1942: Geopolitical considerations have priority over ideology and the presently ruling system

January 15th, 2012

Published on Current Concerns no 29, December 18, 2011.

The authors of the above-reviewed book attached the following text to the document. It is conceived as a leitmotif for the reader and addresses de Gaulle himself, in order to recall the historical situation, in which he had drafted the document … //  

… (The Text – Translation Current Concerns):

10th January 1942
To General Catroux

If the case should arise that the Allied offensive in Libya in French North Africa has no consequences, and assuming that the enemy will not launch an offensive in the Orient soon, I am considering to deploy significant French formations of armed forces to Southern Russia starting on 15 March. They are to participate in the operations of the Allies in this war theatre scheduled for this spring. To this end the Committee Free France has reached an agreement with the Soviet government, which expressed their strong desire to have our support. I am sure that you are aware of the political and military significance of our activities in Eastern Europe.

On the other hand, the British government, insofar as the matter is concerning them, has given its principle consent.

The French troops sent to Russia would consist of the following units:

  • a) A light division consisting of a reconnaissance unit, three or four infantry battalions, among them a European and a North African batallion, one artillery unit with two batteries, a special unit pioneers, signals and logistics, all of them mechanized and motorized as best as they can. It is the light division, which is currently stationed in Syria and Lebanon.
  • b) A special unit of 40 French fighter pilots will be sent by our Air Force, which is currently stationed in England. Units of troops under your command would start moving on 15 March via Tabriz.

To guarantee a sufficiently large core of French troops in the Middle East, even after the withdrawal of the second light division I have decided to appoint two well trained Senegalese battalions and one battery of the Free French Africa Corps troops immediately to the Orient. This will have no influence on the number of substitutes for Senegalese forces that you requested. I also count on being able send you 200 well-trained and instructed motorcycle, signal, tank and artillery specialists, as well as 20 substitutes from England, starting 1 March.

I would be grateful if you could share your opinion about all this as fast as possible. It is obvious that the issue needs to be consolidated by profound elaboration in your general staff.

General de Gaulle

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