BERNE, Switzerland (Dec. 16)
Little change in the Vichy Government’s policy regarding the Jews can be expected as a result of the unseating of Pierre Laval and appointment of Pierre-Etienne Flandin as Foreign Minister, informed observers said today.
It was recalled that only last week Flandin made derogatory remarks about the Jews. In an interview with the Paris newspaper Le Matin, quoted by the German radio, the rightist leader asserted that “German-Jewish immigrants and the British intelligence” had misled the Daladier government into war against Germany. He blamed “that clique of emigres” for putting aside the men who favored a peaceful settlement of the Polish dispute.
At the same time, Vichy reports said that Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, Chief of State, held the view that France must turn to her nationals for leadership in all fields, but that aside from the domain of public service the Jews should be treated “on their merits” as though they were non-Jewish Frenchmen.
One of the probable effects of the new situation is that the “war guilt” trials. planned for next month in Riom, will be abandoned, since Laval was the moving spirit behind the trials. One of the principal defendants in the trials was to be ex-Premier Leon Blum.