Helen Kirkpatrick – Weygand yields (6-7-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (June 7, 1941)

By Helen Kirkpatrick

Miss Helen Kirkpatrick’s important cable dispatch below confirms the contents of John T. Whitaker’s exclusive story from Lisbon yesterday, which revealed for the first time the deal made by French Vice-Premier Darlan with the German conquerors.

London, June 7 –
Vichy’s decision to collaborate with Germany was reached by the entire Vichy cabinet and France’s North African commander-in-chief, General Maxime Weygand, Thursday afternoon after three days of almost continuous sessions during which General Weygand had consistently refused to consider acceptance, according to the information reaching London.

General Weygand’s decision to accept full collaboration with the Axis is believed here to have been a shock to Washington, where it was firmly believed that American food and possibly arms for General Weygand’s forces would enable him to maintain his resistance to the demands pressed on him by the Germans and French Vice-Premier Darlan.

Reluctance emphasized

General Weygand was only brought around to Admiral Darlan’s point of view after many hours of conversation with Chief of State Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain and other members of the Vichy government, it was said here.

General Weygand is now prepared – reluctantly, it must be assumed – to accept all of Germany’s demands. The London Daily Telegraph this morning carries a circumstantial story of the Weygand denunciation of Darlan’s policy as “cowardly and useless.” This leaves the impression that General Weygand has refused to collaborate. This account is accurate as far as it goes, but the day following General Weygand’s denunciation, he was persuaded by Marshal Pétain of the necessity of accepting the terms put forward by the Germans.

Nazis get French bases

Vichy has now agreed to place at the disposal of Germany all French naval and air bases in France and throughout the French Empire. The most notable bases which are named in the Vichy-German agreement are: Dakar, Casablanca, Algiers, Villefranche, Sète and Beirut. French heavy industries are to become part of the German war production machine under German orders.

Other provisions cover territorial arrangements between Germany and France to become effective at the end of the war. Alsace and Lorraine and Pas-de-Calais are to be included in the Reich, together with Holland and part of Belgium. Germany’s occupation of the northern and western coasts of France is to terminate at the conclusion of the war but five French departments around Alsace and Lorraine are to be occupied for 20 years after the war by Germany.

Government to Paris

In return, France is to receive the French-speaking regions of Belgium and the French government is to be allowed to return to Paris. All agricultural workers and skilled laborers are to be released from German prison camps immediately and the French war indemnity is to be reduced. The principal concession to France is Germany’s agreement that Italian claims against France are to be dropped.

There is another clause which has a bearing on the war. The French are to be given “technical help” in ridding the French colonies of General Charles de Gaulle’s “Free French” forces and influences. It is not known whether the imminent attack on de Gaulle’s forces in Chad by Senegalese troops will be assisted by the Germans or not.

The United Press insists not.

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