An attempt to destabilize Alexis Leger : Case de Noblet-Briand-Leger

To the right (Le Figaro) and especially the extreme right (L’Action française), it is an episode of their usual fight against Briand and socialism, en more 1930, as it relates to the Quai d'Orsay and especially Alexis Leger, Director of Cabinet of the Minister, it is a war machine against the Memorandum especially the foreign press is in fact largely echo.

The case dates back to October 1928. A confidential document (a note of Philippe Berthelot on a Franco-British naval compromise reached after a conference in London) finds himself in the United States published in newspapers of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst (it was he who served as a model for Orson Welles for his film Citizen Kane). Hearst est pro-nazi. The publication of the document has scuppered the Franco-British negotiations, seen as directed against Germany.

Official thesis : an official of the Quai d'Orsay, Jean de Noblet, 3e Secretary of Embassy, would be responsible for the theft of the document, with the help of a journalist, Roger DELEPLANQUE, acting on behalf of an American journalist Hearst, Harold J. T. Horan. It loses its accreditation to Paris. De Noblet was arrested by police and placed on leave by his administration.

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“The case Noblet-Briand-Leger, I”, L’Action française, 14 août 1930
(Full Text, site de French : click on image)

Over Noblet, supported by his family, the de Noblet Anglure, refuses to play the complaint fuses and door partie civile (March 1929) against a police officer for false imprisonment and defamation against Alexis Leger. According to him, Leger is itself the source of the leak (we know that any time, Alexis Leger used the press in the best interests of his minister). It overwhelms Leger in the story he published in The Uncompromising the 9 avril. The purpose of Leger ? It would have been for him and Briand to derail the Anglo-French negotiations not to upset Germany, Franco-German reconciliation and peace are at the heart of the action Briand. For Leger, another thought could animate : discredit Berthelot. Briand and Leger are heard by the justice. De Noblet is called before a Disciplinary Board met on 14 November 1929. It is revoked 27 avril 1930. Justice delivers a non-place for Briand and Leger in July (“stop convenience tonne L’Action française) but Noblet immediately appealed in cassation to the Council of State. The 2 September, Hearst, is rejected at the border and the entire American press recalls the case, from June New York Times to Milwaukee Journal.

And during that time… Briand's speech in Geneva is the 5 September 1929, drafting the Memorandum ended May 1 1930, it is sent to the capitals 17, until July there is no question of him in the press, in September held in Geneva meeting that attempts a synthesis of responses… Throughout this period, especially from July, L’Action française rages on “L'Affaire de Noblet – Briand – Army”… It will continue its systematic attacks when clear that the draft European federation was stillborn but there will still reference for years, as an illustration of the flaws of the Republic.

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“The case Noblet-Briand-Leger, II et III”, L’Action française, 15 and 16 août 1930
(Full Text, site de French : click images)

Roger DELEPLANQUE, after became editor of the political war Le Petit Bleu, create a collection of books specialized in the rehabilitation of former collaborators and publish soon 1947 a novel key, largely inspired by the case, as draws A crime au Quai d'Orsay. Briand, Army, are very recognizable.

Sources :
Archives nationales, Criminal Division of the Ministry of Justice, trivial cases, 1e series, 1890-1940 (20 BL 320)
L’Action française, 23/11/1929, 11/07/1930, 12/07/1930, 13/07/1930, 16/07/1930, 20/07/1930, 23/07/1930, 26/07/1930, 27/07/1930, 29/07/1930, 30/07/1930, 7/08/1930, 14/08/1930, 15/07/1930, 16/08/1930, 19/08/1930, 8/09/1930, 14/09/1930, 16/10/1930, 17/10/1930, 20/02/1931, 1/05/1931
L'Express du Midi,
21/11/1929
Le Cyrano
, 21/10/1928, 28/10/1928, 24/02/1929, 7/07/1929, 1/03/1931, 3/05/1931, 10/05/1931, 17/05/1931, 24/05/1931, 3/04/1932, 2/03/1934
Le Figaro, passim, 12/07/1930, p. 4
Le Petit Parisien, passim, 30/04/1931
New York Times, passim, , 3/09/1930
The Milwaukee Journal,
3/09/1930