Maréchal Philippe Pétain - US Ambassador Admiral William D. Leahy: Presentation Marshal's Baton, 1942.
The Baton bronze - gilt and enamelled. On the shaft blue - white - red enamelled stars with fleur de lys.
The knobs with dedication bandeau:
"PHILIPPE PETAIN / MARECHAL DE FRANCE". "CHEF DE L'ETAT FRANCAIS / A L'AMIRAL W.D.LEAHY".
Between the bands separately applied symbols with the "Gallic Cock" . In the centre of the Baton a broad bandeau with the gilded and enamelled coat of arms of the Vichy Regime, the "Francisque" and the letters "EF" (Etat Francais).
On the reverse the crossed flags: Stars and Stripes and French Tricolour.
Between them the dates "1777 / 1942".
The upper knob can be unscrewed. Inside a parchment document with the Francisque and the dedication:
"Etat Francais / Le Maréchal Philippe Pétain / Chef de l'Etat/ à / Monsieur l' Ambassadeur / des Etats Unis / W.D. Leahy / en souvenir / des constantes relations / d'amitié / qui unissent la / France et l'Amerique/ Fait à Vichy / Le Chef d'Etat".
Below the Stars and Stripes crossed with the Tricolour. The vellum leaf with surrounding frieze in the colours of the French Tricolour. The Baton in it's original presentation case of dark red leather. The inner part with dark red velvet inlay, respectively silk lining. Plaque on the lid with engraved dedication inscription:
"Le Maréchal Petain a Monsieur l'Ambassadeur des Etats Unis".
Magnificent and extremely rare historical object on the history of diplomatic relations between the VichyRregime of 'Marshal Pétain and the USA during the Second World War.
Length of the baton: 40 cm. Diameter: 45 mm. Case: 46.5 x 13 x 6 cm.
Fleet Admiral William Daniel Leahy (May 6, 1875 – July 20, 1959) was an American naval officer who served as the most senior United States military officer on active duty during World War II.
He held multiple titles and was at the center of all major military decisions the United States made in World War II. As Chief of Naval Operations from 1937 to 1939, he was the senior officer in the United States Navy, overseeing the preparations for war.
After retiring from the Navy, he was appointed in 1939 by his close friend President Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of Puerto Rico. I n his most controversial role, he served as the United States Ambassador to France 1940–42, but had limited success in keeping the Vichy government free of German control.
Leahy was appointed Ambassador to France (later referred to as Vichy France for the city in which the capital was located) in 1941 following that country's capitulation to Germany. Leahy relates in his memoir " I Was There" that (his) "major task was to keep the French on our side in so far as possible"] He was recalled in May 1942. The United States supplied food and medical aid to the Vichy regime and to French North Africa, hoping in return to moderate Vichy collaboration with Germany and to avoid an open Vichy–German alliance in the Mediterranean. American aid proved too little to buy French support over North Africa.
Leahy was recalled to active duty as the personal Chief of Staff to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942 and served in that position throughout World War II. He chaired the Chiefs of Staff and was a major decision-maker during the war. He continued under President Harry S. Truman until finally retiring in 1949.
From 1942 until his retirement in 1949, he was the highest-ranking active duty member of the U.S. military, reporting only to the President. He was the United States' first de facto Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (not his official title) and he also presided over the American delegation to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, when the American and British staffs worked together.
As fleet admiral, Leahy was the first U.S. naval officer ever to hold a five-star rank in the U.S. Armed Forces.
USS Leahy (DLG-16) was named in his honor, as is Leahy Hall, the U.S. Naval Academy admissions office.