Lisbon escape route

Translation of Gissot "Irregularities" file

This is my Google Translate-enabled rough translation of the Gissot file. In several places, I made guesses as to the meaning of the text. In other areas, especially regarding the commercial contracts, I could not make a guess as to the meaning and left ambiguous text.

Ministry Of Foreign Affairs
Directorate general of economic and consular affairs

Irregularities of the vice-consul and manager of the Consulate in Toulouse, Mr. Gissot


The Consul in Marseilles and State Defense and Surveillance Police [PVDE] formulate several serious allegations against Mr. Emile Gissot, vice Consul and manager of the Consulate in Toulouse. These are reproduced below along with the explanations of Mr. Gissot and the conclusions of the Bureau of Consular Administration.

All charges are by the Consul in Marseille, with the exception of the last, which is by the State Defense and Surveillance Police:

1st - The Manager of the Consulate in Toulouse charged personal compensation of Frs. 30,00 for each passport examined, an amount set in the Table of Consular Fees as Esc 6$00, corresponding to the fee of Frs. 9.60. According to the calculations of the Consul in Marseilles, the difference reverting in favor of Mr. Gissot [comes to] Frs. 19726.80.

2nd - The Consulate in Toulouse, under the responsibility of Gissot, [remitted] insufficient revenue from stamps worth Esc 56,550$00.

3rd - Mr. Gissot insists that transfer fees much higher than the annual maximum limit allowed by the Consular Regulation [were necessary], citing the reasons - unacceptable, incidentally - which [are cited below] when dealing with the explanations of the Mr. Gissot.

4th - In the enlarged photographs of various visas in passports issued by Mr. Gissot (photographs that were sent to the Ministry by the Consul in Marseille), there are obvious irregularities such as:

a) Application of stamp fragments instead of complete stamps;
b) Charges which do not correspond to the particulars of its receipt;
c) Repetition of numbers in reporting revenue and not following a chronological order.

The Consul in Marseille who highlights these anomalies declares that the stamps were fragmented, divided into four parts, each to be employed for full consular acts.

5th - According to the statements by the Consul of Marseilles, Mr. Emile Gissot charged, at least sometimes, several hundreds of francs per visa.

6th - Also according to statements by the Consul in Marseilles, Mr. Emile Gissot granted visas on passports that had been forbidden by this Ministry, back-dating the visas to conceal the fraud.

7th - Mr. Emile Gissot extorted foreigners to grant them visas on passports for Portugal, charging hefty sums to which he legally had no right. He even had a service set up for this purpose, with individuals who walked by cafes, bars, etc.. garnering customers for the Consulate.


Mr. Gissot defended himself as follow on the three primary charges:

The first: It is a fact that he charged Frs. 30.00 instead of Frs. 9.60. The [additional] amount allowed him to spend the difference, in full, in aid to numerous stranded Portuguese workers.

Thus, despite the large number of Portuguese who came to be unemployed that region never overloaded the Ministry with requests for aid.

The consulate received very many such requests for repatriation or job placement, as was known to the Legation in Vichy and this ministry. Mr. Gissot regrets not having kept aid receipts but he never thought that this procedure could prove to be misunderstood. He cited that the concept is also taken by the Legation.

The second: The Esc 56,550$00 of missing stamps represent:

1st - 263 visas in work contracts (the Bureau checks taxed at a rate of Esc 210$00 per visa instead of Esc 110$00 that should apply);

2nd - 12 stamps of Esc 110$00 that were remitted under regulations, but were not recorded as received by the Consulate in Bordeaux, on which [Toulouse] depended at the time.

Mr. Gissot said that the company with the 263 contracts was a major firm known to the Consulate, which provided it with prepaid stamps. He imprudently delivered them already stamped​to that firm.

Consequently, at that time, the Portuguese Government has in fact prevented the departure of Portuguese workmen to France without notice and without notification to consulates that they should not legalize work contracts. Interested firms utterly refused to make payment to the Consulate in Toulouse for these authorizations. A representative who came to Portugal with the contracts said that the Portuguese authorities do not recognize the validity of those documents. The vice Consul telegraphically advised the Ministry requesting action against the aforementioned representative, whose address was indicated in Lisbon.

In response to the Consul in Marseille (pointing to Mr. Gissot as the only means to recover the value of the missing stamps), [Mr. Gissot] judged he cannot be held responsible for this fact, because the collections did not take place. The Portuguese Government did not recognize the commitment implicitly assumed to leave the workers out because it allowed the legalization of contracts and dealing with stamps of no intrinsic value.

The Consul in Marseilles does not believe the explanation given by Mr. Gissot, since it does not appear that the Ministry has taken any action as a result of participation Consulate in Toulouse.

As for the third: The manager of the Consulate in Toulouse insists on keeping safe an amount greater than allowed by the Regulation in order to have cash available in case the Portuguese Government decides to use the courts to force the firm to pay the aforementioned legalization of 263 contracts - or even to defend themselves in the courts of action that a branch of the same firm [might] eventually devise against the Consulate for loss and damages, based on the losses incurred due to the Portuguese Government's decision not to allow the workers to [remain in] France after the referenced contracts.


About the above, the Bureau of Consular Administration met to consider the following:

1 - The illegal collection of personal compensations, denounced by the Consul in Marseilles, can not be doubted as the manager of the Consulate in Toulouse himself confesses to this, while claiming that the proceeds from these charges was intended to help the needy Portuguese. It is not proven, however, that Frs. 19.726,80 were dispensed for this purpose. It is true that it appears during the current year the Consulate has not requested reimbursement for aid or repatriations. But it also must be recognized that the facts raised reveal bad faith on the part of Mr. Gissot - and reveal with certainty, at least, practices that can not be sanctioned by the State Department.

2 - There was an unforgivable mistake by the manager's office of the Consulate in Toulouse in the case of legalization of labor contracts, because they should not have them delivered before they were paid. But it seems that there has been bad faith because in due time the Ministry's representative firm telegraphically requested action against the interested party at the address indicated in Lisbon. The Ministry immediately turned turned the case over to the police, after insisting on an answer, which, oddly enough, has not yet been received.

Not [disinclined] to believe in the good faith of Mr. Gissot in this case, but the information verifies that the contracts were not utilized in the decision of the Portuguese Government to which reference is made above. Until then the person responsible for this matter is Mr. Gissot. Since it appears that the contracts may possibly call for restitution of fees charged for its legalization (though not in fact received but already filled), settling is thus the responsibility of the manager of the Consulate in Toulouse.

Perhaps this case reveals no more than carelessness and ignorance on the part of Mr. Gissot, but these are unforgivable.

3 - It is an unacceptable attitude for Mr. Gissot to refuse to carry out the passage revenue. It is unnecessary to insist on the lack of support of their arguments.

4 - The irregularities that occur in visas referred to the Consul in Marseilles are evident and are of a serious aspect.

5 - We agree with the claim made by the State Defense and Surveillance Police.

6 - It seems probable, in view of the deficiencies noted in the revenue receipts.

7 - There seems to be doubted information from State Defense and Surveillance Police.


The Bureau of Consular Administration found that the facts are such as to impose an immediate dismissal of Mr. Gissot, who, as a preventive measure had been already prohibited from issuing passports, shortly after the communication from the State Defense and Surveillance Police.

Considering the convenience of the Consulate in Toulouse, the Bureau of Consular Administration allows Mr. Emile Gissot to continue in his duties until he is replaced by an official assuming all titles.

Bureau of Consular Administration on December 19, 1940.

Vasco da Cunha


Subscribe to RSS - Lisbon escape route