Algiers (Mar. 14)
Gen. Henri Giraud, French High Commissioner of North Africa, announced here today that “laws of racial discrimination no longer exist.” An ordinance has been promulgated abrogating these laws and all decrees relating to them, Gen. Giraud stated.
At the same time, he announced that the Cremieux Law of 1870, which granted French citizenship to the native Jews of Algeria, had also been abrogated, thus abolishing “distinctions between Mohammedan and Jewish inhabitants” of Algeria. (At the time of the issuance of the Cremieux Law, French citizenship was offered both to Jews and Mohammedans in Algeria, with the provision that persons assuming citizenship would accept the laws of the French Republic. The Mohammedan population refused to avail itself of the privilege because the French laws ran counter to its religious customs and traditions. The Cremieux Law was abolished by Vichy in October, 1940. General Giraud’s announcement today makes the abrogation valid under the present regime.)
Annulment of these racial laws or decrees, Giraud said, “re-establishes the French tradition of human liberty and marks the return of the principle of the equality of all men before the law. Without this equality there can be no French liberty. This annulment wipes out the mark of degradation which in their work of persecution the Nazis wished to inflict upon France by forcibly associating her with their own perversity. In the same spirit all racial discrimination is abolished.”
Explaining his abrogation of the Cremieux Law, Gen. Giraud stated that: “Mohammedans must not listen to self-interested advice which is lavished upon them by German and Italian propaganda. Germans like Italians too often have shown how they are accustomed to treat non-Aryans for their word to be accepted. Relations of Mohammedans and Jews must be those of men who from the economic point of view supplement each others’ efforts, the latter in workshops, the former on the land. Neither is superior to the other, since France has guaranteed to both security and peace.”