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General Giraud's Speech

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 17 March 1943

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(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make about General Giraud's recent speech.

His Majesty's Government warmly welcome General Giraud's speech, in particular his repudiation of the armistice and his abolition of French legislation subsequent to 22nd June, 1940, as well as his decision that the municipal assemblies and the Conseils Généraux will resume their traditional rôle with their members elected by the people, and his abrogation of all racial distinction between native Moslem and Jewish inhabitants.

In order to achieve the liberation of France through victory, Frenchmen everywhere must be united, and above all, all Frenchmen outside the Nazi power should act loyally against the common enemy without a day's needless delay. In view of General Giraud's speech and the National Committee's memorandum, it now appears that no questions of principle divide these two bodies of Frenchmen.

I have informed the United States Government that I was proposing to make this statement, and I have reason to believe that they are in entire agreement with it.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether any steps are being taken to make the text of General Giraud's speech known to the people of France?

I will mention the matter to the Minister of Information. I do not know what has happened, but I think that undoubtedly action has been taken.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is General de Gaulle's intention to accept General Giraud's invitation to visit him?

I do not know at the present time, because I understand the invitation has gone through General Catroux, as head of the Mission, and General Catroux is at present moving about, but I trust that a meeting between the two Generals will be arranged in due course.

Will that mean that the whole of the prisoners in North Africa will now be released?

I have nothing to add to the statement which I gave earlier in reply to another Question.