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ADMIRAL LEAHY'S LETTER TO PETAIN

PRODUCED AT TRIAL Believed Marshal Devoted To French People N.Z. Press Association—Copyright Rec. 11 a.m. PARIS, Aug. 1. A letter from Admiral Leahy, former United States Ambassador to Vichy, was before the Court to-day in the Petain treason trial. It affirmed Admiral Leahy's belief that Petain was devoted to the welfare of the French people. The letter, dated June 22, 1945, was read to the Court. "Your note dated June 10 was delivered to me to-day by a mutual acquaintance," it stated. "I learn from it the sad predicament in which you find yourself as the result of developments in Europe. You will understand that it is impossible for me as Chief of Staff to the President of the United States to become involved in any degree in any internal controversy in France in which you may find yourself enmeshed. In every instance when you failed to accept my recommendation to oppose the Axis Powers you stated the reason was

that by such positive action you would bring additional oppression on your people from the invaders. Your principal concern was the welfare and protection of the helpless people of France. It is impossible for me to believe that you had any other concern. However, in all honesty I must repeat my opinion as expressed to you at that time that a positive refusal to make concessions to Axis demands, while .it might have brought increased hardship to the French people, would in the long view have been advantageous to France." Weygand and Armistice Again to-day the principal witness at the trial was General Weygand. Erect, soldier-like and unrelenting, despite his illness, he refused the judge's offer of a chair until he was on the point of fainting. Before recalling General Weygand the President of the Court said he wanted to tighten up the proceedings to avoid discursive statements, which were beside the point. The testimony during the last two days of the hearing had turned into a search for those who were responsible for the defeat of France, with military and civilian witnesses throwing the responsibility back and forth. General Alphonse Georges, General Weygand's right-hand man, said in evidence that France received insufficient support from her Allies. He agreed with General Weygand's decision to seek an armistice. Mr. Churchill told him in 1944 that the Franco-German armistice served Britain well because it prevented Hitler from going on to North Africa and Egypt.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450802.2.58

Bibliographic details

ADMIRAL LEAHY'S LETTER TO PETAIN, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 181, 2 August 1945

Word Count
407

ADMIRAL LEAHY'S LETTER TO PETAIN Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 181, 2 August 1945

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