Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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German Foreign Minister (Count Joachim von Ribbentrop), Authority of Nazi Ambassador to Vichy France Otto Abetz, 3 August 1940

After the armistice with Germany, part of France was occupied, while until 1943 the remaining portion was ruled by a government based at Vichy and largely subservient to Germany. Otto Abetz, the Nazi ambassador to France, effectively functioned as a proconsul, supervising the nominally independent Vichy regime.

In answer to a question of the Quartermaster General, addressed to the High Command of the Armed Forces and transmitted by the latter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Führer has appointed Abetz, until now Minister, as Ambassador, and on my report has decreed the following:

I. Ambassador Abetz has the following functions in France:

1. To advise the military agencies on political matters.

2. To maintain permanent contact with the Vichy Government and its representatives in the occupied zone.

3. To influence the important political personalities in the occupied zone and in the unoccupied zone in a way favorable to our intentions.

4. To guide from the political point of view the press, the radio, and the propaganda in the occupied zone and to influence the responsible elements engaged in the molding of public opinion in the unoccupied zone.

5. To take care of the German, French, and Belgian citizens returning from internment camps.

6. To advise the secret military police and the Gestapo on the seizure of politically important documents.

7. To seize and secure all public art treasures and private art treasures, and particularly art treasures belonging to Jews, on the basis of special instructions relating thereto.

II. The Führer has expressly ordered that only Ambassador Abetz shall be responsible for all political questions in Occupied and Unoccupied France. Insofar as military interests are touched by his duties, Ambassador Abetz shall act only in agreement with the Military Command in France.

III. Ambassador Abetz will be attached to the Military Commander in France as his deputy. His domicile shall continue to be in Paris as hitherto. He will receive from me instructions for the accomplishment of his tasks and will be responsible solely to me. I shall greatly appreciate it if the High Command of the Armed Forces will give the necessary orders to the military agencies concerned as quickly as possible.


Further Reading
Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945–1 October 1946, 42 vols. (Nuremberg, 1948), 6: 560–561 (Doc. RF-1061). The text in German may be found in ibid., 32: 432–433 (Doc. 3614-PS). .
 

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