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This article follows: «Quand le stay-behind portait De Gaulle au pouvoir», Réseau Voltaire, 27 August 2001.

In private, the General-President does not hide his true feelings. Thus to Alain Peyrefitte, he declares:
“It is very good that there are yellow French, black French and brown French. They demonstrate that France is open to all races and that she has a universal vocation. Provided, however, that they remain a small minority. If not, France would no longer be France. We are, first of all, a European people of the white race, Greek and Latin culture, and Christian religion [...] Do you think that France’s body can absorb 10 million Muslims that tomorrow possibly, will multiply into twenty million and after tomorrow forty million? If we were to integrate them, if all the Arabs and the Muslims of Algeria were to be considered French, how would one prevent them from coming and establishing themselves in the city where their quality of life would be so much higher? My village would no longer be called Colombey-the-Two-Churches, but Colombey—the-Two-Mosques!” [1] .

Of course publicly he expresses himself in more muted language. During a press conference on 16 September 1959, Charles de Gaulle makes known his preference for:
“a government of Algerians, for Algerians, supported by France and in a close union with her.”

1. The Day of the Barricades

In January, the German press [2] reports an interview with General Jacques Massu in which he laments the army’s choice of de Gaulle. Massu deplores the government’s political shift and declares that the army will follow his action. Although Massu immediately denies the statements attributed to him, de Gaulle orders him to come to Paris to explain his statements.

24 January 1960, Algiers: extremists, civilians and soldiers erroneously believe that they can count on Massu’s support and descend onto the streets. It is the “Day of the Barricades”. The order of insurrection is issued by Colonel Jean Gardes of the 5th Military Bureau. Leading the rioters are the following: the MP Pierre Lagaillarde, the lawyer Jean-Baptiste Biaggi, Joseph Ortiz (café owner) and Jean-Jacques Susini ( student trade unionist). By the early morning of 26 January, already 25 are dead. Several rebel officers broadcast a communiqué on Radio-Alger:

“The hour of hope has rung (...) We no longer have to wait to revive the spirit of 13 May (…). Our army is leading the fight for the West. We are trying not to impose on it the issue of a choice capable of dividing and weakening it”.

To re-establish order, General Maurice Challe, Commander-in-Chief of The Armed Forces in Algeria, declares a state of siege, but he forbids opening fire on the insurgents.

In Paris, 80 arrest warrants are issued for those instigating the insurrection. MP Jean-Marie Le Pen (who called to extend the barricades up to Paris) and Georges Sauge (the theorist) are placed in custody. On the eve of 29, the President-General appears in uniform before the TV cameras and delivers a short address:

“This is the decision that I have taken for France: the Algerians will be free to choose their destiny. When in one way or another - through concluding a cease – fire agreement or totally wiping out the rebels – we have brought the fighting to an end; when, following, an extended cooling-down period, the populations have been able to understand what is at stake and on the other hand, have been able to achieve, thanks to us, necessary progress in their political, economic, social and scholastic domains, that will be the time the Algerians will tell us what they want to be (...) You French of Algeria: how can you listen to liars and conspirators that tell you that by granting freedom of choice to Algerians, France and de Gaulle want to abandon you, withdraw from Algeria and leave you at the mercy of a rebellion? (...) I say to all our soldiers: your mission is free of ambiguities and interpretation. You have to wind up the rebel forces that seek to drive France out of Algeria and to enforce a dictatorship of poverty and sterility over this country (…). Finally, I speak to France. Well! So my cherished, old country, we are here together, once again faced with an onerous test. By virtue of the mandate my people have given me and the national legitimacy that I have embodied for twenty years (sic), I ask everyone to support me whatever happens”.

This intervention is enough to restore calm after five days of rioting. But the insurrection has brought to the fore the acute nature of the internal contradictions of de Gaullism. “The” General, who seized power in the name of French Algeria, lacks the means to keep his promises. In mobilizing 500,000 people (two soldiers per settler), he has tumbled into an impasse. On the one hand, he fails to crush the FLN; and on the other, de Gaulle knows that he will not be able to pursue such a military effort indefinitely. In leading a war to excess, he has rekindled hatreds and lost all hope of a political solution, such as a dominion. Once he has exhausted his forces, he will be forced to resign himself to Algeria’s independence. Therefore, he cannot be surprised to see his authority challenged by “those who have made him king”. His position does not allow him to sanction the officers who supported the insurrection, no more than could General Challe open fire on them. At the most, he can punish the civilians and hope for an unlikely military victory over the FLN. To maintain pressure, he requests full powers for a year from the Assembly. This he obtains.

Pierre Lagaillarde and the lawyer Jean-Baptiste Biaggi are imprisoned. Alain de Sérigny is arrested. Joseph Ortiz’s FNF and General Lionel Chassin’s MP13 are dissolved. The government is shuffled once again: Jacques Soustelle, being too rigid, is excluded. He hands over the Ministry of Information to Louis Terrenoire, who leaves the RTF. The legionnaire Pierre Messmer is appointed Minister of Defense. He disbandons the Fifth Bureau. These units, present in each French army, have theorized “revolutionary war” principles including the justification for torture. In actual fact, during the Indochine war, officers such as Roger Trinquier and Lionel-Max Chassine, immersed themselves in Mao’s military doctrine and from it extracted a set of principles on how to wage colonial wars in the colonies. Their fundamental ideal of successfully indoctrinating populations as soldiers assumes that we make them submit physically before moulding their minds. Under the authority of Geoffroy Chodron de Courcel, then Permanent Secretary General of National Defense, the 5th Bureau had been coordinated by Jean Ousset, the spiritual master of the Catholic city and Opus Dei representative in France. The officers had undergone initial training at the Centre for Training and Preparation for counter guerrilla warfare (Arzew). Jacques Chaban-Delmas added to this instruction, the Training Centre for Subversive War Jeanne-d’Arc (Philippeville, Algeria). He appointed Colonel Marcel Bigeard as the Head. In the large conference room, you could read this maxim inscribed on the walls:

“This army must be fanatical, have complete contempt for luxury and be driven by a crusader’s spirit”.

Furthermore, the Catholic “stay-behind”, Georges Sauge leads conferences and seminars for continuing development. In short, Messmer winds up the structures that played an essential role in de Gaulle assuming power; but some of these units turned against him. Henceforth, the “revolutionary war” will be the exclusive domain of the Gaullist General André Beaufre.

In May 1960, MNEF opposition to sending French conscripts and recruits to Algeria, causes a split in the trade union and leads to the establishment of the Fédération des étudiants nationalistes (FEN) around Dominique Venner (former member of Jeune nation and MP-13), François d’Orcival and Alain de Benoist. The FEN publishes "Manifeste de la classe 60", obviously inspired by fascists.

In June, a National Front for French Algeria (Front national pour l’Algérie française “FNAF”) is set up in Paris. In this organization you find all those who do not understand de Gaulle’s changing stance and who sympathize with the rioters in Algiers. Around Jacques Soustelle, gravitate men such as Claude Dumont, Georges Sauge and Yvon Chautard, lawyers Jean-Louis Tixier Vignancourt and Jacques Isorni, Victor Barthélémy, François Brigneau and Jean-Marie Le Pen.

In contrast, those opposed to the war publish the “Manifeste des 121” that calls the conscripts to conscientious objection. Seething with indignation, General Raoul Salan issues a declaration denouncing the sympathizers (the “porters of FLN suitcases”) and the new governmental policy. Pierre Messmer recalls Salan and confines him to Paris. But Salan goes into hiding and escapes to Spain where the Spanish General Francesco Franco and Opus Dei are waiting for him. Pierre Lagaillarde and Jean-Jacques Susini, who have been granted bail after the “Day of the Barricades”, meet him in Madrid. Together, they will set up the Organisation de l’armée secrète (OAS).

In December, while “extremists” prepare for a new insurrection at Algiers, the Muslims are the ones that whip it up and rebel. De Gaulle reimposes order in Algiers and dissolves the FNAF in the metropole.

Those opposed to war then establish the Rassemblement de la gauche démocratique. This consists of the SFIO, the Parti Radical and trade unions such as the FO, CFTC, FEN etc., which paradoxically side with de Gaulle. The President-General seizes the occasion and calls a referendum to approve his political shift. On 8 January 1961, he obtains 75% of the Yes votes in the metropolis, but only 41% in Algeria. Obviously, the “extremists” have the metropolitan public opinion against them. They can only count on their own forces. Their only option is topple de Gaulle or secede as Rhodesia did.

2. Washington Abandons de Gaulle

9 November 1960, Washington: the National Security Council observes that: “the incapacity of the French government and Algerian rebels to reach an agreement or at least a modus vivendi that would end the conflict, continues to be a major obstacle to fulfilling American objectives in North Africa” [3] .

The CIA considers that they had made a mistake when they backed de Gaulle during the coup on 13 May 58. It considers it preferable to distance itself from him and to replace him with another officer, more docile and above all, more effective. But his former comrade in arms, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, rejects the scenarios for interference presented to him.

The CIA, which had acquired some decision-making autonomy, then sub-contracts preparatory contacts for a new coup to Opus Dei. Opus Dei contacts a retired general, Edmond Jouhaud, former Chief of Staff of the French Air Force. Then the CIA Director of Special Operations, Richard M. Bissell Jr, Supreme Chief of the Stay-Behind, meets Jacques Soustelle at Washington [4].

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On 17 January 1961, at the end of his second and final mandate, President Eisenhower delivers a farewell speech that is broadcast on radio. After delivering an account of his action, he surprises his fellow citizens with a message alerting them to the risk the Cold War brings to democracy. He says:

"The combination of a huge military establishment and a vast arms industry is a novelty in American history. Its total influence – economic, political and even spiritual – is perceptible in each village, each State and each federal administration. We recognize the mandatory need for this development but we must not fail to understand the seriousness of its implications. Our work, our resources and our lives are at stake. In other words, the very structure of our society. In the recommendations of the government, we must guard against acquiring an illegitimate influence, whether it be sought for or not by the military-industrial complex. There is a risk of a disastrous development of usurped power and this will persist. We must never let the weight of this convergence threaten our liberties or democratic processes. We have to consider that nothing is given. Only civic vigilance and a civic conscience can guarantee the balance between the influence of a gigantic industrial machinery and our military defence and our peaceful methods and aims so that security and freedom can grow hand in hand".

Dwight D. Eisenhower leaves the Oval Office to John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The youthful President lacks the necessary experience to deal with the CIA. As soon as he arrives in the White House, he must respond to the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Yet behind his back, the agency launches a new operation.

General Maurice Challe, who had just been promoted to Military Chief of Nato Forces for Central Europe, obtains early retirement, and goes to Algiers. In Paris, the “stay-behind” holds several meetings at Colonel Lacheroy’s office in the Military School, while Colonel Godard mobilizes men in the 11th Regiment of Shock Parachutists.

3. The “21 April 1961” Putsch

On 21 April 1961, Generals Maurice Challe, André Zeller and Edmond Jouhaud attempt a putsch. They will not delay in bringing in General Raoul Salan, brought directly from Spain by the Spanish General Franco’s brother-in-law. They declare an order of the military command establishing a state of seige and declare:
“Individuals who have participated directly in the enterprise of abandoning Algeria and the Sahara will be placed under arrest and brought before a military tribunal which will shortly be created to ascertain the crimes committed agaist the security of the State”.

Radio-Alger becomes Radio-France. Its signature tune is the song SS Wir Marchieren gegen England. Taking the microphone, General Challe declares:

"Officiers, sub-officers, police, sailors, soldiers and pilots: I am in Algiers with Generals Zeller and Jouhaud and in contact with General Salan to stick to our promise: to keep Algeria. A government of desertion is getting ready to deliver the department of Algeria to the rebellion. Do you want Mers-el-Kébir and Algiers to be turned into Soviet bases tomorrow? I know the essence of your courage, your pride and your discipline. The army will not fail its mission, and the orders that I will give you will serve no other purpose.”

In Paris, the government wonders if the Americans have abandoned it. It declares a state of emergency. The Prime Minister, Michel Debré, urges the population through RTF:

“Consistent information makes us think that in no time at all, a surprise action will probably be sprung in the metropole, specifically, in the Paris region. Some planes are ready to launch or drop parachutists onto different airdromes in preparation for a seizure of power. (...) From midnight, all flights and landings are banned in all aerodromes in the Paris region. As soon as the sirens ring out, make your way to the airports, on foot or car, to convince soldiers that have been misled, of their grave error. We need good sense to emanate from the soul of the people and for each of us to feel part of the nation”.

Confronted by danger, the Communist Party supports the Gaullist government to fight the fascists. It calls for a general strike. 12 million French people abandon their workplaces, while voluntary groups begin to organize themselves.

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The President-General quickly assesses the situation because the package of measures put in place against him is identical to the package he had to his advantage two years earlier. He is not slow to realize that in Algeria, the General Commanders of Oran and Constantine are still faithful to him and that in the metropole, the army is not moving. He sends one of his distant relatives, Colonel Georges de Boissieu, to negotiate with the junta. He protects official buildings with armoured police vehicles, but sensibly confines the Land Forces to the barracks. Then he appears once again, clad in full uniform, on television:
“I order that all means – and I mean all means – are taken everywhere to block the route to these men, while we wait to reduce them (...) Before the misfortune that lingers in the country and the threat that burdens the Republic (...) I have decided to suspend article 16 [5] of our Constitution. From today, I will take, directly, if need be, the measures that appear to me to be required by the circumstances”. Finally, de Gaulle signs an instruction for every person in the armed forces:
“If an insurgent group tries to bring violence to any level of the commandment or any force under its orders, it must be repelled by all means, including fire. Each time an opportunity arises to force an insurgency into submission, it must be done, using weapons if necessary. If these provisions are not enough to quell the insurrection, further instructions will prescribe the measures to take to subdue it”.

Suddenly freed, the conscripts of the contingent and some loyalist officers take up arms against the putschists. The coup has failed. The heads of the coup join the OAS in secret. The main units involved in the putsch are wound up. It is notable that the first REP of the Foreign Legion is composed of former Hungarian fascists (almost 45%) and former members of the SS (45%). Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National is also wound up. Hubert Bassot’s and Jean Mabire’s weekly L’Esprit public is banned. The six main generals and four main colonels involved in the coup are dismissed. As for de Gaulle, he has to withdraw militarily as soon as possible and must hasten the independence that his accession to power allegedly had to usher in.

President Kennedy sends a message of sympathy to his French counterpart. While the US embassay denies any CIA involvement in the failed coup, the Quai d’Orsay (the French Ministry of Foreign Relations), knowing what to expect, feeds the press with revelations of CIA support for those involved in the putsch.

With the storm abated, Charles de Gaulle encourages Edmond Michelet to leave the Ministry of Justice and to throw his energies into Opus Dei. The best way to prevent new problems is to strengthen relationships. Michelet succeeds in assuming the presidency of the European Center for International Documentation (CEDI), the thinktank of Opus Dei in Madrid.

4. The Organization of the Secret Army

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The OAS’s programme stipulates:

“In the state France is in today, a genuine surgical operation is needed to extract the causes of its decadence once and for all. French nationalists alone can lead this operation to a successful outcome. From now on, two solutions (nationalism or communism) are no longer on the table. This is why French nationalists have established this preliminary programme through which it will be possible to apply a programme for national reconstruction”.

There follow the dissolution of political parties, suppression of parliamentary assemblies, expulsion of North-African immigrants living in the metropole and the Gallisation (ie the establishment of French government control) of the media, etc.

The OAS’s emblem is the Celtic Cross or the Wheel of the Sun. Its organigramme is modelled on the FLN’s. The organization of the masses (forced mobilization of French resident or born in Algeria), is entrusted to Colonel Jean Gardes, a member of the Catholic City and the former head of the Fifth Bureau. Political action and propaganda are entrusted to Jean-Jacques Susini. Finally, issues relating to organisation, intelligence and operations are entrusted to Jean-Claude Perez. It is on this third group of issues that Lieutenant Roger Degueldre (alias "Delta")’s commanders depend. They multiply the attacks. It is also this branch that funds the organization by carrying out hold-ups. The entirety is led by General Raoul Salan, alias “Sun” (by analogy with the organization’s emblem).

The OAS extends in the metropolitan with a military branch established by Captain Pierre Sergent, and a branch dedicated to propaganda surrounding the publishing house of Roland Laudenbach’s La Table Ronde. Around them, gravitiate the unmissable Doctor Martin, the stay-behind Jean Dides and of course, the Sidos brothers.

Finally, the OAS recognizes an external leadership, located in Madrid under the authority of Colonel Antoine Argoud: Charles Lacheroy (former member of the Fifth Bureau and Catholic City), joined by the masterminds of the “Day of the barricades”, the MP Pierre Lagaillarde (Catholic City) and Joseph Ortiz.

Still unbeknown to President Kennedy, several US services lend their support to the OAS under the cover of a mysterious American Committee for France and Algeria and by activating their special relationship with General Challe. However, the agency does not leave anything to chance given that it is playing its cards on three tables and is also supporting the Algerian nationals and the French government. It even raises this triple game to the rank of strategy in order to weaken all parties and to remain the exclusive master of the events.

Quickly, the OAS-Metro changes its targets. It partly abandons its attacks against the power so that it can lash out against the communists. On 8 February 1962, Left organizations issue a call to demonstrate at Paris against OAS terrorists. Police officers attack the communist demonstrators at Charonne metro station. Eight die. Noone really understands what the Gaullists are doing: they are treating the OAS as simply internal politicial opposition and only mobilizing military means against the FLN. A huge crowd – 500, 000 people according to some, a million according to others – attend the victims’ funerals.

On 18 March, France signs a cease-fire agreement with the FLN at Evian. The French army receives instructions to cooperate with the FLN to guarantee a peaceful transition to independence. The OAS reacts by taking control of the European districts of Bab-el-Oued. But this last insurrection is swept away by an army loyal to the French Government for whom the FLN is henceforth an ally and the OAS alone the enemy. The main leaders of the OAS are arrested or escape. The battle is lost. On 8 April, the French approve the Evian agreements by 90% of the valid votes cast at a referendum. On 3 July, Algeria is declared independent.

In forcing Jacques Soustelle and Georges Bidault into exile, Charles de Gaulle gets rid of his main political rivals. At Rome, these rivals try to establish a National Council of Resistance, recalling by this name, that de Gaulle had not single-handedly saved France in 1944, and that their role had been as important as his. The final attacks against the President–General fail. The last activists are still free and in hiding all over Europe. France officially requests their extradition. But in secret, Charles de Gaulle sends Michel Baroin, the Chief Commissioner of General Intelligence, to propose to them, one by one, to join the army or the French services. After independence, the fugitives only have two causes: preserving what is left of the Empire and fighting communism. At least 250 of them benefit from “Opération Réconciliation”.

5. Full Presidential Powers

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“Ending the regime of parties” and “re-establishing the State’s authority” are key slogans of Gaullist propaganda. Their objective? Ensuring that citizens accept the demise of the Republican regime by making them believe it is a foregone conclusion. When he accepted presidency of the Council (1 June 1958), Charles de Gaulle requested that full powers be restored to him until a new Constitution be declared. When a new constition was promulgated (4 October 1958), full powers were automatically extended for four months to assure the continuity of the State.

To respond to the Generals’ Putsch (21 April 1961), the President General arrogates to himself full powers by virtue of “art 16”, for a period of six months (Decree of 23 April 1961), immediately renewed for an additional six months (Decree of 29 September 1961). Just before the end of this second period, de Gaulle succeeds in gaining approval for his new Algerian policy and obtains an extension of full powers by a referendum (8 April 1962).

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Once Algeria was recognized as independent (3 July 1962), de Gaulle himself brings the dictatorship to an end and re-establishes the normal functions of the insitutions, just as he had undertaken to do. But he does this to immediately amend the Constitution by strengthening the President’s role. With the referendum on 28 October 1962, his constitutional work was complete. He changes the procedure for electing the president of the pseudo-Republic to establish direct universal suffrage. Thereafter, the imbalance between the instituions is at the most extreme:
• The President is the Supreme Head of the Executive;
• The President has the highest legitimacy;
• The President appoints the government, which confiscates legislative power since it can initiate laws, impose its agenda on the Assemblies and prevent parliamentary debate (art. 49-3).
- • If there is a rebellion in the Assembly, the President can declare the dissolution of parliament.
• Members of Parliament, given that they can no longer do anything else other than march to their leader’s drumbeat, start calling themselves the “paid applauders” of the regime.
• The President also monopolizes judicial power since he presides over the Superior Council of the Judiciary.

Charles De Gaulle exercised full powers for 22 months of a four-year period. Finally, a numbed public enables him to adopt an anti-republican regime, entirely organized around personal power, where all counter-powers have been neutralized.

The consequence of this system: political life is ordered primarily around loyalty or hostility to whoever holds the office of president. This allows de Gaulle to incorporate into his cabinet of personalities that had collaborated with the Nazis, people that he once fought against, but that later on, joined up to the Resistance. Thus Maurice Couve de Murville, who had been in charge of Econiomic Collaboration between the French State and the Nazi Reich for two years, becomes the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Similarly, Opus Dei established itself within the Ministry of Finance. Antoine Pinay, a former member of the Conseil National of the French State, is a member. Wilfrid Baumgartner, a former member of the Council of the Bank of France at the time of Philippe Pétain, is a partner. Too branded by the medal that Petain had awarded him, Edmond Giscard d’Estaing, the banker who manages the funds of Opus Dei in France, foregoes the opportunity to be their successor and gives his place to his son Valéry.

6. National (In)dependence

Charles de Gaulle tried so hard to appear the restorer of national independence, especially since he owed his return to power to a helping hand from the United States.

Coming to power in 1958, he sets up a black cabinet under American control. His assistant at the Elysee is Jacques Foccart, co-founder of the “stay-behind” networks in France whilst his Prime Minister, Michel Debré, is assisted by Constantin Melnik, a protégé of Cardinal Tisserand, US-trained by the Rand Corporation [6].

On no occasion does Charles de Gaulle challenge the Marshall Plan agreements under which Americans must be able to access the French Empire’s raw materials. Much to the contrary, it is with companies of mixed French and American capital that de Gaulle will exploit the “reserved domain”, by expelling companies from other Western states. He puts oil and the atom right at the heart of his foreign policy.

He entrusts Jean-Marcel Jeanneney (Minister of Industry) the task of bringing together and merging all the companies and public agencies in the oil sector. To achieve these complex arrangements, Jeanneney puts Raymond Barre, a technically skilled economist, at the head of the cabinet. Thanks to their efforts, the sector is restructured in 1962 around a powerful company, Elf. Pierre Guillaumat, founder of the Headquarters of the Special Services and long time friend of the de Gaulle family, abandons his portfolio of the Defense Ministry to head Elf. Elf becomes both the coffers and militant branch of "reserved space". Nuisances are eliminated; for example, Enrico Mattei (director of the rival Italian company, Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI)) is the victim of a set up – a plane accident on 26 October 1962. But out of respect to its Atlantic protectors, Elf abstains from providing adequate research services and equipment. To exploit oil, the French company makes alliances with US companies conducting research and manufacturing parts.

On the subject of the atom, de Gaulle inherits a very advanced nuclear programme. Since 1954 [7], the US government has been secretly and illegally transferring its atomic secrets to France and Israel [8]. This gift is double-edged. In fact, during the Korean War, the Americans confirm that they could not use the atomic bomb without being exposed to a Soviet response. From then on, the nuclear threat only dissuades major agressions challenging the survival of the USA; it is not introduced during minor conflicts. To use the atomic bomb in a situation where the survival of the United States is not at stake, implies that this bomb is being launched by a peripheral power allied to Washington. It is this peripheral power that is then exposed to a Soviet response instead of the Americans. De Gaulle chooses to broadcast the nuclear programme underway and to present it to the public opinion as the acquisition of a supreme arm that brings France back to the ranks of the great powers, on a par with the US, USSR and the United Kingdom. But de Gaulle hides the fact from the public that France is not the mistress of her own bomb and that the USA is using her as an agent provocateur and a bait. Washington responds to Paris with a very positive attitude, notably because Congress has decided to prohibit nuclear dessmination and therefore, the transfer of this type of technology in progress is illegal. So as not to be required to provide the bomb to the other members of the Nato Alliance, Washington and Paris put on show France’s withdrawal from Nato in 1966, and delay France’s return until the signing of Treaties prohibiting testing in 1995.

On 2 July 1958, Eisenhower manages to secure Congressional amendments to the MacMahon Law. From then on, transfers of nuclear technology are authorized on a reciprocal basis to the Allies, given that substantial progress in this field has already been made. On 4 July, the Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, goes to Paris to finalize, in a tête à tête with “the” General, the continuation of the French nuclear venture and its future withdrawal from Nato. In May 1959, the US officially provides enriched uranium to France to carry out land tests for a prototype nuclear motor for submarines. Then on 13 February 1960, the first French nuclear explosion takes place at Reggane.

7. A Praetorian Guard

In internal policy, personal power creates a system of parallel policies. From 1947, Charles de Gaulle, philosophically opposed to the existence of political parties, distinguished his own set up: the Rassemblement du peuple français (RPF), and his "service d’ordre", to which he had given complete legal independence. The Head of the RPF was Jacques Soustelle (former Head of Gaullist Secret Service at Algiers, then London), then Lieutenant-Colonel Jacques Foccart. The RPF gathers together personalities and puts forward candidates for the elections. The heads of the SO were Dominique Ponchardier, Roger Barberot and Jean-Baptiste Biaggi. The SO recruited anti-communist militants that, due to their experience in the Resistance, had no fear when it came to breaking the law. A number of members of the SO were not members of the RPF, preferring to fight in extreme right parties or small groups. The SO continued to exist after the RPF had been wound up in 1952, and Charles de Gaulle had withdrawn to Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. It actively participated in the “13 May 1958 Conspiracy”. In December 1959, Jacques Foccart reorganises it under the name of Service d’action civique (SAC). He entrusts the presidency of SAC to Pierre Debizet, De Gaulle’s bodyguard and an activist of Parti patriote révolutionnaire of the lawyer Jean-Baptiste Biaggi (promoting the reconciliation of the Pétainistes and the Gaullistes on national and anti-communist lines). Debizet resigns some weeks later, out of solidarity with the leaders of “The Day of the Barricades” and Biaggi who had just been arrested. Nevertheless, out of respect for the “General”, Debizet tries to build “bridges” between the French Algerian movements and the Gaulists to “protect the old”. Paul Comiti took over from Debizet as president of SAC.

Although much higher figures had been mentioned, SAC had around 5,000 men spread throughout the country, with of course the exception of the Overseas Territories which were part of the "reserved domain” [9].

In the metropole, men in SAC were used “to shatter the Left”, and in the reserved domain to enlist military forces or local police. Some of them were integrated into Nato’s “stay-behind”.

In 1961, Roger Frey becomes the Minister for Home Affairs and then sets up an anti-OAS measure around Alexandre Sanguinetti, who had been a member of La Cagoule and the Mouvement pour la Communauté of Jacques Dauer and Lucien Bitterlin [10]. Assisted by the lawyer Pierre Lemarchand, Dauer and Bitterlin recruit some members to SAC, but SAC itself will never position itself against the OAS. A hundred spies are hired to bomb cafes and other places where Algerian activists meet. Such spies include the Mafiosi Marcel Francisci and Dominique Ventura. They engage in an atrocious secret war against the OAS Delta Commanders, which entails kidnapping, torturing and murdering.

On the other hand, other members of SAC try to defuse the situation, by convincing some OAS leaders to switch. Thus bar owner, Joseph Ortiz, exiled in Spain, is recruited by Charles Pasqua, Director of Exports of the company Pastis Ricard. Pasqua is also SAC’s National Head.

While the OAS was an internal opposition that the French government fights through secret forces, the FLN was a foreign adversary unmercilessly repressed by official forces. The length of detention is extended to 15 days, with no right to a doctor’s visit or a lawyer’s visit. This decision is tantamount to authorizing and standardizing torture in police stations. On 17 October 1961, Maurice Papon, the police chief at Paris, leads a racist attack on Algerian immigrants. The result: several hundred dead. Submitted to censorship when it is not in the pocket of power, the Press does not utter a word.

Neither does the regime retreat before political manipulations. Thus at the beginning of 1959, a group of officers and technocrats appears: Patrie and Progrès. This group subscribes to nationalist and socialist ideas and attracts to the Gaullist camp, people who could be tempted by an entirely fascist adventure. The leader of this group is Philippe Rossillon who is supported by Louis Pauwels and Michel Massenet. Among the young people that patronize it, we find Jean-Pierre Chevènement and Alain Gomez. In actual fact, Patrie and Progrès is a backroom of Colonel Roger Barberot.

8. Summary Methods

The “events in Algeria” justify recourse to terror. The General President uses and abuses his extraordinary powers and the international complicity of the “stay-behind” networks. He submits all books and newspapers to censorship. Transforming France into a terrorist state, he orders the assasinations of political opponents who have taken refuge abroad. The murders bear the signature of a puppet organization, La Main Rouge [11], that poorly masks the French Secret Services. Furthermore, Constantin Melnik, will claim more than one thousand political assasinations. Thus the following are eliminated: Georg Puchert, the German seller of arms, assassinated in Frankfurt on 3 March 1959; Marcel Léopold, his Swiss colleague, poisoned at Geneva, on 19 September 1959. And one more: the explosion of the cargo Atlas, right in the port of Hamburg; and the inspection of the Czech cargo Lidice in the Mediterranean.

To prevent FLN Marxists being equipped with arms, the CIA puts in place an agreement between the French Foreign Secret Services (SDECE) and Lucky Luciano, the Italian-American “godfather of godfathers”. The latter began collaborating with the American Secret Services during the Second World War, enabling preparations for landing in Sicily. He was then included in the “stay-behind” networks. Men, part of the Cosa Nostra, point out ships carrying arms across the Mediterranean so that they can be boarded and searched. In exchange, France closes its eyes to contraband operations and drug trafficking. The SDECE contact with Luciano is Étienne Léandri. He is a French criminal and a former French collaborator with the Nazis, recruited by the “Stay Behind” following the French Liberation  [12].

The CIA also authorizes some European “stay behinds” to collaborate with their French equivalents. Thus René Dubois, the highest Swiss judge, the Attorney General of the Confederation is recruited to obtain information gathered by the Swiss police and transcripts of telephone tappings. After being discovered by a Swiss policeman, René Dubois commits suicide on 23 March 1957 rather than delivering information on the Atlantic Alliance’s secret network.

General de Gaulle is not satisfied with confining the use of summary methods to Algeria. He uses them everywhere, whenever his “reserved domain” is at stake [13] and the East-West balance provides a justification for it. In order to punish Guinea, the President General, cuts ties with this country from the day it was granted independence. When withdrawing from Guinea, the French officials receive the order to destroy their administration. When Guinea withdraws from the CFA zone and creates its own currency, De Gaulle tries to ruin it. In Paris, Colonel Beaumont  [14] prints false Guinea currency. It is carried to Senegal, to be taken up by Commander Maurice Robert who will then flood Guinea with it. When Sékou Touré seeks help abroad and turns to USSR and to Czechoslovakia, he is denounced as Africa’s communist danger incarnate. Jacques Foccart tries several times to have him eliminated. Assasination attempts are supervised from the Ivory Coast by Yves Guéna, who has just left the cabinet of Michel Debré to act as High Commissioner in Abidjan [15].

As for the Cameroons, here the French colonial administration is facing opposition from the Union Populaire du Cameroun (UPC), most of whose members belong to the Bamikele race. The High Commissioner, Pierre Messmer, entrusts repression to Maurice Delauney. The men at the helm of the UPC are assasinated and punitive expeditions are led in their rear bases situated in the British Cameroons. On independence on 1 January 1960, Jacques Foccart installs a puppet government, presided by his friend Ahmadou Ahidjo. The same day, the young state signs a military assistance pact with France. Paris dispatches five batallions on the order of General Max Briand. What Charles de Gaulle did not dare to do within the Community framework, he does under the cover of a pseudo-independence. One hundred and fifty six Bamikeles villages are burnt and razed to the ground. Tens of thousands of people are massacred [16]. On this terrible repression, the French press, muzzled and blinded by the Algerian crisis, will not utter a word on this dreadful repression. Finally, on 2 October 1960, the new leader of the UPC, Felix Moumié [17] is assassinated at Geneva by SDECE assassins.

In 1960, France, citing as evidence a 1883 agreement, claims Congo-Kinshasa (Zaïre) when the Belgians withdraw from it. Instead of annexing it, France supports the rebellion of Moïse Tschombé in the Katanga mining region, weakening the authority of the UN. Arms are brought by Barracuda, a company “owned” by Dominique Ponchardier. Rebel troops are enlisted by Colonel Roger Trinquier and Commander Roger Faulques in the conflict zone. Irving Brown travels to the Congo to coordinate French-American operations. Using its own French and Belgian networks, the CIA entrusts to “stay-behind” Otto Skorzeny to plan the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the legal (de jure) government of the Congo, and support the rise in power of Colonel Joseph Mobutu. Increasing support for Moïse Tschombé, Jacques Foccart sends mercenaries headed by the French Bob Denard, a hired gun involved in an attempt to eliminate Pierre Mendès-France [18], and the Belgian Christian Tavernier. For propagangda purposes, Foccart puts in place Radio-Katanga, hosted by François Duprat.

In Congo-Brazzaville, Charles de Gaulle supports Abbott Fulbert Youlou in the face of all opposition. The latter is advised by Jean Mauricheau-Baupré, former editor-in-chief of the Courrier de la Colère.

To manage the “reserved domain”, the President-General provides all means necessary to Jacques Foccart. The adviser operating behind the scenes has an office in the Élysée, adjoining that of the President of the pseudo Republic. He also provides a type of ministry, installed in Hotel Noirmoutiers, rue de Grenelle. But Foccart only demands the position of Secretary General of the Community and not the Ministry. This means he does not have to respond to questions about his activities before parliamentarians.

Foccart recalls Maurice Robert, in post at Senegal, to Paris and entrusts him with handling African leaders during their trips to Paris. To this end, “Bison” base, is set up at Invalides, Paris which maintains very close ties with the US “stay-behinds”.

* * *

Charles de Gaulle seized power in May 1958 by relying on converging interests: the French imperialists who were relying on him to maintain French Algeria and the American imperialists who wanted to avoid at all costs Soviet influence on an independent Algeria. To fulfil these objectives – which he ultimately failed to do – he first “reetablished the authority of the State” - that is, he displaced the republican regime with personal powers. Then he resorted to the use of the force in the metropole and especially in the former Empire. At all times, he knew how to extract the maximum profit from his subservience to US services, serving them while pretending to fight against them, making France “the most faithful and the most turbulent ally of the United States”. He required the French to accept restrictions on democratic liberties in order to have a State that was well able to guarantee national independence and radiate its influence abroad. But can one be independent without being free?

Translation
Anoosha Boralessa

[1] Interview of 5 March 1959 reported by Alain Peyrefitte in C’était De Gaulle, Vol 1, Fallois ed., 1994.

[2] Cf. Süddeutsche Zeitung, 18 January 1958.

[3] Cf. Foreign Relations of The United States, 1958-1960, Vol. VII, Government Printing Office, 1993; already cited in De Gaulle et les Américains, Bernard Ledwidge, Flammarion ed., 1984.

[4] Cf. The Daily Mail, 2 May 1961.

[5] Article 16 of the Constitution of 1958 allows the President of the Republic to “take measures dictated by the circumstances” when “the institutions of the Republic, independence of the nation, territorial integrity or execution of its international commitments are threatened in a serious and immediate manner and the regular functioning of public constitutional powers is interrupted". Thus he can arrogate to himself the powers of a Roman dictator, when he deems it in the national interest.

[6] Rand Corporation is the think tank of the CIA’s Management of Science and Technology and is the leading foundation of the American military-industrial lobby.

[7] In 1954, France’s atomic claims prevent it from joining the European Community of Defense and leads to the creation of the Union of Western Europe.

[8] French dependence on nuclear material was exposed in an article by David Bruce in Foreign Policy, May 1989. It has been confirmed by the former President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in his mémoires (Le Pouvoir et la Vie, Compagnie douze ed., vol. 2, 1991). You will find an exhaustive synthesis of the policy of nuclear dissemination in the Affaires atomiques, Dominique Lorentz, Arènes ed., 2001.

[9] Cf. Patrice Chairoff, B comme Barbouzes, Alain Moreau ed., 1975; Commission d’enquête sur les activités du SAC, rapport n° 955, Assemblée nationale ed., 1982.

[10] Cf. Lucien Bitterlin, Histoire des Barbouzes, Palais-Royal ed., 1972 ; Alexandre Tislenkoff, J’accuse Lemarchand, Saint-Just ed.

[11] La Main rouge was initially a militia for self-defence, created by settlors in Tunisia, in 1954. It gave birth to a movement that was still more radical: the North African Anti-terrorist Committeee (CATENA). The two names have been replicated shamelessly by SDECE.

[12] Cf. Jacques Kermoal, L’Onorata Societa, La Table ronde ed., 1971; Time 4 September 1972 ; Julien Caumer, Les Requins, un réseau au cœur des affaires, Flammarion ed., 1999.

[13] On the continuity of France’s African policy, cf. La Françafrique, le plus long scandale de la République, François-Xavier Verschave, Stock, 1998. Noir silence, François-Xavier Verschave, Arènes ed., 2000. This work presenting only one version of the facts, Denis Sassou-N’Guesso (President of Congo-Brazzaville), Idriss Deby (President of Chad) and Omar Bongo (President of Gabon), have challenged the contents during a far-reaching proceedings that they lost. For a discussion of Noir silence, one will thus be referred to Noir procès, François-Xavier Verschave and Laurent Beccaria, Arènes ed., 2001.

[14] Colonel Beaumont is René Bertrand’s pseudonym.

[15] Cf. La Piscine, les services secrets français, 1944-1984 by Roger Faligot and Pascal Krop, Seuil ed., 1985.

[16] Cf. Main basse sur le Cameroun, Mongo Beti, Maspero ed., 1972.

[17] Cf. Jean-Francis Held, L’Affaire Moumié, Maspéro ed., 1961.

[18] It seems that this attack aimed at preventing the institutional evolution of Tunisia in 1954, had been sponsored by Jean Mauricheau-Baupré.