Commissaire de la République

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Commissaire de la République ( française ), German Commissioner of the (French) Republic , was a high-ranking official title whose function varied in the course of the republican history of France. Basically, this was an appointed representative of the central government at the regional level, in partially autonomous overseas territories or in territories under military administration.

The elevated form Haut-commissaire de la République (High Commissioner of the Republic) is still awarded today for the representative of the French President in New Caledonia and French Polynesia .

Use in the mother country

In metropolitan France , the term Commissaire de la République was used several times as an alternative to the prefect ( préfet , the representative of the central state at the level of the départements ), for example during the February Revolution in 1848 and most recently from 1982 to 1988.

The representatives of the Provisional Government from the ranks of the Resistance who were tasked with restoring state power and the rule of law at the regional level during the liberation of France in World War II also bore this title ( Commissaire de la République institué par le Gouvernement provisoire de la République française ) . They had extensive powers, were directly subordinate to De Gaulle and formally equated with the ministers.

Use in the zones of occupation and mandate areas

Both after the First and after the Second World War, the French heads of the occupation zones were dubbed the Haut-Commissaire de la République française .

The name was initially used for the civil servants who directed the reintegration of Alsace-Lorraine in 1918/19 . It was then the official title of the French representative of the Inter-Allied Commission during the occupation of the Rhineland .

After the Second World War, both the High Commissioner of France in Germany and the French High Commissioner in Austria were so named in French.

Outside Europe, the term was used for the heads of the French League of Nations - mandate areas. There was a senior commissaire for the "A mandate" in Syria and Lebanon ( Haut-commissaire au Levant ) and a commissioner each for the "B mandates" for Cameroon and Togo .

Use in the colonies and overseas territories

In the course of decolonization after the Second World War, the Paris government tried to convert the French colonial empire into the Union française , a state union under the leadership of the mother country (analogous to the British Commonwealth ). The colonies were gradually given a certain degree of internal autonomy . In the course of this process, the titles of the colonial administrators were also changed: the (general) governors became Haut-Commissaires , and the subordinate residents became partly Commissaires de la République (although the names were probably taken over from the League of Nations mandates). With the renaming, the role of the office also shifted away from direct administration towards representation.

It all started with French Indochina in 1945, with the résidents supérieurs of the five states (Laos, Cambodia, Annam , etc.) being appointed commissaires . Most African territories followed in the 1950s and 1960s. With the failure of the French Union and the definitive independence of the former colonies that were skin-commissaires completely Ambassador (Ambassadeurs) replaced - unlike the High Commissioners of the Commonwealth who are leading this official title until today.

It was not until 1977 and 1981, respectively, that the governors of French Polynesia and New Caledonia were replaced by a Haut-commissaire de la République each , combined with extensive autonomy. Today the office largely corresponds to the prefect in the rest of France. In Wallis and Futuna , the same position is administrateur supérieur ; In the other overseas territories, prefects are used as in the mother country.

Individual evidence

  1. Décret n ° 82-389 on 10 May 1982 , Décret n ° 82-390 on 10 May 1982
  2. Décret n ° 88-199 of February 29, 1988
  3. ^ Variations dans les appellations: Entre préfet et commissaire
  4. ^ Charles-Louis Foulon: Le Pouvoir en province à la Liberation: les commissaires de la République 1943–1945 , A. Colin, 1975
  5. ^ François Roth: Alsace-Lorraine: Histoire d'un pays perdu , Tallandier, 2010
  6. ^ Gallica : Haut-commissariat de la République française dans les provinces du Rhin
  7. Décret du 2 août 1949. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on September 3, 2017 ; accessed on August 5, 2018 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Éric Dussault: La dénazification de l'Autriche par la France: la politique culturelle de la France dans sa zone d'occupation, 1945–1955 , Presses Université Laval, 2005, p. 15
  9. Syria , French-Cameroun , Togo
  10. French-Polynesia , New Caledonia