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Title: Colored Troops in the French Army - A Report from the Department of State Relating to the - Colored Troops in the French Army and the Number of French - Colonial Troops in the Occupied Territory
Author: States, United, State, Department of
Language: English
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  _3d Session_  }                  { No. 397





  FEBRUARY 15 (calendar day, February 14), 1921.--Ordered to be printed



                                                DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
                                        _Washington, February 14, 1921_.

                _United States Senate_.

SIR: In response to an informal request made by your secretary of Mr.
Bliss, of this department, on February 12, 1921, I have the honor to
inclose for your consideration and that of your committee a copy of a
letter, with its inclosures which I wrote to Mr. Porter, chairman of
the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House, on the subject of French
black troops on the Rhine; also a copy of a later letter to Mr. Porter,
with its inclosure, a copy of a telegram from Mr. Wallace, giving the
latest figures as to the number of French colonial troops now in the
occupied territory.

I have the honor to be, sir,

  Your obedient servant,

                                                   NORMAN H. DAVIS,
                                                     _Acting Secretary_.


                                                       JANUARY 17, 1921.

                _House of Representatives_.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of January 10, 1921, with which you inclose a copy of House joint
resolution No. 433, introduced by Mr. Britten, and request that I
furnish the Committee on Foreign Affairs with such facts concerning the
conduct of French colored troops in the occupied territories of Germany
as may be in the possession of the Department of State.

Protests concerning the conduct of French black troops in the Rhenish
area began to reach the department toward the end of May, 1920. On
June 12, 1920, a telegram was sent to the American embassy in Paris
requesting information as to the truth of these allegations and asking
what representations might be made to the French Government, if the
reports appeared to have a basis of fact. (Appendix I). On June 25,
1920, Mr. Wallace telegraphed that an investigation had been promptly
started and that he would arrange with Gen. Allen, in command of
the American troops at Coblentz, to secure all possible facts. In a
further telegram of this same date Mr. Wallace gave a short summary of
the number of colonial troops employed by the French in the occupied
territories, reported what Mr. Dresel, American commissioner in Berlin,
had told him of the agitation in Germany, and suggested that he speak
informally of the matter to M. Millerand. (Appendix II.) The Department
of State authorized Mr. Wallace to speak to M. Millerand on the
subject, and he reported on July 22 that this had been done. (Appendix

In the meantime, on June 22, the department telegraphed Gen. Allen for
such information as he might be able to furnish. This telegram was
answered shortly on June 26, giving the number and origin of French
colonial troops in the occupied region and an official report of the
number of complaints made to the French during the period of occupation
and the disposition made of these complaints. (Appendix IV.) On July
2 Gen. Allen submitted a full and detailed report on the matter
(Appendix V), in which he pointed out that the allegations of wholesale
atrocities were false and intended for political propaganda, that there
had been cases of serious misbehavior which had been punished by the
French military authorities, that the number of convictions indicated
an earnest effort on the part of the French authorities to deal justly
with the accusations, and that the discipline of the Senegalese troops
had not always been good. I especially commend this report to your
attention as a clear and impartial statement of the case. That the
French are attempting to maintain good relations with the people of the
territory occupied by their armies is made evident in a telegram from
Gen. Allen of August 19, in which he cites a French order instructing
that “all members of the Army must be dignified, courteous, and just,
thus setting the example to the German population of tolerance in order
that good will and mutual respect may be established and promoted and
ill will and hatred overcome.” (Appendix VI.)

The department also consulted in this matter the American commissioner
in Berlin, stating on June 15, 1920, that it was receiving many
protests against the alleged misconduct of French black troops and that
the phrasing of the protests suggested possible inspiration from a
propaganda bureau. (Appendix VII.) Mr. Dresel replied that protests in
Germany were general, emanating from all classes and political parties,
that an extensive press propaganda had been carried on and that a mass
meeting of protest was soon to be held in Berlin at which certain
Americans were to speak. Mr. Dresel inclosed a memorandum on this
subject. You will note in this memorandum which includes translations
from the German press and a summary of the discussion in the Reichstag,
various examples of gross exaggeration of facts, as, for example, the
statement of the German foreign minister that France had transplanted
“50,000 black and colored troops to the heart of white Europe,” whereas
Gen. Allen stated that the number of such troops, including regiments
of Arabs, was in the vicinity of 20,000. May I call your particular
attention in this memorandum also to the translation of the French
answer to the German protests? I understand that there has been no
official interchange of notes between the French and German Governments.

Mr. Dresel forwarded to the department also the original German edition
of the pamphlet, “Colored Frenchmen on the Rhine,” the American edition
of which, published by the New Times of Chicago, appears to be a
literal translation with the addition of the words, “An appeal of white
women to American womanhood.” It is perhaps worth noting that this
pamphlet was published not in the Rhineland, but in Berlin, and that
the avoidance of names makes it impossible to verify or disprove the
specific allegations. Furthermore as Mr. Dresel has pointed out to the
department, practically all the alleged instances of misconduct by the
French black troops cited in the German press give no reference to date
or place and are therefore of little value as evidence.

On July 15 the American commissioner in Berlin sent to the department
a translation of an account of the so-called American protest meeting
against the use by France of colored troops in the Rhineland area,
which was held in Berlin on the evening of July 4. In his covering
dispatch Mr. Dresel pointed out that the addresses were bitterly
anti-American as well as anti-French and that Miss Ray Beveridge and
Mr. Scheffauer, both American citizens, were particularly vehement in
their attacks on the American Government. I have thought it worth while
to inclose this dispatch, with the accompanying translation, to call
your attention to the competence of the witnesses on whose allegations
this propaganda appears in large measure to be based.

Miss Ray Beveridge was formerly employed by the German embassy in
Washington and was the organizer of “embargo conference” meetings
in 1915. She states that she held a public meeting in the Reichstag
Building to protest against the signing of the peace treaty. She
refers to the former Emperor of Germany as “my Kaiser.” Mr. Edwin
Emerson, formerly a newspaper man in Berlin connected with the antially
Continental Times, has been living in Germany since 1917. During and
since the war he has been carrying on antiallied propaganda work in
Germany. John W. DeKay was identified with the Huerta dictatorship
and attempted to import into Mexico rifles and ammunition, which were
intercepted by the United States at Vera Cruz. He was indicted on nine
counts in New York in 1913 for obtaining money on false pretenses and
is a fugitive from justice in the Atlantic National Bank case. He is
said to be the treasurer of the bolshevist party in Switzerland. He
carried a Mexican passport in December, 1920, and was at one time
granted a German passport by the German legation in Berne. Mr. H. G.
Scheffauer, born in San Francisco in 1878, has lived in Germany since
1913. As coeditor of the Continental Times he contributed anti-American
articles under assumed names. On January 6, 1919, he was indicted
for treason--for writing, publishing, and distributing articles and
propaganda in aid of the German cause. These people call themselves
Americans, and as far as the department knows are the authors of most
of the stories distributed in this country concerning the misconduct of
the French black troops. It is necessary to speak of the Englishman,
E. D. Morel, only because he is specifically mentioned in House joint
resolution No. 433. Mr. Morel was, before the war, strongly anti-French
and anti-Belgian. During the Moroccan crisis he upheld Germany and
during the war was indicted under the defense of the realm act for
sending uncensored letters to Switzerland. His articles on the “Black
Terror” were published in the London Daily Herald, an extremely radical
paper alleged to be subsidized by the Russian soviet government.

Finally, it should be called to the attention of your committee that
these accusations against the French troops are also reaching America
direct from Germany. As evidence of this there are inclosed photostat
copies of two printed appeals sent in the mail from Germany to American
citizens and by them forwarded to the department. The leaflet entitled
“The Black Evil” reached America inclosed in a German magazine. You
will note that there is no printer’s mark and that the American flag
at the top is evidently intended to indicate that it was printed in
America. Several of these leaflets have reached the department and
copies have been sent to the Postmaster General for such action as
he may see fit to take. The second leaflet, entitled “An Appeal to
Americans,” contains the accusation against the French colored troops
only as a further argument for American assistance.

As soon as the department received word of the introduction of House
joint resolution No. 433 I telegraphed to Mr. Wallace for information
as to the present personnel of the French troops of occupation. When
his answer is received I shall be pleased to forward it to you. May I,
however, call your attention to the fact that no recent allegations of
misconduct of French soldiers have been made so far as the department
is informed, all those detailed in the various published statements
referring to a time prior to June 1, 1920.

In consideration of what I have said above, the facts that, although
there were undoubtedly outrages, those proved guilty have been
punished; that official American testimony as well as that given by
many reputable Germans largely disproves the specific but unverifiable
charges made by witnesses whose impartiality is certainly questionable;
that the accusations appear to be a method of anti-French propaganda;
that the French have long since withdrawn the Senegalese troops
which were the only pure Negro troops used; that there appear to be
no accusations against the behavior of such French colonial troops
as remain in the occupied territories; that Mr. Wallace has already
discussed the matter with the French prime minister, it would appear to
me inadvisable that the American Government should be asked to take any
further action at the present time.

I am very glad to be able to furnish you with full information in this
matter and request only that the inclosures herewith be considered as
for your confidential use and that of the members of your committee.

I have the honor to be, sir,

  Your obedient servant,

                                                  NORMAN H. DAVIS,
                                                     _Acting Secretary_.


                                                          June 12, 1920.


Department is receiving telegrams and letters protesting against the
use of African troops in occupied Germany by the French. Please give
your views as to the truth of the accusations being made against the
behavior of these troops and whether you believe these accusations are
well founded. Advise department what you deem advisable in the way of
representations to the French Government on this subject. It is not
department’s desire to lend too credulous an ear to these sensational
reports and yet it may be of interest to the French Government to know
that such reports are being persistently circulated and that they are
having a harmful effect on public opinion, not being fully refuted.



                                                 PARIS, _June 25, 1920_.


Gen. Allen reports that there are at present in occupied Germany
regiments of Moroccans, Algerians, Zouaves, and Malgaches, but
no Senegalese. According to my understanding the Algerian troops
comprise natives of Algeria of French and French Arab stock, and some
Mahomedans, not Negroes. The Moroccan regiments comprise Arabs and
Mahomedans, not Negroes. The Malgaches are Malays from Madagascar, and
the Zouaves are special infantry regiments, not Negroes.

Mixed blacks. Senegalese are Negroes.

The American commissioner states that agitation against the black
troops is carried on by papers of all political opinions, that the
German Government has formally protested to the French Government, that
complaints have come from men of all classes, that the papers claim
that America should understand the situation on account of our Negro
question and charge that assaults have been made on German women, but
that the facts can not be checked and that the American consul reported
deep anger of population of Frankfort and vicinity over use of black
troops. These troops have been withdrawn. French newspapers have denied
German press reports on several occasions, but I have seen no official
denial in the press or elsewhere.

Minister of War Lefevre, speaking in the chamber on June 17 regarding
the army budget and the future of the French black troops, stated: “As
for our black troops, we shall not tolerate the interested criticisms
which are being made on the other side of the Rhine.”

It is my belief that it would be a friendly act to inform Millerand
that department is receiving many telegrams and letters of protest and
that it may interest the French Government to know that the persistent
reports are not fully refuted and are having a harmful effect upon
public opinion.



                                                 PARIS, _July 22, 1920_.

              _Washington, D. C._:

1431, July 22, 10 p. m.

Your 1185, June 29, 5 p. m. I have spoken in accordance with
authorization to Millerand, who answered that he was quite aware of
the campaign referred to and mentioned the recent activities in Berlin
of an American woman. He expressed appreciation of the information
that the reports had not been fully refuted and said he would take the
necessary steps to that end.



                                               COBLENZ, _July 26, 1920_.


Your June 22, 5 p. m., regarding alleged mistreatment by French colored
troops of German women. The average number of French Negro troops on
the Rhine from January, 1919, to June, 1920, was 5,200. The number of
North African troops, Arabs, and mixed blood, 20,000. All regiments
of pure Negroes (Senegalese) were removed June 5, one regiment of
Madagascar troops and a few individual Negro or Negroid remaining in
other colonial troops. During entire period of occupation there were 66
cases of actual or alleged rape, sodomy, or similar offenses reported
to French officials. The action taken resulted in 28 convictions, 11
acquittals, the other cases not being completed. The offenses included
some insulting proposals and offensive conduct toward German women. The
sentences varied from 30 days, to 10 years, confinement. Widespread
reports and complaints in the German press are based on the foregoing
cases and some others not officially reported to French officials, and
while these reports have some foundation they are undoubtedly greatly
exaggerated and are being used as propaganda against the French troops
and are inspired by possibilities of war animosity. Investigation
continuing. Full report follows.


                                              AMERICAN DEPARTMENT,
                                       _Coblenz, Germany, July 2, 1920_.

SIR: 1. In compliance with your cablegram of June 22, 1920, regarding
alleged mistreatment of German women by French colored troops, and in
elaboration of my cablegram of June 28, I submit the following report,
based on a personal investigation conducted by Col. Le Vert Coleman,
C. A. C., American liaison officer with the commanding general of the
allied forces of occupation.

2. During the period from January, 1919, to June 1, 1920:

(_a_) The average number of Negro troops in the French Army of the
Rhine was 5,200 men.

(_b_) The average number of French colonial troops composed of natives
of Africa not of pure Negro blood, including distinct races such as
Arabs from Algeria, Moroccans, etc., and mixed blood races, such as the
Malgaches from Madagascar, who are Negroids, was 20,000 men. During the
entire period from the first day of the occupation in 1918, to the 1st
of June, 1920, 66 cases of alleged rape, attempted rape, sodomy, or
attempted sodomy have been officially reported to the French military
authorities, against their colored colonial troops in the occupied
territories of the Rhinelands. Among these cases, there have been 28
convictions, including several cases where the intent was not fully
proved, but punishment was given by minor courts corresponding to
our summary and garrison courts, for indecent proposals and obscene
handling of women and girls against their will. There have been 11
acquittals. There have been 23 investigations leading to trials, the
results of which have not been published yet. There have been 6 cases
where the offenders could not be found. The penalties inflicted have
been varied; from 10 years at hard labor for aggravated cases of rape,
to 30 days in prison for indecent mishandling of women.

3. At the present time, the Senegalese brigade having all left the
Rhinelands between June 1 and 6, 1920, there actually remains but one
regiment of troops of Negroid origin, the First Regiment of Chasseurs
Malgaches. There are, however, a few individual Negroes or Negroids in
the other French colonial regiments.

4. A very violent newspaper campaign attacking the French colonial
troops, especially the Negro troops, broke out simultaneously
throughout Germany coincident with the time of the French evacuation of
Frankfurt and Darmstadt, and has continued up to the present time. It
is unquestionably a fact that many gross exaggerations were circulated
in the German press concerning the conduct of the French colonial
troops. The allegations in the German press have been, for the most
part, so indefinite as to time and place, and circumstance, as to leave
it impracticable to verify the alleged facts, or to disprove them.

5. After all proper allowance is made for the natural difficulties,
which always are to be expected in tracing crimes of this nature,
due to the shame and distress of the victims, the great mass of the
articles in the German press, by the simultaneous appearance all over
Germany, and by the failure to cite time, place, and circumstance
sufficiently clear to enable the truth to be ascertained, give to an
impartial observer the impression of an adroit political move which
would tend to sow antipathy to France in the other lands of the allied
and associated powers, especially in America, where the Negro question
is always capable of arousing feeling.

6. The Rheinische Zeitung and the Kolnische Volkszeitung, recently
suspended for publishing attacks on the French colored colonial
troops, admit under date of June 15, that they employed certain terms
and expressions which they might better have omitted, due to the
imperfection of the news coming for the most part from outside sources,
says the Volkszeitung, and from Berlin says the Rheinische Zeitung.
This tends to bear out the opinion noted above, which is further
strengthened by dissentant voices in the South German press which
protests against exaggerated accusations by other German papers against
colored French troops.

7. These exaggerated attacks in the German press outside of the
Rhinelands have, in several cases, been refuted by responsible
officials (German) and citizens of the Rhinelands.

Herr Kohler, mayor of Worms; Herr Bischoff, police commissioner of
Worms, referring to the Senegalese troops, reports to the Interallied
Rhineland High Commission, that with the exception of one incident, the
Senegalese troops in Worms have not committed any misdemeanor and have
been under perfect discipline during their entire stay in Worms.

Herr Levy, from Kreuznach, and several Germans, have written open
letters protesting against what they term unfair exaggerations in the
German press against the troops.

8. Among gross exaggerations in the German press may be cited the

(_a_) Claim that there are 40,000 colored French troops in the

(_b_) Claim that Frankfort was occupied by 20,000 men entirely formed
of Negro (Senegalese) troops. French official report shows that
no Senegalese occupied Frankfort, but first Moroccan and Algerian
tirailleurs and later French troops (white).

(_c_) Numerous atrocities in the Saar, where young women are said
to have been forcibly abducted, raped, mutilated, killed, and their
bodies thrown into manure piles. The burgermeister of Saarbrucken, the
inspector of the Caserne Petain, Herr Welsch, proprietor of the manure
pile; Wilhelm Roth, caretaker; Herr Geppert, employee, have all given
written and oral testimony wholly refuting the accusations.

(_d_) Claim of the German press that large numbers of young Austrian
girls who had come to the vicinity of Mainz to get away from the famine
in Austria were raped. The Austrian Government is reported to have made
an investigation through its consular service and to have found that
not a single such case had occurred.

(_e_) Investigation by Col. Bonvialle, commanding the Twelfth
Tirailleurs, May 21, 1920, concerning charges of sodomy near
Euskirchen, with medical report, indicates that the charges could not
be sustained.

(_f_) Claims in the Nauen Radio Service on April 29, 1920, that the
working people of Alsace-Lorraine had protested, demanding the removal
of the Moroccan division from Alsace-Lorraine, when there was no part
of those troops in Alsace-Lorraine.

9. On the other hand, undoubtedly many instances have occurred where
women or girls have been assaulted and some where boys and men have
been sodomized by members of the French colored colonial troops. See
report above as to the official figures. There are undoubtedly cases
which are not included in the official figures, due to the natural
desire to keep out of obscene notoriety. For example, a case of
attempted assault was reported June 14, 1920, from Saarbrucken which is
not included in the French official figures. Some cases will never come
to light, due to the natural feeling of shame of the women concerned,
but they are, in my opinion, cases such as generally occur in any land
when soldiery is for a long time quartered upon the population.

10. The impression gained from contact with and observation of the
French colonial troops is that, as a general rule, they are quiet,
orderly, and well behaved. Discipline has a purely relative value
and is hardly of the same order as that which we would require. That
the discipline of the Senegalese brigade was not always good, is
established by the incidents which recently occurred at Marseille, when
a part of these troops committed serious infractions of discipline when
ordered aboard their transports.

11. The attitude of certain classes of German women toward the colored
troops has been such as to incite trouble. On account of the very
unsettled economic conditions, and for other causes growing out of
the World War, prostitution is abnormally engaged in and many German
prostitutes and women of loose character have openly made advances
to the colored soldiers, as evidenced by numerous love letters and
photographs which are now on file in the official records and which
have been sent by German women to colored French soldiers. Several
cases have occurred of marriages of German women with French Negro
soldiers. One German girl of a first-class burgher family, her father
a very high city functionary of a prominent city in the Rhinelands,
recently procured a passport to rejoin her fiance in Marseille. He was
a Negro sergeant. Other Negro soldiers have had French wives here, and
the color line is not regarded either by the French or the Germans as
we regard it in America; to keep the white race pure. At Ludwigshafen,
when the Seventh Tirailleurs left for Frankfurt, patrols had to be sent
out to drive away the German women from the barracks, where they were
kissing the colored troops through the window gratings.


I. The wholesale atrocities by French Negro colonial troops alleged in
the German press, such as the alleged abductions, followed by rape,
mutilation, murder, and concealment of the bodies of the victims are
false and intended for political propaganda.

II. A number of cases of rape, attempted rape, sodomy, attempted
sodomy, and obscene mishandling of women and girls have occurred on
the part of French Negro colonial troops in the Rhinelands. These
cases have been occasional and in restricted numbers, not general
or widespread. The French military authorities have repressed them
severely in most cases and have made a very serious effort to stamp the
evil out. The amount of evidence necessary to convict in such cases is
a very delicate matter to express opinion upon. However, the number
of acquittals is not large and there is nothing surprising about these
acquittals, except in one case where a girl of 14 years was known
carnally. In this case the acquittal followed upon the claim that the
girl had consented.

III. As a rule the number of convictions and the thoroughness of the
reports of the investigations and trials indicate the very earnest
effort of the French trial authorities to do justice and to stamp out
the evil by stern repressive measures. That their sentences are often
milder than ours would be is largely due to extenuating circumstances
found in the evidence according to their rules of evidence which are
very different from ours, and to the fact that in general French courts
do not punish these crimes as severely as American and English courts

IV. The discipline of the Senegalese Tirailleurs was not always good as
evidenced by the refusal of some of them to get aboard transports at
Marseille when ordered to Syria.

                                                         HENRY T. ALLEN.
                 _Washington, D. C._


                                             COBLENZ, _August 19, 1920_.
                 _Washington, D. C._:

In a communication from the French high commissioner to the general
commanding the French Army of occupation the former requests that
instructions be given all members of that Army concerning their
relations with and attitude toward German civilians. The French general
has adopted the suggestion, and by means of conferences, orders, and
schools in the units of his command, is instructing all officers and
men that the occupying forces are not in Germany to provoke the Germans
but as a guaranty that the terms of the treaty shall be carried out
and that all members of the Army must be dignified, courteous, and
just, thus setting the example to the German population of tolerance
in order that good will and mutual respect may be established and
promoted and ill will and hatred overcome. This is most encouraging
and hopeful and should be productive of great good. This has been the
governing principle of the American occupation, and since coming to the
commission I have urged the application of this principle throughout
the entire occupied region. Millerand has heartily approved the action
of the French high commissioners and of the commanding general.
Recently French relations have been more antagonistic than at any other
period since the signing of the peace treaty.



                                                          JUNE 19, 1920.
             _Berlin (Germany)_.

Your 625, June 15, 11 a. m.

Department is in receipt of frequent protests from various
organizations and individuals against conduct of French troops in
occupied region, particularly alleged mistreatment of German women by
French black troops. The wording of these protests suggests that they
are inspired by a propaganda agency and are based on reports in German
press. Department assumes that you are not in a position to definitely
determine the facts in the matter but requests your opinion. Please
forward by mail press clippings and other information you may be able
to obtain on the subject.



  No. 464.                                                JULY 16, 1920.

SIR: Adverting to my dispatch No. 442, of July 5, and to my telegrams
Nos. 806 and 807, of July 12, and No. 812, of July 15, I have the
honor to transmit herewith a translation of a newspaper account of the
so-called American protest meeting against the use by France of colored
troops in the occupied Rhineland area, held in Berlin on the evening of
July 14. I beg likewise to inclose a copy of the issue of the European
Press (formerly the Continental Times) dated July 9, which contains
an article by Rutledge Rutherford announcing the meeting in question.
This article states that the American speakers were to be Col. Edwin
Emerson, Miss Ray Beveridge, Hermann George Scheffauer, Edith Talbot
Scheffauer, Lora Vincent, John De Kay, Rutledge Rutherford, and
Agatha M. Bullitt. The three last-named persons did not actually
appear, however, although messages were read from Messrs. De Kay and
Rutherford. Other than these Americans, the only speaker was a German
woman from the Rhineland; but messages were read from E. D. Morel,
Henri Barbusse, Jean Longuet, and others.

A member of the commission who attended the meeting informs me that
the large auditorium of the university was crowded long before the
meeting opened, and that the audience, composed largely of women, was
most enthusiastic. The newspaper account does not, however, give an
accurate impression of the tone adopted by the speakers, inasmuch as
mention of the bitterly anti-French and anti-American character of the
addresses is apparently omitted, whereas it was expression of these
sentiments which created the greatest applause. In fact, the meeting
took on more the character of a violent chauvinistic gathering than a
protest against the black troops. Miss Beveridge and Mr. Scheffauer
were particularly vehement in their attacks on President Wilson and the
United States Government and devoted most of their time to assailing
America for her entrance into the war, while Col. Emerson directed
his thrusts chiefly at France. It is interesting to note that Miss
Beveridge, who has now spoken more than once on this subject, is
invariably introduced as one who has done much for German children by
aiding the work of the American Quakers in Germany. The head of the
Quaker mission in Berlin informs me, however, that Miss Beveridge has
not now and has never had any connection with their activities, in
spite of her repeated efforts to become associated with them, and that
her persistence and such misstatements as that referred to above have
caused them great embarrassment.

During the course of the meeting, letters were read from Mrs. Bayard
Taylor and Prof. Thomas C. Hall, but I am inclined to believe that the
writers were not acquainted with the circumstances under which the
meeting was held.

                               (Signed)      ELLIS LORING DRESEL,
                                                _American Commissioner_.

                                                       JANUARY 31, 1921.
                _House of Representatives_.

SIR: Referring to my letter of January 17, 1921, concerning the
propaganda being carried on as to the conduct of the French black
troops in the occupied territory of Germany, I have the honor to
inclose for your information a paraphrase of a telegram received from
the American ambassador in Paris giving the official statement as to
the number and origin of the French troops of occupation at the present

I have the honor to be, sir,

  Your obedient servant,
                                                       BAINBRIDGE COLBY.

[Telegram from American Ambassador at Paris, Jan. 29, 1921.]

The total number of troops in the French Army of occupation was 86,000
in December; 16,386 of this number were Moroccans and Algerians and
3,224 were Malgaches. The remainder were white. The figures for January
are approximately the same.

Properly speaking, there are no black troops. The Moroccans and
Algerians are Arabs of the Mussulman religion and are entirely distinct
from the Negro race. The Malagaches are Malays from Madagascar.

Incidents occurring between these colored troops and the natives of the
occupied district, and which have been investigated by French military
authorities, have been in the proportion of 1 to 1,594 men. About
one-fourth of such cases have resulted in condemnations of from 30 days
to 10 years’ imprisonment, according to the gravity of the charge.
The remaining cases have been dismissed on account of inability to
substantiate charges or because of a lack of good faith on the part of
German authorities who brought charges.

The French Government has made no attempt to officially disprove the
accusations concerning the behavior of the troops. It has, however,
unofficially supplied facts and figures through its press agencies
to various countries. So far as I am able to ascertain, the recent
behavior of these troops has been on an average with the conditions
above reported.

The delay on the part of the foreign office in supplying this
information after several requests was not due to lack of interest, but
to difficulty in obtaining figures. That office has promised further
information within a few days, which I shall forward as soon as it is


                                                      FEBRUARY 11, 1921.
               _House of Representatives_.

SIR: Again reverting to my letter of January 17, 1921, in regard to
the House joint resolution No. 433, concerning French colored troops
in occupied Germany, I beg to refer to Appendix X of that letter,
which was a photostat copy of a leaflet entitled “The Black Evil,” and
bearing the American flag at the top. This matter was brought to the
attention of the American commissioner in Berlin, with instructions to
make inquiries in regard to its origin.

I am now in receipt of a telegram from Mr. Dresel stating that the
minister for foreign affairs, Mr. Simons, assures him “emphatically
that the foreign office has had nothing to do with this propaganda,
of which he utterly disapproves as injurious to Germany.” Mr.
Simons further stated that if he could discover who was financially
responsible for this leaflet he would insist on these activities being

I beg to send this information to you as pertinent to the subject of
joint resolution No. 433, which is being examined by your committee.

I have the honor to be, sir,

  Your obedient servant,
                                                        NORMAN H. DAVIS.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  No Appendix VIII appears in the original.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Colored Troops in the French Army - A Report from the Department of State Relating to the - Colored Troops in the French Army and the Number of French - Colonial Troops in the Occupied Territory" ***

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