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Oral History THE BBC AND THE PROPAGANDA WAR AGAINST OCCUPIED FRANCE: THE WORK OF EMILE DELAVENAY

AND THE EUROPEAN INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT


MARTYN CORNICK*
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The purpose of this article and interview is to draw attention to the role played by the BBC's European Intelligence Department in the propaganda war against Occupied France during the Second World War. What follows is based on research in progress on the wider question of public opinion on both sides of the Channel. Although we have Asa Briggs's history of the BBC during the war,1 little is known in detail about how the extensive propaganda campaigns mounted in Occupied France against Britain were monitored and countered by the BBC, particularly by the European Intelligence Department and the French Service. Indeed, the role played by the BBC in turning French public opinion to British and Free French advantage has been underestimated. Of crucial importance here is the work of the Assistant Director of European Intelligence at the BBC, Emile Delavenay, who in 1992 published his memoirs.2 In May 1993, he and Madame Delavenay kindly agreed to answer questions about their work in London during the war in two interviews conducted with them at their home in Vence.3

' The author is Lecturer in the Department of European Studies, Loughborough University 1 A Briggs, Tbe history of broadcasting in the United Kingdom III. The war of words (Oxford, 1970) 2 Delavenay, Timoignage dun village Savoyard au village mondial (Aix-en-Provence, 1992) 3 I am very grateful to Monsieur and Madame Delavenay for their kindness and hospitality I would also like to express my gratitude to Anne-Mane Pathf, archivist at the Instltut d'Histoire du Temps Present in Pans, for her assistance in my efforts to contact Professor Delavenay, and to Loughborough University research committee for financial assistance I am grateful also to Louisa Fulbrook (of the Department of European Studies language centre) for transcribing the interviews. -- - - _ . . _ . . . . . Oxford University Press 1994 French History, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp- 316-354

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Taken together, the production of pictorial and printed propaganda by all services (German, collaborationist and Vichy) against the 'Anglo-Americans' (as the British and the Americans were called) was the 'most voluminous'.4 From the first days of the Occupation until November 1942, Britain was the main target for propaganda services in Occupied France. During the first year after the beginning of the Battle of France in May 1940, three events can be singled out as forming the basis for future themes: the evacuation from Dunkirk, the shelling of the French fleet at Mers el-K6bir (Oran) and the Dakar operation.5 The British were to blame for the fall of France, it was claimed, because the embarkation at Dunkirk had abandoned France to her fate. Of the bombardment of the French fleet at Oran, and the loss of nearly 1,300 French sailors, much has been written; but however great its impact may have been in sparking an immediate flare-up of anti-British hatred, public opinion soon reflected other preoccupations. What is important is that the events at Oran provided another recurring theme for the propagandists. For instance, the newsreel Actualit4s Mondiales on 23 October 1940 devoted 200 metres of film to the incident (the timing coincided with the meeting at Montoire of P6tain and Hitler).6 Later, newspapers received orders from Vichy's Information Ministry to commemorate prominently the first anniversary (3 July 1941).7 As for the Dakar incident on 23 September 1940, when British and Gaullist forces failed in their attempted landing in French West Africa, no opportunity was lost to distort reports in order to emphasize British 'perfidy'.8 Indeed, because de Gaulle had already been accused and sentenced in his absence by Vichy for treasonable acts and desertion, the Dakar incident served to reinforce the propaganda message that the Free French and the British were in effect the same enemy. Despite this propaganda, however, those monitoring public opinion in France would soon learn that support for the British was already growing at this early stage of the Occupation.9

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D Rosslgnol, Histoire

de la propagande

en France

de 1940 a 1944

(1990), p

311

' Ibid p. 306. 6 Ibid p 307 7 'Anniversaire dc Mers el-Keblr Unc consignc [no. 247] panic hicr soir oblige la pressc a faire du tapage'. quoted in P Limagne, Epbemirides de quatre annees tragiques (3 vols , 1987), i 198 8 Consigne no. 190 'Les titres de journaux relatlfs aux evenements de Dakar doivent souligner 1'echec anglais et non pas tradulre la these britannique, scion laquelle la flottc s'est retiree afin d'epargner les vies francaises ' Quoted in Limagne, Epbemerides, i 28 9 A synthesis of telephone surveillance for September 1940 showed that although the public continued to demonstrate 'complete confidence' in Petain, 'les souhaits pour la victoire anglaise sont toujours plus vifs On ecoute de plus en plus la radio anglaise, et on appouvc les departs de plus en plus nombreux pour les lies Britanniques ' A[rchives] N[ationales] F7 14927, quoted in D Cordler, Jean Moulin, I'inconnu du Pantbeon de Gaulle, capitate de la Resistance

(1993), pp. 1361-2.

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THE BBC AND OCCUPIED FRANCE

The press of both zones in France relentlessly targeted the British. In the Occupied Zone, the Propaganda Abteilung in Paris was the agency of control, and helped to keep much of the Paris press in the hands of enthusiastic collaborationists such as Marcel Deat. Some of the daily and weekly press virtually specialized in Anglophobia, depending on their political affiliation and that of their contributors. For the purposes of illustration it is worth pointing to one or two of the most hostile. Pierre Costantini's L'Appel was the weekly organ of the Ligue Francaise, which had originally been founded in the late summer of 1940 as the Ligue Anti-Britannique.10 In August 1940, Costantini, a former aviator and obessive admirer of Napoleon, distributed a poster declaring war on England." Again, this explicitly refers to the fact that it was already acknowledged that French public opinion was largely pro-British. Furthermore, there was the daily newspaper Aujourd'bui, which printed material by Paul Chack and Thierry Sandre, both of whom published anti-British books.12 In the Unoccupied Zone, there were a number of newspapers which took a strong line against the British. 'Official' propaganda reviews like L 'Espoir Francais frequently referred to inadequate British support to the French war effort before June 1940.13 At Lyon there was L'Action Francaise, with both Maurras and Delebecque accusing Britain of egotism and of having always betrayed France. And Gringoire, arguably the most consistently antiBritish paper ever produced in France, left Paris to resettle in Marseille. In October 1940 it was still printing over 400,000 copies weekly. The editor Henri B6raud, the most notorious professional Anglophobe of them all, continued to pour forth his invective, and he even reprinted his pamphlet Faut-il riduire I'Angleterre en esclavage? on 1 August 1940. u To coincide with the signing of the Protocoles de Paris in late May 1941, B6raud interviewed Admiral Darlan. 15 At the height of his powers, the Commander-in-Chief of the French navy had been convinced since the armistice that it would only be a matter of time before the Germans crushed the British, and this assumption long governed the actions of Darlan and
10 On Costantini, sec 'L'histoire condamnc I'Angleterre etude hlstorique sur la France et I'Angleterre devant la condition europeenne Lc combat occidental pour l'amltle contlncntale', P Costantini et al , Principes d'action [n d ] , pp 1-20 11 'Francais, a vous qui aviez deji oubli6 vos morts de Mers el-Kdbir, l'Angleterre vient de vous rafralchir la memoire en tuant, a nouveau, quelques centaines de vos flls. Allez-vous contlnuer a defendre la cause de la perfide Albion' Nous assumons l'honneur, sous notrc unlforme d'aviateur francais, de combattre l'Angleterre qui, apres nous avoir trahis, nous a assassines. De tout mon espnt, de tout mon coeur, de toute mon indignation de Francais blesst dans sa Patrie et dans son ame, JE DECLARE LA GUERRE A L'ANGLETERRE' Poster in Bibllotheque dc Documentation Internationale et Contemporaine (BDIC), 4A.908 12 Eg. P Chack, Face aux Anglais (1942), and T. Sandre [pseud Charles Moulie], Lettres sans bumeur a sa Majesti La Seine d'Angleterre (1943). 13 The British Foreign Office's classified wartime Basic Handbook on France says that this publication, subsidized by the government, first appeared in the southern zone in January 1941 '* For the provenance of this see my article 'Faut-il riduire I'Angleterre en esclavage? A case study of French Anglophobia1, Franco-Br Stud, 14 (1992), 3-17 " In Gringoire, 30 May 1941

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many others in the Vichy hierarchy. A few months later, the naval historian and collaborationist Paul Chack contributed his own profile of the admiral. The language used by Chack reflects how all the Allies were lumped together with the Soviets as the enemies of the 'New European Order', and betrays the deep conviction that close collaboration with Germany was the only way forward.16 II A constant flow of knowledge about the state of opinion in France was indispensable to the prosecution of the war. Because of the need to demonstrate and, in the radio sense, to broadcast Britain's determination to fight on, decision-makers had to ensure that the nascent hopes and secretly harboured feelings of the French population at large were carefully nurtured. French people needed to be convinced. Also, because of the early recognition by the BBC and its controllers that war by radio could be enormously effective in countering and disseminating propaganda, and even in moulding public opinion, audience feedback was an essential element. No efforts were spared in the collection of information regarding shifts and nuances in opinion, and the impetus to carry on and expand these efforts came from no less an authority than Winston Churchill himself. On 5 August 1940, the Prime Minister demanded to see as much raw information on France as possible:17 I am not satisfied with the volume or quality of information received from the unoccupied area of France. We seem to be as much cut off from these territories as from Germany. I do not wish such reports as are received to be sifted and digested by the various Intelligence authorities. For the present Major Morton [Churchill's liaison officer with the Foreign Office] will inspect them for me and submit what he considers of major interest. He is to see everything and submit authentic documents for me in their original form. Further, I await proposals for improving and extending our information about France and for keeping a continued flow of agents moving to and fro.
Gringoire, 12 Sept 1941 'Darlan salt quc l'Angletcrre, si par impossible elle sortait victorieuse du confllt, nous dicterait des conditions qui ne seraient pas moins severes et qui porteraient a la fols le developpement de la pourriture bolchevique sur lc continent europeen et, chez nous, le retour au pouvoir des Juifs et des francs-mapons infeodes a la politique anglosaxonne.' 17 Message to General Ismay, quoted in W. S. Churchill, Tbe Second World War. II. Tbeir finest bour (1949), p 578 Churchill also fully recognl2ed the propaganda value of dc Gaulle's broadcasts on 9 August 1940 he told the Minister of Information that 'it is important to keep General de Gaulle active in French on the broadcast, and to relay by every possible means our French propaganda to Africa' Ibid p. 579.
16

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As far as Occupied France was concerned the most efficacious organization responsible for monitoring opinion was the European Intelligence Department of the BBC. Towards the end of 1938, because of the increased international tension resulting from the Munich accords, the BBC had already begun to consolidate its broadcasting efforts in the Italian, German and French language areas. Emile Delavenay, a normalien and specialist in English literature, had been working in London during the 1930s as a journalist in the London office of the news agency Havas In early 1939, he was recruited by the BBC 'to work as a public relations officer for French language correspondents and to edit a trilingual edition of the BBC's magazine London Calling' 18 He resigned from Havas and took up his post in July 1939- The outbreak of war prevented the magazine from appearing, and soon Delavenay and others were put to work on monitoring. Then the European Intelligence Department was set up under Sir John Lawrence. Because of the importance of France, M. Delavenay was made Assistant European Intelligence Director, a function he fulfilled for the rest of the war. The prime functions of the Intelligence Department were to maintain contact with the listening audience by all possible means, to analyse and assess all forms of evidence on listening conditions and reactions from listeners in Europe; and to inform the news and programme staff of the reactions and opinions of their audience. There were a number of sections covering the whole of Europe; Jonathan Griffin was in overall charge.19 At a later stage in the war, when Griffin was absent, Emile Delavenay deputized for him. Delavenay controlled intelligence from France and the French Empire, Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg, assisted by other staff for each area 20 Delavenay, although a French national, was a full-time BBC employee and was not under the authority of the Gaullists. He received orders from the French military mission in London on 16 June 1940 to remain at his post in the BBC as long as both French and British authorities deemed his presence necessary. Thus he was 'perhaps the only Frenchman in London in a position regularly approved by both governments'.21 In the company of others from the French colony in London, such as Denis Saurat and Henri Hauck, Delavenay met de Gaulle on 19 June, and offered assistance to Captain Dewavrin, later

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Persona] communication from femllc Delavenay, 5 March 1993 " On Jonathan Griffin, sec the commemoration in Tbe Guardian by Sir John Lawrence, 2 January 1991. 20 Other areas were covered by the following assistants- Spain and Portugal by Helen Grant and the Portuguese, Pessa, the Balkans and Czechoslovakia, by Margaret Lambert, Germany, Poland and Scandinavia, by Grant Purves, the USSR, by Anna Kallin Emile Ddavenay's assistants for France and the French Empire were Katharine Musson (who became his wife), Gaby DrabbleAlexandrovitch, and the Canadian Jessie Gillespie For Belgium assistance was provided by Marc Schrelbert and for Holland by Herman Schryver. 21 Personal communication from Emile Delavenay, 5 March 1993.

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Colonel 'Passy', head of the Free French intelligence service, the BCRA.22 However, because of the hostility of some London Gaullists, notably Gaston Palewski, towards the BBC, and because of the suspicion of some British activities relating to France, after 1941 there were fewer contacts between Delavenay and Carlton Gardens. Nonetheless the Free French benefited from the information that the BBC was gathering. In the chair every morning at daily meetings was a representative either from the Ministry of Information (Mol) such as Raymond Mortimer, or later, such as Colonel Nigel Sutton, from the Political Warfare Executive (PWE). At first the contact from Carlton Gardens was Palewski who, according to Delavenay, 'was a grudging and often ill-tempered participant, visibly hostile to a programme under BBC and Mol management'.23 Such Gaullists felt that all information to and from France should be controlled by Carlton Gardens, but this was of course incompatible with the structure of the BBC and with the needs and imperatives of the British government at war. When Georges Boris took over in 1941, and then Gilberte Brossolette, relations improved considerably. Most importantly, the BBC was much better informed than the Free French because it had more numerous and longer established sources; moreover, it had no axe to grind. The BBC's monitoring and intelligence gathering were carried out first and foremost to prosecute the war of the airwaves. There were several means of gathering the raw material for the monitoring of opinion: apart from the dispatch and microfilming of French newspapers via the British embassy in Lisbon, and the extensive monitoring of radio broadcasts at Caversham and Evesham, at first Delavenay and his staff relied on correspondence and, later, on interviews with people returning from France. From the very beginning of the war, one of the most important sources was the correspondence addressed to the BBC from listeners in France These letters not only contained information about the quality of reception in France, they were also the best means of keeping a finger on the pulse of public opinion.24 Extracts from the letters were used to compile intelligence reports, and it is almost always in this form that they have been consulted and used by historians such as Asa Briggs. The letters arrived through the ordinary postal service, from all over Unoccupied France, and also from the border area between the Occupied and Unoccupied Zones. A year after the armistice, in July 1941, 193 letters
21 In the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of de Gaulle, mile Delavenay's name is missing from the index, though he is referred to in the text thus 'Peu avant midi arriveront d'autrcs volontalres, Henri de Kerillis sangl dans un uniforme de capitaine d'aviatlon, mile Delavenay collaborateur de la section francaise de la BBC - qui en tant que td rendra de multiples services au general de Gaulle dans les semaines suivantes - , Denis Saurat directeur de I'Institut francais de Londres, [etc.] 1 ; see Lacouture, De Gaulle I Lerebelle, 1940-1944 0984), p. 373 23 Personal communication from fimile Delavenay, 10 March 1993. See also below 24 This correspondence is held at the BBC Written Archives Centre In Caversham I am grateful to Mr Jeff Walden and his colleagues there for their assistance

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arrived. 57 from the Occupied Zone and 136 from the 'free zone'. 25 Even after November 1942 they continued to arrive, although the flow was reduced. Photocopies of correspondence opened by the British postal censorship, and of letters seized at sea from French territories to and from mainland France, also found their way to Delavenay's service. Once the letters had been processed, extracts were taken to provide monthly, and later bi-monthly, intelligence reports which were distributed under confidential seal to all senior members of the BBC's various services, as well as to the news editors and talks organizers of the European service. They also went to the Mol, and later to the PWE, with which Delavenay's office came to be closely associated. John Salt, one of Delavenay's BBC superiors and responsible for non-news programme planning for Europe, ensured that every member of the War Cabinet was given a copy of Delavenay's report of July 1940 in order to add substance to the BBC's claim for the proper financing of much needed powerful transmitters (Appendix 1). Moreover, the letters were vital in maintaining contact with listeners. Some bear the notation 'acknowledged by mike' [i.e. microphone], to show that they had been referred to on air in a French broadcast. This served a double purpose throughout the radio war with France: firstly, listeners were encouraged to continue listening in case their letter should be acknowledged; secondly, the messages demonstrated that these dissident voices were being heard, and that their opinion mattered. The archives contain many letters from the same correspondent after their initial contact had been acknowledged. Some of the letters from the Unoccupied Zone were read by Vichy censors, but some still reached London. One letter from a 'working class' ancien combattant, sent on 20 July 1940, expressed his sentiments in a forthright manner: 'Mon plus grand plaisir est d'ecouter les emissions anglaises, les seules d'ou je peux puiser la verite et qui ne sont pas sous la botte du boche [sic].' This letter shows evidence of having been opened by the censor, but the latter forwarded it to London, having added his own message: 'Toutes mes amities a tous, a vous qui avez le courage de lutter pour la liberte.'26 The letters became so important that they eventually warranted a short programme slot on the BBC's French service, 'Courrier de France'; they were also used in Free French newspapers and other periodicals such as the review France Libre.21 The letters were sent by a wide range of correspondents, including teenagers of both sexes, a good number of

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" BBC Written Archives See also E Tangye Lean in Voices in tbe darkness: tbe story of tbe European radio war (1943), p 168
26

BBC Written Archives, letter dated 2 0 July 1 9 4 0

Jacques Duchesne made the first broadcast based on listeners' letters on 7 October 1940 For details see the invaluable compilation by J-L Cretnieux-Bnlhac (ed.), Les voix de la libertiId Londres, 1940-1944 (5 vols , 1975), esp. vol I, Dans la nutt. 18juin 1940-7 decembre 1941, p. 105. From July 1941, Brunius had a programme entitled 'Courrier de France' fimile Delavenay himself contributed two selections, see 'Lettres de France', parj J , La France Libre, I, no. 5 (March 1941), p."4^65, and r, no: 4 (February 1941), pp 366-71.

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MARTYN CORNICK Table 1 Interviews conducted by M Delavenay and his staff, 1940-1944 1940 7 1941 57(3) 1942 175(4) 1943 141(19) 1944 131(54) Total 511(80)

323

Figures in parentheses show the number of anonymous interviews

women, anciens combattants, well-educated professionals such as doctors and pharmacists, and, occasionally, groups of people. Another vital source of intelligence, and one that has yet to be fully assessed, came from interviews with people returning from France, whose names were communicated to Delavenay after they had been vetted by the intelligence services at the Royal Victoria Patriotic School. These interviews provided a more balanced view of the state of opinion in France than that provided by other sources alone. Between 1940 and 1944, some 511 interviews were conducted, mainly with individuals, but sometimes with small groups (Table 1). Apart from returners such as British repatriates, Breton fishermen, Irish priests and English students, Delavenay's staff interviewed politicians such as Fernand Grenier, Vincent Auriol and Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie, and writers and diplomats such as Maurice Druon, Rend Massigli and Pierre Mendes-France.28 In addition, he talked to a number of BCRA contacts, except the more protected ones such as Pierre Brossolette or Jean Moulin. Some of the most reliable reports were provided by envoys to Vichy such as Pierre Dupuy of Canada, and Akira Matsui of Japan: one of Dupuy's reports is reproduced below (Appendix 3).29 Listeners' and interviewees' comments showed that the BBC was the source the French public relied upon most for news about the conduct of the war. After the armistice French newspapers and radio were 'thoroughly disbelieved',30 because they were seen as being under German influence. For this reason, shifts in public opinion in Britain's favour can be directly traced to the unfolding of events as they occurred outside France, and as they were reported and commented on by the BBC: surviving the Battle of Britain was crucial in this process, because it restored French people's faith and hopes in British efforts. It is also worth noting, particularly before Petain's meeting with Hitler at Montoire (26 October 1940), that the most frequently recurring piece of advice from listeners is that speakers (both French and British) should tone down their criticism of P6tain. The reason most often given was that P6tain was an old soldier, a hero of France, and that he was the only symbol people had left to cling on to. Later, however, correspondents become much more critical, saying that despite the aura
For a list, s e e Delavenay, Ttmoignage, pp. 23Iff Cf also Dupuy's report to Churchill of his visit to Vichy b e t w e e n 2 5 January 1941 and 12 March 1 9 4 1 , Public Record Office, FO 3 7 1 / 2 8 2 3 5 , Z 4 7 5 1 / 1 6 / 1 7 .
29 28

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30 Personal c o m m u n i c a t i o n from fimile Delavenay, 5 March 1 9 9 3 . For another v i e w o f the German- and Vichy-dominated media, s e c L t o n Werth's invaluable testimony, Deposition

Journal 1940-1944 (1992)

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surrounding P6tain, he was being duped or manipulated by interested parties, such as Laval and Darlan.31 fimile Delavenay believes that the BBC Intelligence Department built up a realistic picture of the changing patterns of French public opinion, from the early days after the shock of the armistice, with the French people's initial, and widely shared, trust in Mar6chal P6tain, to an attitude which was progressively more pro-British as the French gained a better understanding of the true nature of the Vichy regime. What follows is an edited transcription of two interviews with Professor and Madame Delavenay, conducted at their home in Vence on 24 and 25 May 1993.
One listener testified to this shift in opinion (writing at the end of 1941). 'He is undoubtedly a defeatist, a traitor, sold like those other common traitors Darlan, Pucheu, Doriot, Laval and the other Deats ' Quoted by E. Tangye Lean, Voices in tbe darkness, p. 149
11

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Edited Interview with ttnile Delavenay, 24-25 May 1993, Vence, France (ED refers to Emile Delavenay, and KMD to Madame Delavenay, nte Katherine Musson) MC: As John Weightman says in his review of your book,32 you must have kept extensive diaries, because your memoirs appear to be very accurately put together. ED: Unfortunately I destroyed my diaries when I left for America in 1946.1 should have kept my wartime diaries, for instance those showing the times of appointments with people I did not keep extensive diaries, my pre-war passport, which I kept for over ten years, contained enough information for me to reconstruct all my journeys out of England from 1937 to 1946, and I also used pocket diaries with very minimal information But for the whole crucial period at the BBC I used essentially our monthly reports, and the interviews, which we fortunately had kept. MC: If there is one overall impression to emerge from your memoirs, it is that there is a mythical view of the war as far as those in London around de Gaulle were concerned: were not the Free French in London a united force' ED: They were united except for a small number of people who were already in England at the time, they were, shall we say, the people who volunteered to join de Gaulle. There were the people in the navy who were interned in Oxford, who were anti-British and who weren't allowed to return to France because they knew too many secrets, they were naval liaison Some members of the French colony in London were Pfitainists rather than Gaullists Apart from that there were many people who felt thankful that somebody had spoken for France on 18 June - I was among the first of them, I spoke to de Gaulle the next morning - there was an immediate sursaut of sympathy for the movement The first troubles began when de Gaulle's people tried to get hold of all information and media, particularly the newspaper France and the Agence Francaise Inddpendante. As it happened, I was a friend of Pierre Comert (who was the editor of France), and I had worked in London with Pierre Maillaud33 - who went on to found the Agence Francaise Ind6pendante - in the days of Havas Therefore I knew my background there, I knew those people and their reaction was the same. 'Why doesn't de Gaulle fight' Why is he trying to become a politician'1 That feeling impressed me more and more until about January 1941, when I decided that de Gaulle was as much of a risk as an asset Many people in London at that time would have liked Catroux to have taken over the movement, but then there were internal dissensions inside the movement For instance, when Dejean resigned in 1942 from his post as Foreign Affairs Commissar, de Gaulle did not accept his resignation, and kept him there for months and months without announcing it in public. Yet we all knew that Dejean was fed up and didn't want to stay. The struggles with Admiral Muselier were also very important. Personally, I distrusted Labarthe who plotted with Muselier, and who made a bad impression on most of the French in London MC: Was there a definite plot between Labarthe and Muselier' ED: There was an attempt to replace de Gaulle by Muselier concocted with the knowledge of Alexander, who was then First Lord of the Admiralty. But there had
'Global villager', by John Weightman, 7X5, 2 April 1993 His pseudonym was Pierre Bourdan, see Carnet des jours Comert, sec below
33

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"

d'attente

(1945)

On

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THE BBC AND OCCUPIED FRANCE

been of course the arrest of Muselier who had been denounced as a potential enemy agent, and de Gaulle had done nothing to rescue him from British arrest. De Gaulle's attitude to people who were not entirely in sympathy with him was extremely dubious; there was suddenly a violent opposition between him and Muselier The Muselier trouble got worse at the time of Saint Pierre et Miquelon when de Gaulle pushed him ahead to go and invade Saint Pierre et Miquelon, and then he disowned him.34 All that of course was unknown, and in the BBC we deliberately refrained from having any of that mentioned in broadcasts to France, so that the French would not, and could not, know that there were dissensions in London. MC: In the BBC European Intelligence Department, to what extent was it part of your work to monitor anti-British propaganda in France? ED: It was one of our principal tasks. There was the Monitoring Service. We had their monitoring report, daily reports on 'flimsies', and then there was a bigger monitoring report mimeographed every day. We went through all that trying to see signs of pro- and anti-British feeling in France Pro-British feeling was obviously indicated largely by the counter-propaganda coming from Vichy and Paris. We used all the media: letters, interviews, monitoring, the French press when we got it through Lisbon, we used everything we had MC: How did the French press get to London? ED: It was taken to Lisbon; there was an office in Lisbon which microfilmed it. There was quite a big microfilming service of British Intelligence. It got more and more efficient as time went on We got hold quite quickly of press reviews on French radio from monitoring, whereas the French press came through with some delay, but we used every scrap of it. For instance, I can remember one day when we got a local paper from Savoy, we happened to find out that somebody I knew had had a cycle accident, so we managed to get that into a broadcast, which made listeners feel they were being very well informed MC: When you say you got the microfilms of the French press, was that the whole range of the French press, the provincial dailies, the Paris dailies, weeklies? ED: We got whatever they could get hold of. I think it was mostly the dailies, with a good time lag We also received, via the censorship, letters (or copies of letters) from French people to other French people, picked up on ships by the navy; the censorship gave us extracts of all the letters We used to get quite a lot of information from the censorship. MC: Could you say a little more about the monitoring service' ED: I remember fairly early on in the war Malcolm Frost, who founded the monitoring service, saying, 'Pick up any Christian names in German broadcasts and note them ' I realized two or three years afterwards that in the Vichy broadcasts there were some Free French agents or some pro-Allied agents who were using request programmes - 'M Jean-Francois Dupont demande un disque par Charles Trenet' and those Christian names were codes for transmitting information to England My guess was that Malcolm Frost knew that there must have been people in German radio who could possibly be sending information by that method, unless he wanted his staff to monitor German messages intended for German agents. Anyway I can remember Frost saying 'note any Christian names' very early in the war, in September 1939.
For details of the three conspiratorial affaires Muselier, and how they soured relations between the British and de Gaulle, see F Kersaudy, Cburcbill and de Gaulle (1990), pp 122-5, and chapter 7, "The so-called Free French', passim, and Lacouture, De Gaulle. I. Le rebelle, 1940-1944, pp 4 8 9 - 5 0 5 ' " " -- - _
M

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MC: Did you listen to Vichy radio? ED: To begin with we did, but not for long, intelligence and monitoring were separated, and some of our people went to monitoring whilst we stayed with intelligence. MC: Did you listen to particular stations? ED: I never did it systematically because I had other things to do. But we did monitor P6tain's speech asking for an armistice in studio 3 in Broadcasting House. But it was all very ad hoc. We were brought in then because the regular monitoring people couldn't understand some sentences. We had a very faint recording of it which we had to play back over and over again. In fact some of it ('dans l'honneur et dans la dignit6') was so unexpected that only the French papers received later cleared up the matter. MC: It seems that the BBC had to improvise very much at that time. ED: On the whole they improvised from the early Arab broadcasts. It started with Arabic, then they brought in German and French, but it was all extemporized, with minimum staff, sometimes very inadequate staff. MC: The other major source, a source that gained in importance as the war went on, were the interviews with people returning from France. Did they come through the Royal Victoria Patriotic School (RVPS)' ED: When we started, again we extemporized, by trying to get hold of anybody we heard of who had been in France; after that, through the Ministry of Information, we got weekly lists of people released from the RVPS. RVPS was a filter from MI5, so some people were kept there three months, and others three days, and some people didn't go through RVPS at all, the secret agents, and so on. But we got the RVPS log sheets showing who had come through, so we usually got an address, rang them up or wrote and made an appointment MC: Did the people whose names you were given have to come and talk to you, were they encouraged to' ED: No, but most of them did We wrote to them and said, 'We'd like to ask you a few questions ' There were also British repatriates MC: Were you ever surprised by what came through, or did it all fit in with an overall picture? ED: I think the overall picture was pretty clear. You have to remember that like everyone else in the early days of the Occupation we were working in the dark. As far as France was concerned at the beginning it was largely attentiste and pitainiste, and there were some strong social divisions. On the whole the Socialists and leftwing people were pro-Allied and anti-German, more anti-German than anything else. MC: Did you have a standard form of questioning? ED: We had a standard questionnaire which was mimeographed,3' we used it with discretion because some people lent themselves to it and others didn't You couldn't use it with people like Mendes-France36 or Massigli.37
Delavenay interviewed Pierre Mendes-France on 24 February 1942 Mendes-France was a valuable witness, for he 'has listened to our broadcasts since his escape from prison . on June 21st 1941, until he left France on January 24th 1942' (Report dated 24 February 1942) 37 Rent Massigli was interviewed by mile Delavenay at the Rit2 Hotel in London on 6 February 1943 His report concludes 'My first impression of M M[assigli] is that he is perhaps one of the strongest personalities to have come from France in the last two years, and that if he can give some of his time and attention to the problems of propaganda he would be able to bring new life to our work, as he sees them from a long-term angle - not so much as "political warfare" and as campaigns in relation to war strategy, as from the angle of the political and Intellectual reconstruction of France' (Report dated 8 February 1943).

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" One of these questionnaires is reproduced in Appendix 2 below 36

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THE BBC AND OCCUPIED FRANCE

KMD: Nor could we use it with the Breton fishermen. You had to adapt it MC: What was the use of the Breton fishermen? KMD: They knew a lot about listening conditions, which was very important, and about how many people had sets, and what sort of sets, and whether you could get repairs for your set, the whole technical question was interesting and very important I think overall we got a pretty good picture, but we were always prepared to discount a good deal of our evidence as coming from pro-British enthusiasts But we got the press as well, we got the denials of the BBC's stories by Vichy and Paris: these told us that news was really getting across. MC: I believe you also went to Camberley to see French prisoners of war who'd been released via Russia. ED: Yes; Crfmieux-Brilhac was one of them1 There was also Pierre Billotte, Colonel Billotte as he then was.58 Billotte had been a prisoner of war in Germany and was liberated from a camp in Poland, I think, and they managed to escape to Russia where they were immediately put under observation because they were suspect. In fact Billotte told me the story: in Russia he had two spies following him wherever he went and there were two Japanese spies behind each Russian spy, so if you went to the hairdresser, six people went to the hairdresser at once! But they were released by the Russians after Russia had been attacked by the Germans KMD: They provided us with valuable information on listening conditions in German prisoner-of-war camps. MC: How ever did they manage to listen to the BBC in the camps? ED: Some managed to listen to secret crystal sets, that sort of thing. KMD: And some of them of course were sent out of the camps to work. These were the early prisoners, but all the same they picked up the news, and even listened to broadcasts in the farms and places where they were sent to work. MC: Did it strike you as odd that there was suddenly so much pro-British feeling in France when Anglophobia had been so commonplace in the 1930s and during the phoney war, and when there were such intensive anti-British propaganda campaigns being mounted in France? ED: Anglophobia was limited to a small but influential number of people, and prevalent mostly in the navy, but I don't think you can count on it as a permanent feature. It was there as a potential force, and it was successfully revived by German propaganda during the phoney war, with slogans like 'Les Anglais donnent leurs machines, les Francais donnent leur poitrine' But it didn't go very far, and I think it dwindled very soon after the Battle of Britain, simply because it was in the interest of France that Britain should win, and because the Germans were on the spot. MC: So any view of Britain as 'hereditary enemy', as 'perfidious Albion', was easily outweighed by the fact that the Germans were the occupying force. KMD: Not in all circles, but in most. MC: But wasn't Mers el-K6bir a bench-mark, because in 1941 the anniversary [3 July] was marked in the press in Occupied France? ED: Yes. Anglophobia worked on people who supported those in command in the navy like Abrial and Darlan. MC: Let's turn to some of the other sources you relied on, to listeners' letters. It surprises people that the postal service continued during the war, and that letters arrived; how did that happen?
38

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"For Billottc's memoirs ,~see Le temps des armes (1972).

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ED: There was a postal service with Unoccupied France, and with Switzerland, Spain and Portugal MC: So letters were shipped out to Lisbon' KMD: They could simply be posted in Unoccupied France, from the Occupied Zone they were smuggled to a certain extent across the demarcation line, people would give their letters to someone they knew who was going to cross The bulk were from Unoccupied France. MC: So for the Pas-de-Calais, for example, you didn't receive much from there ED: There was very little from there. The Nord and the Pas-de-Calais were a forbidden zone where nobody could go in and out. MC: On some of the letters you received there's the annotation 'acknowledged by mike' Did this mean that an acknowledgment or a message had been transmitted back to France in broadcasts' KMD: Brunius did a weekly programme which began in 1941 called 'Courrier de France' 39 MC: So there was a process whereby French people could be encouraged directly through broadcasts: you acknowledged their letters and encouraged people to listen to the messages. KMD: Yes, that was one of the aims of the 'Courrier de France', to show them that letters would get to us, that they could express their view. MC: That must have counted a lot ED: Yes, a lot of them thought, like others, that it was impossible, that letters wouldn't get to London. For some people it was a bit like dropping a bottle into the sea. The addresses some people used were most peculiar, there was an Italian one which came before Italy joined the war addressed to 'Spettabile Frutane Vegetarie BBC, Covent Garden, Londra', but it got to us all right It was somebody saying they listened to all the broadcasts and encouraging us Between July 1939 and June 1940 we had been answering a lot of correspondence, so listeners were receiving BBC headed notepaper and knew that there was a possibility of getting an answer: that may have played a part in encouraging people to write MC: So you did answer letters' ED: Until the armistice, we answered a lot They came in large quantities. In February 1940 we had at least Gaby [Drabble-Alexandrovitch] and Miron Grindea and several others answering letters all the time for me to sign. We did have a policy of answering all letters which built up a sense of contact with the audience. MC: Do you think that the Germans won the propaganda war during the phoney war and the BBC won the propaganda war thereafter' ED: Yes, there was a diffidence among the public in France against French broadcasts and government statements That is permanently true in France, people are cynical about what is given to them as information So there was a widespread desire to listen to something else. They would listen to Ferdonnet on Radio Stuttgart, and they would listen to the BBC, trying to form an opinion. Later during the Occupation some people (I found out later) listened to the Home Service rather than to the Free French because they thought it was more objective. It [i.e. the Home Service] wasn't aimed at them and therefore they didn't see it as propaganda. In the same way they listened to Rend Payot in Switzerland because he wasn't speaking

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Cf. note 27 above.

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THE BBC AND OCCUPIED FRANCE

for them, he was speaking for the Swiss. Everyone remembers him as being important.40 MC: Why do you think it was that the French were willing to believe the BBC when, as you say, they had a natural scepticism about what they were fed from the French papers? KMD: They needed something to sustain themselves. ED: Yes, after the collapse, after the armistice, there was diffidence about German radio in Paris and Vichy radio in Lyon, and therefore they wanted another opinion. We were at that time very careful to avoid propaganda and to give as much information as possible, and I think they acknowledged that. Also, the jammingwas very important. I produced a leaflet in late June or early July 1940, telling people that we would beat the jamming because we had so many wavelengths and that the Germans would never be able to jam them all. I gave this to the RAF, and they dropped it over France, and my sentence about having so many wavelengths came back to us again and again in interviews. Obviously it had spread around like wildfire. I don't think I've ever kept a copy of that leaflet. I gave them all to the RAF It was a little tiny thing I got them printed more or less unofficially, with the help of the Radio Times people. There was no money or anything. They said all right, we'll look after it for you. I made three or four thousand copies, I gave them to an army officer in the BBC. I forget exactly how I did it . . but they certainly got dropped. MC: Were you trained in intelligence gathering' or did you rely on your experience as i journalist? ED: No. But as a journalist it helped a lot, yes, having to find out information and sift it. MC: I gather pigeons were also used to keep in touch with France. Could you outline that? ED: The pigeon method was very simple Clifford Lawson Rees, who was in the Empire World Service, put me in touch with a friend of his at the Saville Club, Lieutenant Pearson, who had been a colonel in the First World War, and who resumed service in the Second, he organized the army carrier pigeon service. He used to have the pigeons put in little boxes like cigar boxes, with a copy of the newspaper France of that day and a questionnaire from the BBC, and they were dropped in the gardens of schoolteachers and priests in the area from which pigeons could return safely to London. We got quite a lot of answers. MC: Mainly about listening conditions? ED: Yes, and public opinion About the confiscation of radio sets too. We got quite a lot of information about the confiscation of sets in the battle area MC: That must have given you some encouragement to learn that radios were being confiscated' ED: We even produced a big report on radio sets for the liberating armies to distribute to the population But it was one of the wasted reports because, in point of fact, they found plenty of radios on the spot. People had hidden them MC: There was collective listening to the BBC, wasn't there, to some extent? ED: Yes; immediately after the Liberation, everyone in France had their story, 'true' stories, possibly a little exaggerated, on how they'd listened, with whom they'd listened, and so on. The interviews with journalists and soldiers who came back On the importance of Rent Payot's commentaries, see La guerre des ondes, ed H. Eck (1985), pp 254-9. - - 40

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from France after the Liberation makes you think the whole of France was listening, probably collectively. That was quite a revelation, how enormous it had been, and even in circumstances which the Germans knew. MC: Another source of opinion were the reports you got from foreign diplomats, such as Pierre Dupuy, the Canadian chargd d'affaires in Vichy.41 You attached great value to Dupuy's reports on public opinion, didn't you' ED: Dupuy was our first source who had been really in Vichy and had seen what was going on there, he couldn't be suspected of bias. He was obviously an ally and a good Canadian, and he was describing what he had seen.'42 We also met Carcano, the Argentinian,'*3 and Matsui the Japanese. Dupuy wasn't neutral, he was Canadian, and Matsui was French educated and spoke absolutely perfect French; he was a very valuable source After the war I found him again as a delegate in UNESCO. He'd been to French elementary school, his French was native and he was a very good observer He was recalled back to Japan sometime before Pearl Harbor. He came from Vichy to London and went back to Tokyo.44 MC: Did the BBC have an Audience Research Department at this time during the war' ED: Yes, long before the war. Mark Abrams was in charge of listener research for the Home Service. He was a sociologist. It was serious listener research He was a specialist of public opinion polls And we had Ernest Kris for a time analysing German propaganda. He was a disciple of Freud, before he went to America He was there for quite a long time. I remember the day when he told me, 'You know who the British P6tain is?', we were walking together in Soho after lunch, and he said, 'Well, judging by what Goebbels is putting out, they are banking on Lloyd George!' MC: Did Audience Research help you with your work? ED: They helped us a little and warned us to avoid giving too much credit to evidence from enthusiastic listeners KMD: It was quite a small unit. MC: Recent analysis of French opinion during the Occupation and the P6tain phenomenon poses two sides of the problem. On the one hand there is marecbaHsme, the positive side, with Pftain as a hero figure, and on the other is pitainisme, or the rather more negative side, with its xenophobia, the repression, the authoritarianism, and so on. 4 ' Did this come across to you' KMD: Yes, there were two aspects, sometimes crossed and sometimes separate . . . ED: Mare^balisme was the basis of the acceptance of Petain by the country, except for people such as L6on Werth46 and myself who saw through it immediately. But the beginnings oipGtainisme made people indignant very soon, especially the 'Statut des Juifs' and that sort of thing. As soon as they realized that the 'Revolution nationale' was being exploited in the sense of a sort of Fascism, a good many people began to change their minds quickly.
41

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Churchill called Dupuy his 'little window on Vichy', see Kersaudy, CburcbiU and de

GauUe, p 120 42 The report of Delavenay's interview with Dupuy dated 10 February 1941 is reproduced as Appendix 3 below Delavenay had a further conversation with him on 24 March 1941. 43 Delavenay interviewed Senor Dr Carcano on 29 May 1942 44 Akira Matsui was interviewed on 29 October 1941 at the restaurant 'Ecu de France'. 4i Cf P Laboric, L opinion frattfaise sous Vicby (1990) 46 Cf. Werth's Deposition Journal 1940-1944.

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KMD: There is something that I don't think even writers like L6on Werth emphasize enough, and that is P6tain's role in the acceptance of the armistice, tied to the hope of the liberation of war prisoners. I think that was very important and explains why there was immediate support for P6tain MC: And because de Gaulle was a military man, was there a feeling in London that really de Gaulle was similar, but dressed up in a different way' ED: The French military were hostile to him in London, the officials, and many in the French army were hostile to de Gaulle for reasons that became clear only later, when Lacouture wrote his biography, because he obviously wasn't made in the same mould. He was too independent. The French army was terribly conventional and self-centred. 1 think many of us in London would have been more friendly towards de Gaulle if we had really known the reasons for his unpopularity with the French army MC: That seems to be part of the de Gaulle myth. It tends to ignore the improvisation and the great uncertainties of the war as it unfolded. ED: More and more people came to London saying there's only one possible rallying point, it's de Gaulle, which was true, with plenty of reservations on the part of everybody, whether it was [Ren6] Massigli, or [Pierre] Vieiiot, or [Fernand] Grenier and the Communists, or [Ren6] Capitant and [Christian] Pineau, and so on They all had reservations, but they said, 'For the moment, it's the only way, he's the only flag ' MC: Was it recognized at the time that he had poor relationships with the English' ED: No, but it became known amongst the inner circle of the French, when you had people going around saying that de Gaulle had been visiting the troops, and eating with them, and saying, 'Don't worry, we shall fight the English after the war with the Germans'1 That came back to me again and again, his sort of talk in the popote; and knowing the man better after the rest of his history, he was obviously pandering to the slight Anglophobia of some of the troops, who were obviously not happy to be on English soil and did not enjoy life in England MC: Did Dunkirk play a role in that, do you think? KMD: Well, many of the people to whom he was talking then were French men brought over from Dunkirk; the whole question then was to get them to stay. ED: But many of them were sent back even before 18 June [ 1940]. He would bitterly complain all the time about the low quality of the people with him, but that again was characteristic; he'd always done that, and he'd had some of the shadiest people with him at the beginning The man who took over his press service was a man who, so I was told, had been expelled from England before the war for some drug offence, and whom nobody would receive in the Ministry of Information. MC: You say in your memoirs that you saw a good deal of Lieutenant Andre Manuel of the BCRA [Bureau Central de Renseignement et d'Action], the Gaullist secret service in London What was the substance of your exchanges? ED: Manuel was the only one with any secret service experience in the BCRA. For instance, I gave him the addresses of people who had written to the BBC, so that he would be able to have them contacted by his agents in France. We gave him quite a lot of information. I think we were mostly on the giving side not on the receiving side MC: You gave him addresses of people who had written to the BBC? Wasn't that considered to be too dangerous? ED:'Well, we" didn't think of that at the time. We-were all amateurs!

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KMD: This was very early on My recollection of your relations with Manuel was when we were in Bedford College, it was late 1940, early 1941. MC: Were you aware of what the BCRA was doing in France' ED: Not really. We heard some of the loose talk about the BCRA being 'une bande de cagoulards', which was not untrue of some of them.47 We got diverging reports about some of them. Some of my Socialist friends were favourable to [Raymond] Lagier for instance, who acted for the BCRA under the name of 'Bienvenue' on the action side One of the things said in London about the BCRA was that they had all taken the names of mitro stations but not one of them had called himself Jaures! KMD: Basically, we weren't all that interested. We are interested now, and it became interesting when it became a political problem But in 1941 we weren't interested. ED: They were obviously looking by feeling their way around. I remember the day when Passy said to me rather inquisitively, but quite happy about his choice, he had made a recruit, my old condisciple Quihci from Louis-le-Grand . I made no comment! Passy recruited him as one of his collaborators in the BCRA, he didn't stay long. MC: Didn't he run the newspaper La Marseillaise? KMD: Yes. It was a dreadful paper/ 8 MC: Did your BCRA contacts pass on information about opinion to you' ED: They always did by the most publicity-minded means of press conferences and that sort of thing That's one reason why I was so diffident about Yvon Morandat's evidence, because they produced Morandat as a spontaneous resister from France when he was one of their trained agents, and they produced it at a suitable moment when de Gaulle realized that resistance was important for him, and that he had to claim it as part of his system, which wasn't exactly true at the time In other words I was diffident about Morandat's evidence, probably too diffident, but at the same time there was a basic vice in the operation, which was to produce Morandat at the very moment when de Gaulle needed most to have the British believe that all resistance was with him 49 It was a propaganda move MC: You had contacts with SOE [Special Operations Executive] as well, did you' You mention Bourne-Paterson in your book. ED: Yes, Paterson was SOE, and worked with F-Section, and became second-incommand to Buckmaster. A good many of the SOE agents were trained listeners. They were extremely good for listening conditions, and they were also very anxious to give us proper background on French opinion and, on the whole, it was balanced background. A man like F. C Cammaerts, for example, was a very good observer, while he was engaged in very active Maquis work, he was also a good observer of French opinion. MC: You interviewed them? ED: Yes, well, Bourne-Paterson used to ring me up and say, 'Can you ask me to lunch with two other guests tomorrow'', and that sort of thing. Or he would ask me to lunch with them He was based at 64 Baker Street, at SOE.
47

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Cordicr examines the charge that the BCRA might have been a 'repere de cagoulards' in
capitate de la Resistance, pp. 7 1 1 - 1 8 .

De Gaulle,

^8 On Quilici and La Marseillaise, sec the comments by Lacouture, p 407, and M andJ-P Cointct, La France a Londres, 1940-1943 (Brussels, 1990), p 93 49 For background to Leon ('Yvon') Morandat's missions to France, see Cordier, De Gaulle,

capitate de la Resistance, pp 743, 763-4, 905

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KMD: How did you get in touch with Bourne-Paterson originally' ED: Through Jacques Vaillant de Gu61is, who came to Bedford College, where our offices were based for some time in 1940 De Gudlis put me in touch with BournePaterson De Guelis was a French 'Buckmaster boy', one of the first recruits BournePaterson was a former student of Gonville and Caius College; we got on well - he had been about four years ahead of me at Caius.'0 MC: Once the letters and other sources that you received and analysed began to show that there was a wakening spirit of resistance in France, how did the Gaullist Free French, the 'carltoniens' [the nickname derived from their HQ in Carlton Gardens, London], react to this? You had daily meetings with Gaston Palewski, didn't you' ED: They had their own sources, but they wanted to have resistance synonymous with de Gaulle De Gaulle didn't believe in resistance at the beginning, and even when [Christian] Pineau came he hardly believed in it." MC: You talk fairly disparagingly in your memoirs about Gaston Palewski.52 ED: Yes. MC: Why is that' ED: He was one of those for whom there seemed only one purpose in the whole operation, and that was to seize power on the return to France. MC: He represented Carlton Gardens? ED: Yes, for a time he came to the BBC every day. He used to look on our daily meeting at Bedford College with contempt and disgust because the BBC was not under de Gaulle. MC: But didn't it appear obvious to him why that should be the case? ED: Maybe, it might have been obvious, but he didn't want it to be like that. He was not a good liaison officer. 1 have been given to understand that he was largely responsible for the British having arrested my friend Dominique Leca and his colleague Gilbert Devaux, who arrived in London on 1 August 1940. Leca told me that Palewski wrote every week to say, 'Make sure that Leca and Devaux stay in prison ' They were all, Leca, Devaux, Palewski and de Gaulle, on Reynaud's staff, and Leca was a potential rival Hence his three months in prison in Pentonville and two years' enforced residence in York.53 MC: Did you have contacts with the magazine France Libre? ED: With Andre Labarthe, yes, and with Raymond Aron, a little at the beginning, not much. They went very much their own way. Aron was critical of de Gaulle all through that period.54 MC: It wasn't a Gaullist magazine? ED: No, it was an independent French magazine. The finance came from Labarthe's mistress, but where she got her money, heaven knows, and the story was that she was a Communist. It was a very good magazine. Aron was a distinguished editor. I have no idea about the circulation, but it was circulated in the free world and there

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w mile Delavenay had been a lecteur at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in the late 1920s " See Christian Pincau's memoirs, La simple viritt (I960, Editions Phalanx, 1983) " E g Delavenay, Te^noignage, p 187. " Cf Gaston Palewski's memoirs, Mimoires d'action, 1924-1974 (1988), esp. chapter VII. u For Raymond Aron's recollections of Andr6 Labarthe, and their role at France Libre, see

his Mfrnoires, 50~ans de reflexionspolitiques (1983), pp I68ff.

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was a reduced edition, which was dropped by the RAF regularly in France, with what success I don't know. MC: You published two selections of letters in it, didn't you? You quote one letter received from Toulouse dated 19 October 1940 in which one reads the following: 'Les qualites de flegme et noble sang-froid que legue la 16gende a la blanche Albion, sous nos yeux aujourd'hui se montrent mdritees Dans cette heure traglque notre coeur va vers vous qui luttez pour la gloire et l'honneur du drapeau. Puisse notre pensfie sympathique et confiante alleger le fardeau qui pese sur vous, comme la BBC desserre chaque jour l'etreinte malsaine de la propagande ennemle.'5' I think that's a very interesting example of a. positive expression of the stereotypical and usually Anglophobic view of the English. In your memoirs you say that Brossolette and Moulin weTe protected. How were they protected? ED: Well, they weren't allowed to see people in London. They hardly saw anybody Moulin was a friend of Labarthe, but I don't even think that he was allowed to see Labarthe when he was in London.5* I never met him in London, nor did I meet Brossolette, three years my senior at Normale (the 1922 promotion) where I did not meet him either MC: What do you think of all the latest business about Moulin, his allegedly having been a Soviet agent?57 ED: I think this is just accusation without proof. He may very well have been known to Soviet services, but so were many others He certainly wasn't antiCommunist, but I don't think that means that he was a Communist. I shall always remember my own experience in 1928 or 1929. A French lady in London went to tell some friends of mine that I was a Communist because I had told her that I would like to know what was really happening in the Soviet Union. People had been using the term Communist as an accusation against others for years without any justification. MC: How did your work at the BBC Intelligence Department feed into the effort of the Ministry of Information? ED: It's difficult to say. It appeared to us that the Ministry of Information had no real responsibilities, and therefore it didn't have to be efficient. The Ministry of Information was very amateurish. MC: What was their specific relationship with things French' ED: Well, there was a French section in the early days before the armistice, with Enid Macleod and Raymond Mortimer, and I can remember at the time of the armistice ringing up Enid Macleod with some ideas of what to do for France, and she said, 'Oh, we've finished here, we're packing up.' I can remember the day when, at a
" Quoted from 'Lcttrcs de France', par J J [i.e fimllc Delavcnay], La Prance Libre, 1, no 5 (March 1941), p 465. " It is worth noting that Cordier refers to an 'Interview [with Moulin] at RPS' [The Royal Victoria Patriotic School] dated 23 October 1941, as well as an 'Interview with Mr Moulins' (sic), conducted by Colonel Sutton and dating from 4 November 1941, see De Gaulle, capitate de la Resistance, pp 97, 1347, and pp 853ff, and 1421-2 respecdvely " This is a reference to the controversial work by Thierry Wolton, Le grand recrutement, published in January 1993, which alleges that at the time he worked for Pierre Cot in the late 1930s Jean Moulin was recruited as a Soviet spy Wolton's book provoked much criticism from historians- see, for example, the preface to the third volume already cited of Daniel Cordier's massive biography of Moulin, De Gaulle, capitate de la Resistance, and P Vidal-Naquet, Le

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trait empoisonni. reflexions sur lajfaireJean Moulin (1993).

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meeting in the Ministry of Information with Oliver Harvey, we were hauled over the coals for not having provoked the revolution in Vichy on 11 November 1940! Nigel Sutton was there and backed me up, saying, 'Look, first of all you don't know what sort of town Vichy is, you don't produce a street revolution in a town like that Secondly, we're not ready for it and we haven't got the propaganda means for doing it ' Then some of the ministry's work was taken over by SOE, and from later in 1941 we dealt with PWE (the Political Warfare Executive). The PWE was obviously an operational concern which knew what it was doing, and it worked quite well. Each Friday we met at Ingersoll House, near Bush House Colonel Sutton presided, or his deputy Lewis Gielgud Also there were Duchesne or his deputy [from 'Les Francais parlent aux Francais'], myself, and Darsie Gillie for the BBC's information service Sylvain Mangeot, British son of the French violinist Andre Mangeot, was one of the chiefs of this French team at PWE, and Dr Leslie Beck, for MI5 security and counter-espionage would also be there. The purpose of this meeting was to decide the propaganda line for the coming week MC: When you say you organized the propaganda for the coming week, what did that entail? ED: We decided the line of the broadcasts, the main themes, very much like our daily meeting at Bedford College. KMD: And you say Duchesne came? ED: Yes, Duchesne came, I think he was the only one, Duchesne and I from the BBC, and Gillie of course. It was a general exchange of information about the situation in France and about the progress of the war and how to handle the news for the following week MC: What about Charles Peake, whom you mention in your memoirs? ED: Charles Peake was different. He was put in charge of Press Liaison in the Ministry of Information during the phoney war. He finally became ambassador to de Gaulle. Part of Carlton Gardens. Charles Peake was fine. MC: You said he always gave you a very cordial welcome. ED: Yes, he was a very remarkable man Before the war I took him out to lunch many times He used to devour enormous amounts of crab salad, and never opened his mouth except to eat He was a wonderful Press Officer, he never spoke We were great friends. MC: What was his role exactly? Was he Foreign Office Press Liaison Officer? ED: Well, in the Foreign Office before the war he was number one after Rex Leeper, the then Chief of Press Liaison, Foreign Office. That's how I got to know him Then he became Foreign Office Liaison Officer in the Ministry of Information at the beginning of the war, until the collapse of France After that I lost touch with him. But he was there regularly as the Foreign Office's chief man in the Ministry of Information. MC: I'd like to ask you now about the PEP, or Political and Economic Planning This is very interesting. ED: Yes, this was 'letting in the reds', as the Duke of Wellington put it" MC: Letting in the reds? ED: PEP was funded by Israel Sieff of Marks and Spencer, and it had various planning groups, and had a post-war planning group which was very brilliant. It produced a blue document which was the source for a great deal of international work afterwards It was handed over by Julian Huxley to Luther Evans, the Librarian of Congress, and from Luther Evans to Roosevelt's staff. It was, in fact, one of the blueprints for the future United-Nations. - - - - - - - -

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MC: Who else came to the meetings of PEP' ED: Julian Huxley, the biologist, was one of the principal members Dick Crossman used to come, but not very often. Peter Mayer came; he was a great friend of Attlee's. Max Nicholson, who became chief planner for Attlee. Michael Young, now Lord Young of Dartington, was secretary of the group. The political scientist David Owen, from Glasgow, was there, he became Stafford Cripps's private secretary I was coopted into it towards the end of 1939 on the proposal of John Lawrence. MC: And F. R Cowell? ED: He was a Foreign Office clerk who rose up to better things and was part of the Spears mission to de Gaulle, and was a founding member of PEP And Rab Butler came to'lunch We used to meet in the evenings until the bombs made us meet at lunchtime We used to have distinguished guests for lunch from time to time The only ones I can remember are Rab Butler, Michael Foot, William Temple58 and Barbara Ward, there must have been others. We discussed post-war problems, postwar organizations MC: Didn't the PEP do much of the thinking behind the Bevendge report' ED: Yes, that was Francois Lafitte He led one of the working groups In fact it was Francois Lafitte who wrote a draft of the Beveridge report. It was done by a group of PEP, I think Michael Young must have been on it. A group working on internal social problems in England. But it was largely Lafitte's work under Beveridge's guidance MC: Did you have any dealings with Denis Saurat during the war? ED: Not really, not much. MC: Did he spend most of the time in London? ED: I think he concentrated on his Chair at King's College. But he did write one or two articles in English newspapers in which he was very critical of de Gaulle for which he was never forgiven He rather dropped out of the French circle. MC: You talk about Paul-Louis Bret.59 He ran the Mission d'Information Francaise ED: Yes; he ran the Agence Havas until the war broke out, and the Mission d'Information Francaise until the armistice. MC: What did the Mission do? ED: Well, it dealt with information both ways, from England to France and France to England. It had Rend Maheu going about lecturing in England, largely as a propagandist, and he covered all the information questions in the embassy; his office was in the Institut Francais, in fact, in the lycie The Institut having moved, having closed, and the lyde having been sent to Cumberland, the offices were taken by the Mission Militaire and the Mission d'Information MC: What did Bret do then? ED: Bret's wife and two daughters were in France; he was very much a family man And he became ill with phlebitis and couldn't move from his house in Wimbledon, for weeks he was very badly stricken. Finally he went back to Montpellier where his wife and daughters were, with the blessing of the British Foreign Office. After Montpellier, he went to Vichy, where of course the people in Havas received him very coldly, as he was known as a notoriously pro-British journalist He managed to get himself sent to Algiers where he organized'the French information network, particularly the telegraph and the telephone lines between Algiers, Tunis and Rabat in Morocco, and established a direct line between Algiers
w w

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At the time Willian Temple was archbishop of York See Bret's memoirs, Au feu des 6i>4nements (1959).

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and Rabat which was invaluable at the time of the Torch landings He had Maheu at one end in Morocco, and worked a mile from Algiers himself, so that when Algiers was liberated, he had a French news agency ready for the whole of North Africa. De Gaulle got rid of him as soon as possible, and he got rid of Maillaud in the Free French agency. Bret was a great believer in the freedom of information, and I can't say that any of those among de Gaulle's circle were at the time MC: And Pierre Maillaud [Bourdan] ' He ran the Agence Francaise Independante. ED: Maillaud's idea was that since France was occupied there had to be something to take the place of the world network of Havas which we had been supplying with news from its London office, so Maillaud founded the Agence Francaise Independante. First of all he called it Dberte, Egalit.6, Fraternite, but that was too long, so he changed it to AFI and stepped into all the contracts all over the world which Havas had had with American and South American newspapers, and Far Eastern newspapers. MC: And the operation was run from London' ED: Yes, working via Reuters. The offices were at Reuters MC: Did that last for the whole war? ED: It lasted for the whole war until Havas was replaced by Agence France Presse at the time of the Liberation, and the AFI in London was merged into the new Agence France Presse MC: I'd like to ask you now for your recollections of the British during the war What in general terms is your recollection of British opinion regarding the French during the war years? ED: There were the usual comments, like 'you can't trust the Frenchies, the froggies', but on the whole, in responsible circles, it was a mixture of confidence and slightly critical analysis. I can tell you, for instance, that when Daladicr came to London after negotiating with Chamberlain before Munich, he annoyed everyone, French and English, by being practically drunk at lunchtime, drinking too much wine and being fuddled at the end The interwar period always reminds me of the story of the orchestra with two trombones. A man is asked by a friend if he could replace him in the orchestra the next day because he couldn't be there as a trombone player, and this man says, 'But I can't play the trombone', and the first man says, 'It doesn't matter You just watch your neighbour and pull your trombone-slide to and fro, but don't blow in the instrument, and you'll see that it'll be all right.' Unfortunately the other man had done the same thing, and whether you look at the time of the Rhineland invasion by Hitler, or Munich, and so on, it was always each trombone player looking at the other and wondering who'd go first MC: And that was widely perceived at the time, was it? ED: Well, certainly by people like me, people in journalism, yes. It was most depressing But the British were only too glad when the French like Flandin came to London and decided to do nothing. Each was used as an alibi by the other. MC: But on the level of more popular perceptions of the French, as you said earlier, it was 'these untrustworthy froggies'? ED: I must say that at the time of the collapse of France, all the British that I met were most helpful and sympathetic. There was nothing but support from everybody at all levels. Local tradespeople and everyone.60
60 For an example of a British produced pro-French morale-booster, see Free France and Great Britain tbe Franco-British companion, ed W G Corp (1941), with contributions among others by l^barthe; Dejcan; Duff Cooper and Saurat. -

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MC: How would you describe the evolution of French opinion as you monitored it, between June 1940 and the end of 1942? ED: Well, there was hope for a possible British victory, as had been shown by the Battle of Britain from the end of September/early October 1940, then hope began to grow for a second front; there was much despondency after the abortive raid on Dieppe, and increasing despondency until November 1942 when the Torch landings took place in North Africa. MC: The work I've done so far in the archives gives an overall impression that opinion was very sensitive to the unfolding of events, and evolved according to them: even relatively 'minor' events such as the bombardment of various factories by the RAF seemed to bring fluctuations in opinion - do you think that the RAF set things back a bit, when they bombed French towns? ED: Well, many people wrote to say 'congratulations' when they'd done it. KMD: Yes, there were variations according to events in the war, we saw these emerge clearly, they also depended enormously on the food situation, requisitioning, the STO, all the events on the spot, and impatience for a second front. ED: Recurring remarks from returners from France emphasized that time spent in getting food was most important, and deflected people's attention away from other considerations, I saw it when I went to Normandy in December 1944. People were collecting food from all over the place trying to get it back into Paris. MC: How do you explain that immediately after the fall of France, the British were so uninformed about France?61 ED: I became aware of one thing, that the British secret service had left most of the information on France to its French counterpart, and by the time of the collapse of France, the British secret service was practically without agents in France. There were very, very few, and therefore they found themselves completely at a loss, it was then that we stepped in during the early part of the war as almost the only source of information on Unoccupied France. MC: Yes, you say in your memoirs that the British secret services were in a state of almost complete disorganization. ED: Yes They had people in France like Colonel Sutton, and others in Paris, but of course they'd gone back to England. They had men like 'Jones' in Elizabeth Arden. Early in the war we got a list of firms that were to be blackballed as being suspected of pro-German activity One of them was Elizabeth Arden. It so happened that the head of Elizabeth Arden was a man called Jones, whom I interviewed, and who was killed by the Gestapo later on, whose wife was Austrian, and who was a British secret agent all the time. I met him through SOE. So there were people, but the whole network was disorganized because the British depended so much on the Deuxieme Bureau and French intelligence. MC: Did the Deuxieme Bureau actually have direct links with your service at the BBC? ED: No, the only links were quite accidental, through Leguyon for instance, who came to see me; he was investigating de Gaulle's responsibility in the murder of Darlan. MC: One gains an impression from the chapters on wartime London in your book that there was a numerous and dynamic French presence in London Did it feel like that to you at the time, that there were lots of people and lots of ideas buzzing around?
61

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Cf Churchill's memo to Ismay quoted above (note 17)

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ED: There were lots of people. There were all the Carlton Gardens staff, Free French officers. And yes, there was quite intense activity. Naturally, the main focus of activity tended to gather around the Free French. Then of course there was France Libre and France the newspaper There was another group I haven't talked about much because I didn't belong to it, but there was the Cercle Jean Jaures,62 which was a Socialist group Several of my friends were in it, both in and out of the de Gaulle circle. Georges Gombault was a member, Henri Hauck who worked with de Gaulle after some hesitation, and who worked on the labour side. Georges Boris was in it certainly, and a number of Free French who were not officially registered with de Gaulle. The Cercle Jean Jaures was one of the places where people like Brossolette were seen occasionally by some of them. And Pineau of course was in touch with the Cercle Jean Jaures when he came And naturally everything tended to come to the BBC because people automatically thought, 'Let's get in touch with the BBC They all tended to come to the BBC. MC: Who was Jonathan Griffin? ED: Jonathan Griffin was an old Etonian, a poet, and wrote drama in verse; one was played at the Edinburgh festival. His wife was at the Ministry of Information. After the war he went to Paris as radio attachd to the British Embassy with Duff Cooper. He was a Czech specialist. He'd been interested in Czechoslovakia and he came in when John Lawrence moved into programme planning; he was an extremely fastidious user of English prose, a careful writer; he used to correct my English quite minutely in my reports. MC: What role did Pierre Comert63 play? ED: Pierre Comert was a normalien of the 1900s, a contemporary of Jean Giraudoux. He got the Kahn round-the-world fellowship64 when he left the Ecole normale suprieure, for a trip around the world, which was a great thing in those days He became head of the Public Relations office of the League of Nations. He was there until the Germans came in Being a German scholar he knew all about Germany, and the new German Under-Secretary General demanded his departure. And he became head of the Press Office of the Paris Foreign Office sometime before the war and he was sacked from that by Georges Bonnet because of his attitude to Munich. He came to London, and founded France with the help of the British Ministry of Information. MC: Financial help? ED: Yes, which of course caused de Gaulle's anger, because de Gaulle, who was also financed by the British, accused France of being in the pay of the British, but it was run quite independently, quite satisfactorily by Comert and his team. MC: And was it a well-respected newspaper? ED: Yes, it was a good newspaper.65 It made a point of never criticizing de Gaulle, although de Gaulle was very critical of France.
61 Cordier gives details of the 'groupe Jean Jaures' in De Gaulle, capitale de la Resistance, pp 634ff
63

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M andJ-P Cointet, in La France a Londres, p 125, mistakenly refer to him as Philippe

Comert. 64 Albert Kahn was arichFrench businessman who bequeathed his fortune to an institution enabling one young academic each year to travel round the world, and another to have a prolonged stay in a distant country. Kahn also endowed some botanical gardens near the Bois dc Boulogne, which bore his name (information supplied by . Delavenay). 65 On France, see G Gombault, Un journal, une aventure (1982)

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MC: Was it in opposition to France that the weekly La Marseillaise was created? ED: Yes, it was created as a propaganda sheet. KMD: Ixi Marseillaise is very interesting because it reflects the sort of attitudes we were up against. It was Anglophobia run wild . . ED: La Marseillaise was suppressed, I think its paper allocation was stopped at the request of Cordell Hull, the American Foreign Minister. MC: What about Georges Boris? ED: My first contact with Georges Boris was when my father subscribed to a newspaper weekly called La Lumi&re, which was an extremely intelligent and enlightened Socialist paper dating from the early 1930s. Georges Boris ran it with Georges Gombault. Georges Boris turned up in London looking for a job. He came into my office with his son Charles Gombault, who I still see coming to me saying, 'I must have a job, otherwise' - and with his finger under his neck he suggested he would be throttled. Then Boris joined de Gaulle soon after Before the war he had been Blum's personal assistant. He was an economist He was very good. MC: And Henri Hauck? ED: Henri Hauck was a French trade union man, a friend of Christian Pineau, and he came to London as labour attach6 in the French Embassy sometime in very early 1940, at a time when Jack Sandford was sent to Paris as labour attach6 in the British Embassy I got to know Hauck then. MC: Was he quite a reluctant convert? ED: He dithered, wondering what de Gaulle was up to; finally Hauck joined him sometime in July or August 1940. MC: So principally he was a carltonien, was he' ED: He was a carltonien with reservations. He was a founder member of the Jean Jaures circle, and therefore kept in touch with Socialists outside de Gaulle's movement He was a great friend of William Pickles. MC: Did you have dealings with Victor Delaveleye' ED: Yes indeed, he was a Belgian former Minister of Education and the inventor of the 'V campaign. That was a very successful campaign. He had no idea what the reaction would be. In fact the Free French and the French in the BBC, Duchesne and Marin, were rather hostile to the idea of the big campaign because it came from Belgians, they were overtaken by events because it was such a success in France that they had to follow suit. MC: Even in the forbidden zone around Calais 'V signs sprang up all over the place. It must have given you an enormous boost. KMD: Yes, and it showed just how powerful radio was ED: It also showed my compatriots in the French service, who tended to think of the BBC as tbeir service, that the BBC had European responsibilities far beyond what they thought, because they did tend to be rather parochial. Not Bourdan, but Duchesne certainly tended to overstress his independence from the BBC. MC: Did you come into contact very much with Rend Cassin?66 ED: Yes. In fact Cassin tried to get me on to the French delegation to the international committee which ultimately created UNESCO and I probably mistakenly refused to join that. I said I was too busy with BBC work.

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For Cassin's memoirs, Les bommes partis de rien (1975)

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KMD: Cassin was one of two men whom we in our service underestimated, he was a big influence in keeping de Gaulle on the democratic line. The other was [Georges] Boris, whom we didn't know very well. ED: Boris was in an ambiguous position all the time, being a liaison officer with the BBC, and having to respond to instructions from de Gaulle's staff and keep on good terms with us MC: Was Jacques Soustelle in London while you were there? ED: Yes, but strangely enough I never met him. He came from Mexico. He was essentially a Mexican archaeologist. He came over and became Home Secretary for de Gaulle. Like many intellectuals he took to secret work with too much gusto. MC: Did you associate much with the team who ran 'Les Francais parlent aux Francais'? ED: Yes, very much so. As I said Bourdan was an old friend from Havas days Pierre Leffevre was my former pupil at the Lycfie francais and we saw Duchesne at our daily meetings. Jean Marin was perhaps less friendly, he was sort of half and half under de Gaulle's control and 'Les Francais parlent aux Francais' Brunius I didn't know before the war. We saw a lot of him because he was one of the most intelligent of the team, and he ran 'Le courrier des lecteurs', which was based on the letters we received MC: Which were the most successful broadcasts that they produced? News, commentaries or talks? ED: The news was not 'Les Francais parlent aux Francais', it was the BBC French service news The talk called 'Les trois amis' between Bourdan, Marin and Jean Oberlfi was certainly the most successful. It was a good formula because it gave people a chance to hear several opinions, and it was very, very successful in France. KMD: The first big successes were the slogans and spoken rhymes, like 'RadioParis ment, Radio-Paris ment, Radio-Paris est allemand' - they were very effective These gave the programmes their flavour which was maintained in one way or another throughout, and made them very different from some of the other language programmes. ED: It was very good broadcasting, there's no doubt about that. Bourdan's news commentary was always extremely good; Bourdan was a remarkable man. Unfortunately he died after the war in a boating accident, somewhere off St Tropez I think. He certainly used to burn the candle at both ends! MC: During the period around D-Day and after, leading to the Liberation in August 1944, I suppose you continued to monitor opinion constantly? ED: Yes, as far as we could, but there were fewer sources There were still people coming back from France, and people coming back through Algiers. But the most exciting period was 1940-2 MC: By the first half of 1944 the Resistance networks were in place- did you have a more definite idea by that time of what the Resistance meant? Did you realize what the Resistance was going to be, sabotage and disruptions of the German war effort? ED: Yes, we knew from the increase in the number of secret messages given to us that there was going to be more and more activity. KMD: Naturally enough information from the Resistance groups didn't feed back into the BBC, except via the interviews they were permitted to do with us. The ones who were permitted to be interviewed were most valuable, but their information was too valuable to be scattered. " MC: So" you "didn't "meet "people like Rmy", for example?

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ED: We didn't see R6my, no Those people went through special networks of reception and arrival in England As far as we knew they didn't come through RVPS.67 MC: It is no exaggeration to claim, as Andrd Philip has done, that 'the underground resistance movement was built up by the BBC'.68 That's a very early tribute to your work dating from the war years. Clearly, in this view at least, the effectiveness of the Resistance was built up by the monitoring and intelligence efforts of the BBC. ED: Yes, I think what we did was vital because the British government were totally without information about French opinion in June and July 1940, and I think my July report was quite a bombshell in showing that there was an independent French opinion to be studied and helped along. We knew they were listening, despite the jamming, so there was a technical point to be made. John Salt said he would put a copy of my July 1940 report on the desk of every cabinet minister, it certainly helped getting credits for wavelengths - there was a terrific shortage of transmitters. They had to be bought in America, they cost dollars. I mentioned the story of the Treasury ringing me up, somebody in the Treasury, to find out whether it was worthwhile putting money in transmitters Why he called me was because of this paper that had been put in the hands of cabinet ministers. KMD: We had also really convinced ourselves and the broadcasters. The feedback to the broadcasters was also extremely important which led in turn to them knowing what their audience potential was. ED: I think our work from July 1939 to June 1940 justified our existence, through producing these reports immediately. I think it was vital. It was an essential part of the war of the airwaves
67 68

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But sec n o t e 5 6 Quoted by E Tangyc Lean In Voices in tbe darkness,

p 149

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Report on French listening conditions and public opinion, July 1940


FRANCE

(a) Propaganda and the French collapse [paragraph] 29- Apart from the usual review of the month's evidence on the general effects of BBC news in France, which is given below, two questions, which will be present in all minds, must be considered. What part did propaganda play in the French collapse, and how can it now be used in France to further the prosecution of the war' The facts are gradually becoming clearer, and it is possible to attempt to answer both questions in the light of recent correspondence, and of a number of conversations with French soldiers, journalists and statesmen, as well as with Englishmen back from France. A collapse of morale 30. If, as is now fairly well established, the bulk of the armies of France were never brought into the battle, and if among those who did have to fight there were men who refused to be 'killed for Churchill and the English' and ran from their posts - the collapse was evidently due to defeatism, incompetence and divided counsels at the head, and an undermined morale among the rank and file. In the words of a distinguished French journalist who specialised in the study of all 'Fifth Column' activities, the 'bacteria' spread by German propaganda found in the French body politic favourable conditions in which to fester and corrupt the organism in its vital parts The German weapon 31. The reasons for this success are many - and one of the major reasons is that there should have been a favourable ground for the 'germs'. But an important aspect of the whole problem is the determination and efficiency with which Dr. Goebbels' machine applied a single and well thought out scheme - one which expects the worst from human nature and obtains it. The aim was clear; splitting the will of the opponent and paralysing his action. The means were profoundly logical, although superficial critics were apt to tax German propaganda with self-contradiction and inconsistency. Every prejudice, every phobia, every 'ism' and 'anti-ism' was exploited to create confusion and internal hatreds or mistrust. For every weak spot in the armour of French morale, for every sore in Anglo-French relations, a slogan was persistently applied with the sure knowledge that for each incredulous hearer, there would be ten who would say "There is something in what he says, after all.' AntiSemitism, anti-communism, anti-capitalism and the hackneyed slogans of the oldfashioned working class movement, xenophobia, anglophobia, the fears of property owners, the love of comfort of the faint-hearted - all these feelings were exploited, stimulated and exasperated until Frenchmen eyed one another and their allies with suspicion and fear There were echoes of this in the BBC's listener correspondence echoes drowned in the mass of inarticulate and friendly applause. Social, racial, personal hatreds were revealed Names of broadcasters such as MM. Jouhaux, Blum, de Kerillis were seized upon by well-meaning and certainly patriotic correspondents - as an occasion for violent diatribes against these men and what they stood for. "
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MARTYN CORNICK

French defensive measures 32 How did the French Ministry of Information and Radio react? If some men appear to have diagnosed the danger, no bold policy was applied to prevent it It is doubtful whether the problems of the Home Front were ever faced French listeners' letters are illuminating. There recurs as a constant theme the fear that after the interview between Mr. Duff Cooper and M. Frossard, London broadcasts might become as dull and empty as the Pans ones, as devoid of interest as the French newspapers The natural thirst for news was answered by a policy of jamming and of strict censorship Half-hearted and desultory efforts were made to encourage the public to listen to the BBC for 'outside' news - but it was whispered in official circles that the British broadcasts contained too much news General Weygand saw to it in May that communiques should be less explicit, so that the public should not know what was happening. And so, on June 10th and up to the last moments, letters were being wntten to the BBC urging the English to tear Germany to pieces after our 'victory'1 One of the last letters received, dated June 12th, shows the existence of a 'malaise' in public opinion
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In the transmissions from France we are sometimes afraid that in order not to upset us, and to prevent us from worrying, some things are hidden from us, or else that the truth is arranged to satisfy us Whereas you have a concise and pointed manner of telling us facts, which leads us to believe that it is the whole truth The lessons of German success 33 Britain, at least in the field of broadcasting, was doing something - as this and hundreds of other letters prove - to satisfy the need for news. The response to BBC broadcasts was gratifying and would have been highly satisfactory in peace time Press reactions and correspondence prove that a large audience was built up All previous monthly reports have, however, stressed large unknown factors: were the broadcasts reaching the workmen, the rank and file of the army, the uneducated who form such a large part of an army and of a nation? There were scarcely any means of proving a case either way - and enquines made of French authorities yielded no results It was also desirable to know whether the tone of the London broadcasts was the right one - whether enough was being done to make the very detailed and complete news and the substance of talks easily assimilable for simple uneducated minds. The politeness of the average correspondent, his friendliness and his too great aptitude to indulge in vague praise, resulted in a tendency not to give sufficient weight in O.I.D [Overseas Intelligence Department] reports to criticisms of certain aspects of the news service to France. Questionnaires had been prepared to obtain a more balanced picture of the situation than was conveyed by ordinary correspondence but the breakdown of communications will require different methods of ascertaining the results of the broadcasts In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the course of events leads one to assume that the Stuttgart broadcasts and German whispered propaganda succeeded precisely where the BBC failed to penetrate - namely with the workers and the soldiers. A liaison officer who was in Lorraine in the autumn reports that a common theme in private soldiers' conversation was that 'England had started the war' - a sure testimony of the success of Stuttgart, the only station which could be heard in the region. German propaganda finally succeeded when

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the leaders, realising that they could not stem the German advance, decided to deflect public anger into the safer channel of anglophobia. 34 Several lessons may be drawn from the successes of German efforts, and the comparative failure of the BBC. The number of German wavelengths and of broadcasting periods available to French listeners was considerable If the extensive use of 'pirate stations' is added to the declared times on Stuttgart and other regular German wavelengths, it can be stated that at almost any time Frenchmen could hear German propaganda in their own language Since April 14th, the BBC was only audible for the majority of listeners - those possessing medium wave sets - for fifteen minutes at 10 pm and again at 00.45 am - that is to say too late for the bulk of workers. Moreover the German radio made full use of personalities which, however despicable and obscure, created a sensation and insinuated themselves into people's consciousness. Regular speakers with distinctive voices and intonations which could be recognised as their own by working class audiences were an undoubted element of this German success. A persuasive style, an ingratiating manner, which irritated some but deceived the majority, were also characteristic German propaganda used all the well-tried methods of commercial publicity: the constant repetition of slogans, the careful phrasing of each theme, of each fact or idea, to render it directly accessible to a given audience. The objectionable 'Traitor' understood that a proper appreciation of the mediocrity of the mass intellect does not mean patronage or talking down to an audience 35. BBC broadcasts in French had a hard competition to face, not only in technical facilities but in the field of presentation. French listeners, it is true, were happily struck by the absence of 'literary affectation' too prevalent in Paris broadcasts. But this was 'faint praise' of a negative nature, and there were in the correspondence recurrent complaints - rather more numerous of late - of mistranslations and faulty wording. Present conditions 36 The present policy of the Bordeaux government calls for all the more energy and drive in broadcasts to France Not only is it reported that jamming of BBC broadcasts (some of it from Italian stations) has begun 'in accordance with the instructions of the French government' (Hilversum broadcast, 26.6.40), but it is clear that the present administration in non-occupied France has adopted complete silence as its best safeguard against popular movements. The French public first heard the armistice terms from the BBC, and the British offer of union was mentioned as little as possible Violent reactions followed Gnrsl de Gaulle's first broadcast, and M. Masson was peremptorily ordered to cease broadcasting. Reports that wireless receivers in occupied France must be handed over are contradictory, but the fullest report (Times, 1 7.40) refers only to a prohibition of listening to non-German or unauthorised broadcasts. It can be taken for granted that all over the country it will be difficult to hear London news, and that an element of danger will be involved. We can, however, assume that, even in the worst conditions, listening will continue as it has done in Poland and Czechoslovakia. What can be done now? 37 What can usefully be done in such conditions? People who run risks to listen are likely to be "exacting" in" their" demands" It is essential to give themThformatfon"

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in a form which is easy to memorise and pass on. From all the indications collected in the course of various interviews, it appears that news, serious talks and special features with a highly concentrated moral and national value, are the chief elements of a programme acceptable to those who are likely to go on listening A correspondent suggests that we should take a page out of Dr. Goebbels's book and study the special needs of the French public in the matter of presentation; he writes as follows For the past nine months, in the face of German broadcasts in French which have been remarkably well-conceived and transmitted on a great many wavelengths and which have reached a very large audience, your own broadcasts in French - although excellent in intention - have not been easy to receive in France. Thus they have not fully succeeded in their aims You must now flood France with truthful news in order to counteract German propaganda which will have an even greater and more subversive effect now that the French radio will be silent To this end you must get together in London a team of well-qualified Frenchmen and put at their disposal long, short and medium wavelengths for at least twelve broadcasts a day I stress the necessity for this because French wireless sets are as a general rule less modern than English ones and a great many of them can receive long waves only during the hours of daylight. These broadcasts must be edited by Frenchmen with a thorough knowledge of public opinion in France. These French editors must also listen in to German transmissions in French in order to be able to deny them. Such broadcasts from London have a very vital part to play. They must keep up French morale. They must inspire confidence in our final victory A grouse 38. The 10 pm bulletin follows on 373 metres immediately after the programme for the Forces; some French listeners have been shocked by the incongruity of the Forces programme at a time of national mourning. As the Germans were marching on Pans, a French officer's wife was hurt by what she called 'ridiculous clownery' in a variety programme which she heard when tuning in for the French news at 22.00 Since then the 'Ici la France' programme has sometimes caused pain and surprise to listeners. A French resident in London wrote: Apartfromthe transmission of news, the BBC French programme can surely have but one end in view - that of rallying the courage and heightening the morale of all exiled Frenchmen. Do you think it is the slightest consolation to us to be told that Hitler will never penetrate the 'Jardins secrets de la France', that he will never understand the songs of our children, or that the charm of our villages, which have slept so peacefully, alas, throughout so many centuries, will always escape him' Hitler doesn't give a damn for all this. Since you talk so much about 'eternal France' in an attempt to make us forget the shame and misery of a 'temporary' France, why don't you make use of some of the treasures of a literature which is still the greatest in the world' Let us be reminded of the days when the spirit of France was able to retain its greatness even in the darkest hours. Above all let us have speakers who at least know their own language and have education enough not to pronounce the name of Jules Claretie, Clare-cie'

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The past month's evidence on current problems 39 Correspondence increased again in a very marked degree owing to a sudden spate of 'agony column' letters and to the success of a microphone appeal for listeners' letters, broadcast repeatedly between June 4th and 1 lth, which specially invited work people and peasants to write. After June 3rd 862 letters were received from France, the last to reach the BBC being dated June 14th. Practically all (853) came from French nationals, and the proportion of working class writers (19.31%) was the highest ever known The following table shows the class and sex distribution of writers. French correspondence, May-June 1940 Men mobilised Professional Middle Workers Industrial Peasants Petty officials Unidentified TOTAL 6 17 6 13 42 Students and children Percentage of total 18 87 55 69 15 93 2 92 1 06 5 63 100 00
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Non-mobilised 93 202 55 12 6 15 383

Women 56 239 74 12 3 15 399

Total 161 475 135 25 9 48 853

6
17 0 1 0 5 29

40 No conclusion should be drawn from the rise in the percentage of working class writers, except that t h e microphone appeals and the hope of hearing news of lost relatives induced more listeners of that class to write and report their appreciation of BBC news bulletins, and that the BBC was definitely reaching a number of workers of the less inarticulate type, precisely those w h o can be expected to go on listening in spite of present difficulties and to try to form their own judgement on current events Timing and wavelengths

41 This voluminous correspondence brings few new points of interest to the fore which have not been overshadowed by more recent developments. The analysis of this evidence does not materially alter any of the conclusions reached in previous reports concerning timing and wavelengths. The following table gives helpful indications, notably on the rather fuller use of shortwaves than was thought previously to be the case. Use of medium and short waves and reference to specified bulletins Clock times of bulletins Listeners on Short waves 373 m 261 m No specified wavelength (presumably medium) TOTAL OF REFERENCES X = wavelength not in use 12 15 143 X X 143 18 15 57 13 X 47 117 20 15 133 X X 133 22 00 58 13 18 166 255 00 45 5 0 0 8 13

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42 Among short wave listeners, working class writers are rather more numerous than one might expect; but there was no lack of the usual complaints of the impossibility of hearing London at certain times owing to the lack of short-wave receivers. The change of timing of the midday bulletin (from 13.15tol2.15)was approved and regretted by correspondents in almost equal numbers Habits appear to vary considerably from place to place in all classes and to satisfy all a bulletin at 12.15 or 12 30 should be followed by another an hour later. Requests for an early morning bulletin were numerous and have now been satisfied. The value of appreciation 43. Appreciation of BBC news was based essentially on the realisation that London gave more news and less highly 'coloured' news than French stations; to see the success of BBC broadcasts in France in its true perspective, it is necessary constantly to bear in mind the utter failure of the French information services The frankness of London broadcasts did much according to several correspondents to prevent people from listening to enemy stations But this should be read as a judgement on French inefficiency rather than as positive praise Criticisms and suggestions 44. Criticism reflected to some extent the main trends of opinion in the concluding stages of the Battle of France several listeners complained of the dangerous English habit of giving out too much news. Others violently attacked French politicians; finally one anonymous letter betrayed an outburst of anglophobia which observers on the spot state was more apparent among the upper middle class than among the people in general Among suggestions received dunng the month were requests for a broadcast of Mass on Sundays for Catholic listeners. Friday afternoon Catholic services are appreciated in Brittany. News talks 45. M. Masson's1 talks were on the whole successful - although a few listeners reacted angrily to his poetic essay on the 'Miracle of Dunkerque'. "Theatrical feminine voices' were also objected to 'For those who are fighting, only deeds count, not words spoken by Betty Stockfield', a listener wrote Straightforward talks by Mr Duff Cooper, Mr. Noel Baker, General Spears, and a Harrow master were appreciated by many writers of the more responsible and energetic type Translation and announcers 46. 'In fact your French is good', wrote a listener who had just pointed out a serious and recurrent mistranslation in the bulletins This is typical of the politeness of correspondents, and of the value which must be attached to general statements expressing satisfaction with a news service There were also the usual compliments to announcers coupled in some cases with observations on their faulty liaisons, etc ' Jean Masson was the Radiodiffusion Francaise representative at the BBC He returned to France after the armistice

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THE BBC AND OCCUPIED FRANCE

Publicity 47. Further evidence has come to hand that listeners who hear regularly a given bulletin - say at 22 00 - do not know the times of other bulletins. The cure is to mention frequently not only the wavelengths used but also the times of all bulletins It is also desirable that important indications as to wavelengths and times should be read at dictation speed. Now that printed publicity is no longer possible, attention must be given to the great possibilities and special problems of microphone publicity and 'listener education' through the microphone French listeners overseas 48 From all parts of the French colonial empire evidence has been coming in of the useful work done by the BBC French news service. None of these letters were written since several French bulletins have been going out on Programme C transmitters, but there can be no doubt that this extension of the service will have given satisfaction to an urgent need - which previous correspondence had shown to be very real 49 A number of letters have been received from French residents in England, many of whom expressed their wholehearted support of General de Gaulle A note on tbe geographical distribution of French correspondence February 24tb -June 15tb 50 [. ] The main sources of listener correspondence were again the coastal and northern districts where good medium wave reception was the rule. Yet not a single district remains without at least one listener sufficiently interested to write to the BBC, even in the Central, South Eastern and Southern regions. The relative decline in correspondence from the Nord and neighbouring districts is explained by the May and June fighting and movements of population. This must also be taken into account in assessing the significance of the less patchy appearance of this map compared with the previous one But on the whole it can be said that penetration by the BBC, at least among a small minority, was effected throughout France during the recent months in spite of seasonal difficulties. Apart from those who wrote between June 4th and 14th, all these correspondents have received leaflets and explanations of the BBC European Service and many of them will be able to overcome jamming if they read the leaflets carefully.

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MARTYN CORNICK Appendix 2 Questionnaire on French public opinion and BBC transmissions CONFIDENTIAL

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Please state date on which you left France and specify to what district or districts the information given applies. Any indication as to the professional or social categories of Frenchmen (peasants, industrial workers, petite or haute bourgeoisie, professional and intellectual circles, youth, women, etc.) to which each or all of your answers refer will be most helpful. Your answers will be treated as strictly confidential and will not be broadcast or published in any way. A. The French audience

1. Have you any information as to the distribution of shortwave and long and medium wave wireless receivers among the French population in any given locality? Is it possible (a) to buy (b) to repair a radio receiver and if so at what cost? 2 What are the conditions of reception? How do they vary as between (a) long, medium and short waves (b) town and-country? (Specify the districts, approximate dates and times of listening whenever possible.) 2a Could you answer a special detailed questionnaire on reception conditions? 3 How far do actual or threatened penalties by German and Vichy authorities prevent listening to London? 4. How many and what types of Frenchmen with sets capable of receiving London do not listen to our broadcasts? What are their reasons for not listening' Can you suggest any means of increasing our French audience? 5. Can you give any indication as to the si2e or character of our audience at various times of day? Is there any particular type of broadcast (talks to youth, workers, daily press review, morse transmission, etc.) which you think is mistimed or could more usefully be broadcast at any other time of day? 6. Are there any particular social, professional or political groups among which our broadcasts are particularly (a) effective (b) ineffective? Would you think it advisable to increase our appeal to any particular group of Frenchmen or women' If so, on what lines? 7. Among our various types of French broadcasts, which are (a) most popular and most effective (b) least popular and least effective? (News, News Commentaries, economic or political talks, recreational or cultural programmes, etc ). 8. Is there a considerable audience for BBC broadcasts in English in (a) the Home Service (b) the European Service (c) other Overseas Services? Do certain classes (say which) prefer these broadcasts to the BBC French broadcasts? If so, for what reasons? 8a. Could you answer a special detailed questionnaire on our English Services? 9. Who listens to broadcasts (a) from Vichy-controlled stations (b) from Paris? For what reasons and with what effect? 10. What types of Paris or Vichy broadcasts are most popular and effective and among what type of listener? (News bulletins, political talks and features, cultural
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THE BBC AND OCCUPIED FRANCE

talks and features, classical or light concerts, programmes for youth, women, the Legion, etc , regional and patriotic features) 11. What degree of reliance is placed by readers in (a) the Paris press (b) the national press of Unoccupied France (c) the local press? To what extent do these papers influence even readers who believe themselves immune? To what extent is 'writing between the lines' (particularly in the local press) practised by journalists and understood by readers' 12. How large is the French audience to broadcasts from (a) USA, direct or relayed by London (b) Moscow (c) Freedom stations (d) Neutral stations (say which)? How well are these broadcasts received and what are the main causes for their popularity or unpopularity? B French public opinion I. To what extent do the war and foreign affairs in general take second place in French minds owing to constant preoccupation with difficulties of everyday life? 2 How far are Frenchmen doubtful of the possibility of an Allied victory' To what extent does their morale fluctuate with the news of the day-to-day course of the war' Do events on any given front affect them more deeply than those on any other? 3 What arguments in favour of Franco-German collaboration are effective, and in what sections of the public? 4 What do the French hope or fear from Great Britain (a) immediately (b) after victory' What arguments are most effective in arousing (a) pro-British (b) anti-British feeling in France and in what sections of the population' 5. What are the main hopes and fears regarding the Anglo-Russian alliance and the progress of the war on the Eastern front? 6 What do the French hope and fear from America (a) immediately (b) after victory? 7 How widespread is the belief that Petain and/or Laval are doing their best to resist German demands in difficult circumstances? What are the main foundations for this belieP Do those who hold it envisage France's re-entry into the war, and if so, at what stage' 8 How far do the French believe German allegations of disunity of war and peace aims between Britain, Russia and America' Are Frenchmen interested in Allied war aims' Is there a demand for a more definite formulation of war aims (a) political (b) economic (c) social? 9 What are the effective arguments for and against de Gaulle and the Fighting French movement? Where and why are they effective' 10. What are the mam attitudes towards General de Gaulle (a) as a military leader (b) as a possible political leader? I1. What are the main reasons for (a) support of (b) opposition to Vichy's internal policy of 'Rdvolution Nationale'? 12 To what form of Government and economic organisation do the French look forward after the war? Is there any planning for future political reconstruction' In what quarters and on what lines? Can London broadcasts help this?

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MARTYN CORNICK Appendix 3 Report of interview with Pierre Dupuy, 10 February 1941 From. Mr Delavenay, European Intelligence.

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Subject: CONVERSATION WITH M PIERRE DUPUY, CANADIAN CHARGE D'AFFAIRES TO THE FRENCH, BELGIAN AND DUTCH GOVERNMENTS. M. Dupuy arrived from Vichy a few days ago and is about to return He began by pointing out the immense importance of our broadcasts to France, which, he says, reach practically 40 million French people. They are, moreover, the people's only source of reliable information. That they are heard everywhere is beyond question. The efficiency of the broadcasts is certified by officials of the French Information Service, working (at that time) under Laval. Several of them admitted to M. Dupuy that they envied us our team of 'Les Francais parlent' and had difficulty in putting together such a brilliant group of broadcasters. Many people at Vichy are grateful to our French programme, which says what they are not allowed to say. Another testimonial to the widespread interest in our broadcasts is that over twenty times people of all social categories, including senators and men of Marshal Petain's entourage, have told M. Dupuy that the story he broadcast about Anglophiles and Anglophobes as literally true (This story was roughly as follows: 'There are in France anglophiles and anglophobes, the former say "Pourvu que les Anglais gagnent", the latter say "Pourvu que ces cochons d'Anglais gagnent" ') Yet another example is the story of a headmaster of a Iyc6e at Versailles who said to his pupils on the day of the Prime Minister's broadcast, 'Today is not an ordinary day. We are going to hear the Leader of the Allied Forces In spite of circumstances, we still remain the allies of Britain and so you must all do everything you can to hear him The broadcast will be badly jammed, will each of you take down every sentence which he can hear properly and we will piece it together tomorrow.' The next day each schoolboy came back with everything he had heard and the form spent the better part of the day piecing together Churchill's speech in the right order so they obtained the full text Although the efficiency of the broadcasts is immense, it might be doubled by a better psychological approach to the listener. What M. Dupuy advises us to avoid above all is the outward appearance of 'propaganda' He considers it absolutely essential to put the French listener in such a frame of mind that he never has the feeling that he is listening to a foreign broadcasting station The more he feels that he is listening to Frenchmen thinking freely and telling him that he wants to know as between Frenchmen, the better our work will be In order to gain the confidence and sustain the interest of the French listener, M Dupuy suggests a more systematic use of descriptive 'reportage'. British communiques are apt to be too laconic and 'trop sec* and do not give a very illuminating picture of events. The day-to-day reactions of Frenchmen to events described in communiques and news bulletins could go a long way to convincing the listener and making him take an active psychological part in the events related. Some of the possible reportages suggested by way of example were as follows: a Frenchman describing the capture of Tobruk; a Free French reporter's journey in Albania; a day on board a ship in a British convoy; a reportage of the Atlantic crossing of a bomber flown from Newfoundland; details of the life of an English workman

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THE BBC AND OCCUPIED FRANCE

in-iwar factory, starting with his breakfast at home, etc., going on with his arrival at the factory and describing the conditions in which he works. M. Dupuy also stressed the very great importance in sustaining Canadian-French friendship, of every concrete detail concerning French Canadian regiments in this country and of broadcasts by French Canadians. He showed me a copy of the 'Quartier Latin', the newspaper of the students of Montreal University, entirely devoted to France and from which many quotations could be taken to tell the French of the French Canadians' spiritual allegiance to France. Another constant need, especially for Unoccupied France, is to tell the French what the Germans are and what they are doing to France. This cannot be repeated often enough in detail and concrete form. The question of our silence over the occasion of Chiappe's death and over the bombing of Marseille remains a vexed one M Dupuy was very emphatic about this. Marshal Petain himself told him, 'I am not at all sure that the English did it, but why don't they say something about it?' More than fifty people of all conditions - civil servants of all grades, hotel waiters, shop-keepers, etc - also insisted on the need to give an explanation even if the English had actually bombed Marseille. M. Dupuy's opinion is that silence only serves the Germans who are exploiting it as a proof of British guilt Internal politics - There is practically no support for a restoration of the monarchy. Apart from a few intellectuals and some families of the bourgeoisie who are royalist by 'force of habit' (par routine), the whole nation remains attached to the republican form of government, or rather there is no current in favour of a monarchy. People are still reacting against the corruption and errors of the recent past, but have no preconceived ideas on the future. The Vichy Government are clearly aware that they only constitute an interregnum and that their days are numbered. The great problem, as M. Dupuy put it, is that of men There is no personnel in France which can possibly organise a monarchist regime, let alone a suitable candidate for the throne M. Dupuy was quite definite on the failure of the upper middle class to do its duty to the nation. On this subject he has given M Duchesne an essay written by a high official of Vichy on "The Grande Bourgeoisie in 1940 and 1870' He has also given him some roneod letters which are circulating freely as a form of illicit expression of opinions M. Dupuy is going back to Vichy in a few days. I thought the best way of making him aware of our intelligence needs was to let him see copies of the last two monthly reports on France, which he has promised not to take away from London and to keep at Canada House

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