PARIS (Apr. 16)
The French Government today issued decrees imposing military obligations on refugees and “stateless” persons in France, and ordering foreign organizations to obtain Interiror Ministry permits to continue their existence.
The measure for utilization of aliens in defense was received with joy by refugees and “stateless,” Jewish and others, who had long since expressed readiness to serve France in wartime. The registration decree was greeted by Jewish circles, which expressed hope that it would be used to curb Nazi activities and suppress anti-Semitic propaganda.
The related problems of what to do about the 3,000,000 aliens in France in the event of war and how to check subversive activities by foreigners had been under consideration by the Government for some time and were the subjects of inter-ministerial discussion last week, when the new measures were decided upon.
The decree for wartime utilization of aliens, published in the Journal Official, imposes on the stateless and refugees, men as well as women the same military and other obligations covering French citizens. The measure provides:
(1) All foreigners between the ages of 18 and 40 will be admitted into French military formations.
(2) All stateless persons and those enjoying asylum in France are subject to the same military and other obligations which are imposed in wartime upon Frenchmen. They can be mobilized individually or collectively, according to nationality, profession and age.
(3) Stateless and refugee males between the ages of 20 and 48 are subject to the same conscription laws as Frenchmen and can be recruited in peacetime for the same periods as Frenchmen.
(4) Certain aliens may be prohibited from residing in certain areas and secluded into certain sections.
(5) Foreigners disobeying these laws may be punished like Frenchmen.
The decree regarding foreign organizations gives all alien groups, political, philanthropic, athletic, artistic or cultural, one month to secure Interior Ministry permits to continue their activities. The measure provides:
(1) No new foreign organization in these categories may be established without an Interior Ministry permit.
(2) Existing organizations must apply to the Interior Ministry for a permit within one month.
(3) Those to whom permits are refused must cease their activities immediately and liquidate within a month.
(4) Under the term “foreign organizations” are included those whose headquarters are abroad, those headed by foreign nationals in France and those whose membership includes 25 per cent aliens.
The War Ministry today conferred with officials of other ministries on application of the first decree.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Jewish Emigrants decided to participate in a campaign among foreigners for raising a fund to contribute several airplanes to the Government as an expression of readiness to fight for France. A committee called “Foreigners in France to the Aid of Their Second Fatherland” has been formed with the aim of rallying foreigners to cooperate in presenting the plane squadron. At a meeting of the committee, the president, M. Raffalovich, invited all foreigners living — or having lived formerly — in France, regardless of race, color or creed, to join in the endeavor. He said that a number of persons had signified to the committee their intention of enrolling in the French army.