PARIS (Mar. 26)
France tomorrow may become the first country in Europe, Soviet Russia excluded, where anti-Jewish propaganda in the press is illegal and punishable. A decree to this effect is scheduled to come up at a Cabinet session presided over by President Albert Lebrun and will be passed if the Cabinet completes its agenda. If the decree is not discussed Monday, it will be passed at the next session.
The executive committee of the French Press Association approved the projected decree, which not only declares racial and religious offenses in newspapers illegal, but also provides that all newspapers receiving funds from abroad must declare the source and the amount received. Some reactionary newspapers, led by Le Jour, opened a campaign against the measure, asserting that it “menaces freedom of the press.” This campaign however, was vigorously countered in a statement by Justice Minister Marchandeau author of the decree. Emphasizing that the decree was important to French national interests, M. Marchandeau declared: “None will succeed in distracting me from the duty of strengthening our national unity in every possible way. This will not affect journalistic freedom.”
The majority of French newspapers are sympathetic to the decree. L’Oeuvre bitterly criticized Le Jour for initiating the campaign against it, declaring anti-Semitic propaganda in France was hitherto silly but could now become dangerous since it aimed to create internal strife among citizens on the pretext that some have different color of hair or another religion. “As with any danger, it must be prevented by declaring it criminal,” L’Oeuvre concluded.