Washington (Mar. 8)
Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles today hailed Gen. Henri Giraud’s abolition of the anti-Jewish laws in North Africa imposed by the Vichy regime. He declared that this act is a return to the principles of individual liberty that made France great. These principles, he emphasized, are based on complete individual liberty of every kind for all inhabitants of the country.
(The abolition of the anti-Jewish laws in North Africa was announced last night over the Morocco radio which reported that Gen. Giraud had issued a statement declaring that no decree issued by the Vichy regime is valid in French Africa. His statement was followed by an announcement that the department dealing with Jewish affairs had been abolished and that a minister who had republished in the Official Gazette of Algeria two anti-Jewish decrees from the Official Gazette of the Vichy Government had been dismissed.)
The news of Gen. Giraud’s action, Mr. Welles said, has been received here with the utmost measure of gratification. Gen. Giraud’s blunt order outlawing the Vichy anti-Jewish laws was also enthusiastically received in various other Washington circles. It is felt here that Giraud’s announcement that a decree signed in Vichy is not valid in North Africa and his dismissal of an official who tried to legalize these laws, can be interpreted as an indication of better things to come.
The Federal Communications Commission here issued for publication the full text of Gen. Giraud’s announcement as broadcast last night over the Morocco radio. It reads: “The French Civil and Military High Command announces: The Journal Official of Algeria of March 2, 1943, has published two decrees of Oct. 19, 1942, made in Vichy, relative to the status of Jews who are natives of Algeria. This publication was made without my authority. It emanates from the Directorate of Reserved Affairs of the Government General and I immediately order its suppression. M. Bouny, Director of the Government General, has been relieved of his functions. Copies of the Journal Official of March 2, 1943, are withdrawn from circulation. A decree signed in Vichy is not valid in French Africa. The German occupation has interrupted the free exercise of national sovereignty. We must draw the logical consequences. All that is necessary will be done.”