The Council of the Order of the Liberation
Creation of the Council
By means of the decree of 29 January
1941, General De Gaulle named the
first Companions who, at the same time, became the first members
of the Council of the Order of the Liberation under the authority
of the first Chancellor, Georges Thierry d'Argenlieu. The other
members of the Council at the time were Governor Félix Eboué, Lieutenant
Emmanuel d'Harcourt, Edmond Popieul, officer of the Merchant Marine,
and Henry Bouquillard, Warrant Officer of the Free French Air Forces.
1945. A Council of the Order of the Liberation' s meeting
with, from the left to the right, Guy Baucheron
de Boissoudy, general Ingold, René Pleven, Admiral Thierry
d'Argenlieu, general Koenig,
Geoffroy Chodron de Courcel, Claude Hettier de Boislambert
and André Postel-Vinay
Its original role
Originally, the Council's role was
mainly to review the nominations to become a member of the Order,
and to turn in a decision - accepted or rejected - to be submitted
for signature by General De Gaulle, whose final word in the matter
decided the nominations of the Companions of the Liberation.
"As long as military operations
allow it", the Council was to meet once every quarter to discuss
the proposals received. The Council was not sedentary, and this
was especially true in its early days; its members were dispersed
because of their respective civilian and military posts. Governor
Eboué, for example, lived in Brazzaville and Thierry d'Argenlieu
was on several diplomatic assignments (in Canada, among others)
while d'Harcourt, Popieul and Bouquillard went on their respective
assignments in France, at sea and in the sky.
The Council was also to meet at any
time, upon request by the Leader of the Free French movement, to
examine any urgent proposals for membership.
During these meetings, the members
examined the files on each of the military and civilian candidates
for whom proposals were being studied. A proposal that climbed the
hierarchical ladder all the way up to the Council of the Order was
usually one that had been prepared by a corps commander (the Free
French) or by the leader of a movement or network (the Resistance).
This proposal often included a brief summary of the services rendered
by the candidate from the time he/she had joined the Forces or the
Resistance movement, and the reason for the proposal or a text proposed
for the summons.
If the various points were found to
have merit, yet insufficient, additional information could be requested
or a decision on the file was adjourned.
Its present-day role
Today, and ever since the Order was
deactivated on January 23rd, 1946, the role of the Council of the
Order is basically to further and maintain the tradition and the
ideal as imagined by General De Gaulle, and to provide discipline
within the Order.
When the Council of the Order was
created, it had only five members. It has changed every since. No
maximum number of members has been established by any text. Members
of the Council - a prerequisite is that they must be Companions
of the Liberation - are named by decree. They are currently sixteen,
and they have all been members of the French Free Forces or the
Since the death of General De Gaulle,
the Council's role has only been that of an advisor. It is no longer
the Grand Master who decides, but
rather, the Chancellor who takes
the opinion of the Council.
of the current members of the Council of the Order
For further information:
of the Companions who have been members of the Council of the
Chancellery / Inside
Last updated: October 28th, 2001
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