COMPIEGNE FOREST, France -- France and Germany signed an armistice tonight that imposed upon the defeated French Republic what its chief peace delegate described as "very hard conditions."
Bowing before the might of Adolf Hitler's blitzkrieg machine, France then sped a delegation to Rome to negotiate a parallel truce with Germany's Italian ally, thus assuring a continental peace that will enable the Axis powers, with the aid of French resources, to turn their full fury upon Great Britain.
Waits Italy's Signing
In the same historic railway coach where Germany surrendered in 1918 to the World War Allies, the French-German armistice was signed in a brief but dramatic ceremony at 6:50 o'clock this evening (9:50 a. m. in San Francisco), ending a deadly and devastating conflict that lasted only nine months and nineteen days.
The armistice, however, will not go into effect until six hours after Germany advises France that Italy, too, has signed a similar truce in Rome. Thus, all hostilities on the churned battlefields of France, in her waters and skies, were expected to be halted either Sunday evening or Monday.
Meeting in the same railway car that stands on a Compiegne Forest clearing where the World War armistice was concluded, Col. Gen. Wilhelm Keitel and Gen. Charles Huntziger signed the armistice in behalf of Germany and France, respectively.
General Huntziger opened the history making session with a brief declaration, saying in a voice hoarse with emotion:
"I wish to state that the French Government has ordered me to sign this armistice. I desire to read a personal declaration first.
"By defeat of arms to cease the struggle in which we were engaged on the side of our Allies, France sees imposed upon it very hard conditions.
"France has a right to expect in negotiations of the future that Germany will display a spirit which Will permit the two great neighboring countries to live and work peacefully."
The veteran Huntziger, member of France's Supreme War Council and one of his vanquished country's outstanding military men, added in tones that fell almost to a whisper:
"As soldiers, you will well understand that an onerous moment has come for me."
General Huntziger and his three fellow delegates then seated themselves silently and France's chief plenipotentiary without another word, performed his heart-rending duty of the hands of her traditional adversary.
Terms Kept Secret
Terms of the armistice, personally delivered by Chancellor Hitler to the French delegation in the Compiegne railway coach Friday, were not made public and were not expected to be revealed to the world until after the French-Italian truce has been signed.
General Keitel, chief of Hitler's Army command, affixed his signature to the armistice document immediately after Huntziger had done so. Five minutes after the signing, the stern visaged Keitel arose from the same chair where Marshal Foch had sat when he forced Germany's capitulation in 1918 and solemnly paid tribute to the many thousands of soldiers killed in the fighting between the Reich and France.
"I request that all members of the German and French delegations arise in order to fulfill a duty which the German and the brave French soldiers have merited.
"All those who have bled for their fatherlands and all those who have died for their countries all those we now honor by rising from our seats."
With heads bowed in homage to the dead, the French' and German delegates quietly stood up for an awesome minute.