town square and diverted water from city sewer system by partially damming the Warchenne River. Another bombing raid knocked out one Army fire-fighting truck and the third pump, but the one remaining truck kept the fire from sweeping the town. The last available civilian pump was destroyed by enemy shell-fire Dec. 27, 1944. All
fires had been brought under control 28 Dec. 44. ♦ ♦ ♦
ROUNDING UP GERMAN PARATROOPERS
[Log of Det 14G2, 16 Dec 44-15 Jan 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.11, First Army, Jkt I ]
♦ ♦ ♦ 22 December 1944
0830-Capt Goetcheus received a note brought by a civilian from Lt. Col. Baron von der Heydte, German commander of the paratroops launched in the Eupen-Malmedy area. The colonel expressed his desire to surrender to the Military Government Commandant because he was ill and at the end of his physical endurance, and was lying at the house of a local civilian. Capt. Goetcheus arranged with Nostril Red for an ambulance and went to receive his surrender. The officer claims to have been the one who demanded the surrender of the British forces at El Alamein in 1942. ♦ ♦ ♦
FISCAL PROBLEMS IN THE GERMAN DRIVE
[CA Daily Rpt, 124, of Det C2Gi, 13 Jan 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.11 First Army, Jkt 6]
(a) When German activity in the Ardennes began, arrangements were made with the Director of the Banque Nationale de Belgique, for disposing of funds on hand for purposes of security and for protection of the Director. In a meeting with the Director, arrangements were made to either transport the funds to Brussels or to protect him and the Bank by a paper transaction here. He assured us that there was an excellent hiding place in the City, which he told us about, and at which spot he had previously hidden money. Transportation was then provided for him to transfer the funds to the agreed spot. To protect him, we gave him our receipt for 100,000,000 francs of old type bank notes, and for our protection we had him give us a receipt for the same funds. Thus the possibility of these old type bank notes being placed in circulation again by the Germans would have been avoided. Upon request, the Director has submitted a letter relating this incident and giving his suggestions, which amount to previous arrangements for transferring funds or for all or part of funds on hand to be turned over to the Allied Authorities. . . .
CIVIL AFFAIRS PLAY A ROLE IN THE HEROIC DEFENSE OF BASTOGNE
[Robinson, CA/MG Activities in German Counteroffensive, Dec 44]
♦ ♦ ♦ The epic defense of Bastogne includes a story of unequaled CA/MG gallantry and effectiveness.
The Civil Affairs Section of Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division, under Captain Roger F. Hull, moved into Bastogne on December 18th, the day before the CA detachment stationed in the city was evacuated. On the 10th, the CA Section of the 101st Airborne Division, headed by Captain Robert S. Smith, arrived. The two worked hand-in-glove from then on.
Some 2000 of the normal 5000 civilian population fled the city before the encirclement was completed on the 10th. Control of the 3000 who remained was, of course, of major military importance.
The city was left without any civil administration for three days after the mayor and many other officials together with the local gendarmes and maquis fled on the 10th. A new mayor and 17 auxiliary police were appointed on the 23rd, all of whom proved "very helpful in providing billets for refugees, burying civilian dead, supervising civil food distribution, and procuring needs for the army." The new administration, however, re-established only the Mayor's office, Ravitaillement and police, and those solely on an emergency basis.
The horror of war was fully felt in Bastogne. On the 18th, the city's power source fell into enemy hands and electric service was discontinued. All governmental functions, as well as trade and industry, ceased concurrently with the mass flight of civilians on December 18th and 19th. Telephone and telegraph service was suspended on December 19th by order of the CAO's.
Shelling of the city started on the 10th; bombing on the 24th. These, together with resultant fires, damaged 99 percent of the city's buildings by the end of the month. Some 30 percent, including two hotels, were totally destroyed....
Although the Chief and three regular members of the Fire Department remained in the city, efforts to reorganize this group were ineffective since their equipment was incapacitated by the freezing weather....
Luckily, the local food supplies were adequate for the inhabitants of Bastogne and some 6oo refugees from nearby villages who were fed and housed by local authorities through Catholic Church organizations. As a matter of fact, for one day, the army itself drew on civilian supply meat and small quantities of other items. Fuel supply was ample, too, since requirements were drastically cut by civilians staying in large groups in air-raid shelters.
The CAO's devoted most of their efforts, of course, to the control of civilian movement, the Combat Command B reported, saying, "Hundreds of civilians attempting flight and impeding essential military traffic were removed from the streets daily, and impounded wherever they were apprehended. Later each day, they were returned to their home under escort, and were given orders to remain there. At the beginning of the period, all civilian circulation was forbidden, except under military escort. On December 23rd, 1944, the curfew was lifted from 1200 to 1400..." ♦ ♦ ♦
CA personnel also contributed to the rescue of the Bastogne defenders. When the 6th Armored Division was ordered to attack the German forces besieging the city, Major R. S. Wiesenberger, 6th Armored Division CAO, helped immeasurably at the Hablay-la-Neuve base in obtaining passes for railroad industrial workers and food handlers, in establishing security measures, and doing the myriad of things which enabled the division to move speedily, and successfully, on its succoring mission. ♦ ♦ ♦
PRINCIPLES ESSENTIAL TO CIVIL AFFAIRS DURING WITHDRAWAL OPERATIONS
[Lt Col Azel Hatch, G-5, CA Sec, VIII Corps, Periodic Rpt, 17-23 Dec 44, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.16, 12th AGp ]
8. Pertinent Comments
A. Principles found to be essential for operations of CA
activities during withdrawal operations:
(1) Communications must be maintained. Liaison by messenger, when telephone communication is lacking. Report to next higher echelon frequently.
(2) CA detachments should be deployed in depth.
B. Primary missions for CA detachment during withdrawal:
(1) Prevent hysteria among civilians. Spike rumors. Attitude and bearing displayed by CA personnel exerts powerful influence on population.
(2) Prevent civilian circulation, except for only essential occupations (doctors, railroad workers, etc.).
(3) Establish rigid curfew on approval of tactical unit.
(4) Keep military routes clear of civilian traffic. Local police or Gendarmerie may be augmented for this purpose. Motorized road patrols by personnel speaking native tongue. Loud speaker systems excellent. Post routes with signs.
(5) Have critical bridges and utilities guarded.
(6) Make complete survey of billeting facilities. ♦ ♦ ♦
7. NEW GOVERNMENT FORMED IN BELGIUM
GENERAL SURVEY OF THE POLITICAL SITUATION
[Jt Intel Comm., SHAEF Mission (Belgium), Rpt, Undated but Presumably in Jan 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 132.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium]
The present political crisis in the country has come as a surprise to no one, and certainly not to either this sub-division, or P.W.
For the cause of the crisis, it is not necessary to look further than the two commodities:-Food and Coal.
The hardships, due to lack of both, which the population has been asked to suffer have been such that they have probably never before experienced. The absence of the latter was especially felt during the recent cold spell. The population is aware that the civilian administration of the country is the responsibility of the Government, and as four members of it, including the Prime Minister, were members of the ill-reputed "Emigre" Government in London, it was viewed with a certain amount of distrust from the start.
The Communist inspired troubles of November last were successfully met by the Government's somewhat surprisingly firm action, which had the support of the average Belgian, who can always be relied upon to act similarly if he can be convinced that anti-national interests are at work.
The fact that the Allies intervened at the criti-
cal stage had, however, left him under the impression that the Pierlot Government has the support of the Allies, and criticism which was, at one time, wholly directed towards the Government, is now, to a certain and increasing extent, being aimed at the Allies.
Six months after the liberation of the country, the man in the street is frankly bewildered. He is asked to suffer restrictions and hardships which he thinks should not be necessary had the country been administered by a competent and energetic government, and if the Allies had shown more interest in their problems.
He will support most things if he is convinced that it is necessary to the war effort, but he needs to be told the situation and feels that he is not being told enough either by the Government or by the Allies.
All parties including the Communists are anxious to help the Allies to win the war in the shortest possible time. They cannot understand why there should be more than 300,000 unemployed in the country, or why more young Belgians are not being enrolled in the Belgian Forces. They see their steel factories closing down, for lack of coal, when they should be working full-blast for the Allies, and compare the German efforts to utilize their industry to the apparent lack of interest, in this respect, shown by the Allies. They want to be told-and told by the Allies-why it is still more than ever necessary for them to pay fabulous prices on the black market if they want to live.
If the food is in the country, procurable only at Black Market prices, then it should be made available to the population through an equitable distribution at controlled prices. If the Government is incompetent to do so, then the Allies should step in and organise distribution and if it is necessary to import certain quantities, surely the war situation would justify the release of a few Liberty ships for such purpose, since the BBC during the occupation repeatedly told them that the Government in London had bought up large supplies for distribution when the country was liberated. ♦ ♦ ♦
THE SOCIALISTS RESIGN FROM THE PIERLOT GOVERNMENT
[Belgian Press Opinion, Summary for 3 Feb 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I ]
The Government crisis is now in the open, with the resignation of the socialist ministers ([Paul H.] Spaak, Foreign Affairs; [Achille] Van Acker, Labour; [Ernest] Rongvaux, Communications; [Leon] Delsinne, Supply; [Herman] Vos, Public Works). 2 Some regret is expressed that the socialists torpedoed the Government in an unparliamentary fashion. However, the socialists have agreed and the Prime Minister will submit an explanation before Parliament on Tuesday [6 February]. Le Soir points out: "It can be said that the decision of the bureau of the socialist party was a dramatic stroke. In fact, it had not been expected that it would enjoin the socialist ministers to resign since some of its members had submitted a demand for questions. On the other hand, it seems as though M. Pierlot had wanted to resign after this decision of his socialist colleagues. But the Cabinet Council decided not to resign at once but to follow parliamentary tradition, that is, to appear before the Chamber." ♦ ♦ ♦
A NEW GOVERNMENT IS FORMED UNDER VAN ACKER
[Belgian Press Opinion, Summary for 12 Feb 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 17.02, SHAEF Mission to Belgium, Final Rpt, pt. I]
The new Government under the premiership of M. Van Acker has been formed since the catholic party evidently agreed at the last moment to sit in a cabinet with the communists....
There are six members of the Pierlot cabinet who have remained in M. Van Acker's team. M. Van Acker, himself, has undertaken the specific responsibility of the coal problem in addition to his duties as Prime Minister. At his old post of Labour is a new Minister, M. [Leon E.] Troclet, a socialist. M. Spaak stays on at Foreign Affairs, M. Rongvaux at Communications, M. Vos at Public Works-all these are socialists. M. [Edmond] Ronse, the only catholic from the Pierlot team to continue, takes over Information where he had held Interior. M. [Paul] Kronacker, liberal, is listed for Importations specifically instead of without portfolio. The communist Dr. Marteaux returns to his old post of Public Health; he was one of the ministers who resigned out of protest in November.
The other communist in the Government, is M. [Edgar] Lalmand, secretary of the communist party and chief editorial writer for the Dropeau Rouge. He takes the difficult post of
Supply, and it may be interesting to see him get a taste of his own medicine as well as to watch the reaction of his own paper.
BY MARCH CIVIL ADMINISTRATION IN BELGIUM IS STABLE
[The Gen Bd, USFET, Study 33, P. 59]
On 7 February 1945 an order was distributed to Corps, Divisions and Civil Affairs Detachments of the First U.S. Army to prepare immediately for turning over full responsibility for governmental affairs to the civil authorities, in order that civil affairs personnel might he made available for a quick entrance into Germany and the assumption of Military Government functions. This preparation entailed the closing of civil affairs projects under way, but it was suggested that civilian plans be drawn up promptly so that the local authorities might have the benefit of advice from Civil Affairs officers. When the First U.S. Army's offensive rolled into Germany in March, civil administration in Belgium was stable and working efficiently. ♦ ♦ ♦
8. ALLIES STRAIGHTEN OUT THEIR REPRESENTATION IN LUXEMBOURG
THE LUXEMBOURG "MISSION" OCCUPIES AN ANOMALOUS POSITION AS CA DETACHMENT
[SHAEF Mission Luxembourg, Final Rpt, 4 Sep 44-14 Jul 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 132.06, SHAEF Mission Luxembourg, Jkt 2 ]
d. From 21 Oct 44 until 4 April 45 the Mission continued under the command of 12 AGp, being known first as "Headquarters, Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment, Twelfth Army Group," and later as "Headquarters, Civil Affairs Detachment, Twelfth Army Group." . . . During the whole of this period the position of the Mission was anomalous in the extreme: a Mission which was no longer a Mission and a Detachment which was not a detachment, it was operationally under the control of 12 AGp and administratively dependent on the U.S. and British elements of SHAEF Mission (Belgium) with which it had ceased for the time being to have any other connection. Its members moreover were from time to time augmented by the attachment of Officers and EM from 12 AGp, and the constant efforts of the Heads of the Mission to obtain a consolidated WE/TO being of no avail, the Mission remained an administrative jigsaw puzzle throughout this period.
e. The climax of administrative chaos was reached when, on 4 April 1945, the Head of the Mission was informed by the ACofS, G-5, ETOUSA, that the Army boundary having moved forward the Mission had passed from the control of 12 AGp to that of ComZone. . . . The matter was then satisfactorily concluded by the appointment of General Erskine as Chief of the SHAEF Mission to Luxembourg, with Colonel [Frank E.] Fraser as Deputy Chief, the Mission in Luxembourg being able to rely on the Mission in Belgium in G1-G 4 matters. ♦ ♦ ♦ [See below, letter GS [CofS], SHAEF, to Gen. Erskine, 24 April 1945.]
GRAND DUCHESS CHARLOTTE RETURNS
[Hq CA, 12th AGp, Daily CASUM 68, 19 Apr 45, SHAEF files, G-5, 132.06-B, SHAEF Mission to Luxembourg, Jkt 2]
1. HRH The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg returned to her country from England on 14 Apr, landing at an airstrip near the Capital....
2. Her Royal Highness, who was accompanied by Brigadier HRH the Prince of Luxembourg, HRH Prince John, HRH Princess Alix, M. [Joseph] Bech, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Major Konsbruck, Minister of Agriculture and Supplies, M. [Andrew J.] Clasen, Luxembourg Minister to the UK, and Colonel Anthony D. Biddle, Chief EACS [European Allied Contact Section], representing the Supreme Commander, was met on arrival by the Ministers of the Government, the Head and Deputy Head of the Mission....
9. On 17 Apr Their Royal Highnesses Princess Elizabeth, Princess Marie Adelaide, Princess Marie Gabrielle and Prince Charles arrived from the UK, driving ambulances in a convoy of vehicles presented to the Grand-Duchy by the British Red Cross Society. The Party was escorted from Le Havre by two officers of the Mission, and was met at the frontier by the Head and Deputy Head and Major Konsbruck.
11. The return of the Grand Duchess has been received by the population with an enthusiasm which has continued throughout the period un-
der review, crowds forming several times daily outside the Palace to acclaim Her Royal Highness....
QUESTION OF REPRESENTATION AT LUXEMBOURG
[Staff Study Prepared by ACofS, G-3, SHAEF, for CofS, 23 Apr 45, SHAEF-SGS files, 322.01-47]
1. Since the disbandment of the SHAEF Mission (Luxembourg) contact with the Luxembourg Government has been maintained through the Headquarters, Twelfth Army Group. The advance of the Twelfth Army Group gives rise to the question of the Supreme Commander having appropriate representation with the Luxembourg Government.
2. In October 1944, when the Luxembourg Mission was withdrawn the Civil Affairs component was left at the disposal of Twelfth Army Group and became known as the Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment; subsequently, after the advance of Twelfth Army Group beyond Luxembourg, it was placed temporarily under command of Communications Zone, pending final decision of the subject matter by this Headquarters.
3. Personnel of the Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment are included in the WE/TO of the SHAEF Mission (Belgium). They were detached from the G-5 component of the Belgian Mission for the purpose of forming the Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment. However, as such, they have never been under the command of the Head, SHAEF Mission (Belgium).
4. The possible solutions to the problem of future SHAEF representation
appear to be:
a. Retain the Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment under command of Communications Zone.
b. Place the Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment directly under command of SHAEF.
c. Reconstitute SHAEF Mission (Luxembourg) incorporating therein the Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment.
d. Give the Head of the SHAEF Mission (Belgium) the additional responsibility of assuming governmental contacts with Luxembourg and command of the Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment.
Course a. above is not desirable because the Communications Zone is solely U.S. Headquarters. Course b. provides, on other than G-5 matters, only a remote and impersonal contact. Course c. would be most acceptable to the Luxembourg Government but would involve unwarranted personnel and equipment commitments. Course d. is the most economical and practical and is the one visualised by the Chief of Staff's letter ♦ ♦ ♦ [following].
THE HEAD, SHAEF MISSION (BELGIUM), IS MADE SCAEF'S
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE LUXEMBOURG GOVERNMENT
[Ltr, CofS, SHAEF, to Gen Erskine, 24 Apr 45, SHAEF SGS files, 322.01-4]
I. In addition to your duties as Head, Supreme Headquarters, AEF Mission (Belgium) you are hereby designated as the Supreme Commander's representative to the Luxembourg Government.
2. The existing Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment is placed under your command to assist you in conducting Luxembourg affairs.3 Colonel F. E. Fraser, Head of the Luxembourg Civil Affairs Detachment is designated as your Deputy for Luxembourg. Matters other than Civil Affairs will be handled by your present staff in such a way that they are kept separate from Belgian Affairs.
4. You will be the authorizing and screening agency when commands subordinate to the Supreme Headquarters wish to make contact with Luxembourg Government. However, on administrative matters a subordinate Headquarters, having established an original contact through you, is permitted to deal with the appropriate branch of the Government with or without your continued participation or assistance, though you must be kept informed of the general course of the more important negotiations. When matters of policy arise or when problems reach a ministerial level you will be the only channel between commands subordinate to Supreme Headquarters and the Luxembourg Government. ♦ ♦ ♦
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Last updated 18 February 2004