On April 6th 1793, the National Convention passed the following decree, creating the Committee of Public Safety. Over time, the CPS came to act as a de facto executive government, managing the war effort and developing policies outside the Convention. Most historians hold the CPS and its members, particularly Maximilien Robespierre, responsible for the implementation of the Reign of Terror in the autumn of 1793.
“The National Convention decrees:
1. A Committee of Public Safety, composed of nine members of the [National] Convention, shall be formed by roll call.
2. The Committee shall deliberate in secret. It shall be responsible for supervising and accelerating the work of administration entrusted to the executive council, the decrees of which the Committee may suspend when it believes them contrary to the national interest, upon condition it informs the Convention without delay.”
3. The Committee is authorised to take, under urgent circumstances, measures of external and internal defence; and the orders signed by a two-thirds majority of its deliberating members shall be executed without delay by the provisional executive council. It shall not in any case issue warrants of capture or arrest, except against the executive agents, and subject to rendering an account thereof without delay to the Convention.
4. The national treasury shall hold at the disposal of the Committee of Public Safety [a sum of money] to the amount of a 100,000 livres for secret expenses, which shall be disbursed by the Committee and paid upon its commands, which shall be signed as orders.
5. The Committee shall make each week in writing to the Convention a general report of its operations and of the situation of the Republic.
6. A register of all its deliberations shall be kept.
7. This committee is established only for one month.”