OPINION

June 14, 1958

FRANCE: Paris, 14 – Amid constitutional reforms and a government decision to keep the military on the national salvation committees and what appears to be a clear turn to the right, General Charles de Gaulle appears determined to maintain an independent stance toward the Eastern bloc and China, without altering his country’s relations with the Western world, a stance that is seen as more appropriate to France’s position as a major power. From this viewpoint, the visit by former Prime Minister Paul Reynaud to Moscow is believed to be exploratory. No responses have as yet been reported from any of France’s partners in the Atlantic alliance who are following de Gaulle’s initiatives with concern. The semi-official Agence France Presse is already explaining France’s actions. It said that although France is not obliged to confine itself to the Western world, it had a duty to assume its rightful position and explain its actions in the interests of peace and security. This phrase determines the general principles on which the French government will be basing its actions. It is a statement that has been the object of interpretation by observers who believe that every word uttered by de Gaulle is of special importance.