From the statements of M. Georges Pompidou, the new head of the French Government, one would infer that the Algerian conflict is a thing of the past. On the theory that he is now freed from that incubus, he has serenely set about dealing with French social questions and above all with the international problems which, to tell the truth, have always been General de Gaulle's sole, indeed almost obsessive, preoccupation.

But can one really speak of Algeria in the past tense? The secret Army Organization is very far from having been disarmed, despite the spectacular capture of Generals Jouhaud and Salan. The daily bulletins recording assassinations and crimes of all sorts are as regular as ever and the lists of the victims are as numerous. How can one speak, then, of having "got over" the Algerian problem?

It is "got over" by taking a specifically Gaullist attitude. Charles de Gaulle has said more than once that a statesman is a man who can "see beyond," who is farsighted enough to be able to distinguish the hidden essential from the visible nonessential, no matter how serious it momentarily seems. In his view, actions that are urgent at the moment should be carried out by simple executors; statesmen must devote themselves to the future.

This concept would be plausible enough if the executors were always on the watch to see that current actions did not compromise the future and that day-by-day realities did not jeopardize the long-range ideal; and if they had the means to do this effectively. But this is far from being the case. It is certain, for example, that since September 16, 1959,[i] General de Gaulle's closest entourage has not set out seriously to do what needed to be done if the concepts of decolonization which he had formulated in more or less precise terms were to be realized. It is equally certain that the conditions in which de Gaulle himself felt able to carry on the war in Algeria before achieving the Evian agreements were bound to have important consequences for the future of both France and Algeria, and also for the future relations between Algeria on the one hand and Europe and the whole free world on the other. My purpose in this article is to show that even though there is a good chance that the Algerian war is ending, the Algerian problem has only just begun.

The agreements reached at Evian are reassuring; they constitute a success for de Gaulle's policy in Algeria and still do not compromise in the least the highest ideals of the Algerian revolution. The more one studies them and sees to what an extent they incorporate a common will to coöperate and to respect the International Charter of the Rights of Man, the more one has to recognize both the intelligence and high-mindedness of the French negotiators and the political courage of their Algerian counterparts. Seldom since the beginning of the present century have negotiations led to such a reasonable conclusion.

But agreements, after all, are only agreements. They set up (as a famous French saying has it) a sort of provisional reconciliation between mental reservations. The straightforward ideas appear in the text, the mental reservations do not. We must examine what these latter consist of in the present case. We must see how much the concessions on either side were made regretfully, under force of circumstances, for tactical political reasons, or from the heart.

On the French side, it is a long way from General de Gaulle's early dreams to the Evian agreements. True, when he took over the French presidency he did offer the Algerians "a preferred position in the French Community." But he thought of this Community as a French Commonwealth, whose members would be not so much concerned about obtaining formal and anarchistic independence as about keeping not only economic and cultural ties with France but diplomatic and military ties also. Since many states in French black Africa accepted this kind of relationship the dream did not seem entirely Utopian-at any rate on the surface. Thus, de Gaulle felt that the French Community which he gathered about himself had even more solidity and prestige than the British Commonwealth grouped around the Crown.

The most shining example of French-African association in this Community must be Algeria, governed, to be sure, by Algerians but receiving preferred treatment from the metropole, and on that account accepting a particularly close interdependence with it. Admittedly this Community would evolve in the direction of a group of sovereign states; but this would come later, much later, after the French had shaped the local leaderships and administrative bodies and after the most fanatical native revolutionaries had been shown that the French sincerely wished to be helpful and that their continued presence was needed. Within this concept developed the Constantine Plan, which was to transform Algeria radically in five years. It was within this concept, also, that the first serious contacts took place between France (represented by M. Pompidou, then merely an adviser at the Elysée) and the Algerians of the National Liberation Front (F.L.N.). This meeting did not lead to anything.

Since then General de Gaulle has seemed to give up many of his ambitions. Hardly had the Community come into being when it began to crumble. The mystique of complete independence was triumphant throughout Africa and Asia, as well as in Latin America. What is more, a great wave of revolutionary fervor gradually moved Algerians, Cubans, Guineans, Congolese and others in unison in the same direction and with the same slogans. China and the Soviet Union knew better than the West how to channel this fervor to their advantage. Before long the famous trio Nehru-Nasser-Tito came to seem an anachronism of moderation. A revolutionary orthodoxy was born in the Third World of underdeveloped peoples, and anyone who dared accept dependence on the West was branded a heretic-one full of complexes.

General de Gaulle quickly adapted himself to what was happening in the world. When he saw that his dream of the Community seemed unrealizable, at any rate in its original form, he switched, at first ill-humoredly but then quite firmly, to what in France is called "Cartierism," after Raymond Cartier, the journalist, who was the first, if not to formulate the doctrine, at least to systematize it. "Cartierism" is based on the assumption that colonialism and even economic assistance are not "good business." There was a time when colonies paid; that time is gone. If the natives are not mature enough to administer the aid they are given, and, above all, if they are not willing to give anything in exchange for it, then it is much better to invest the capital in the metropole than in Africa-to modernize the Lozère, for instance, the poorest department in France, rather than Upper Volta or Niger. This thesis was considered cynical by perfectionists because it rudely admitted that colonialism had been undertaken only for profit but it was very popular among the French middle classes.

In order to fight the army General de Gaulle ostentatiously made use of this shoddy line of argument. How did a man who has always been mistrustful of business influences in political life come to make common cause with the "shopkeepers"? Simply because, tired of the constant demands of the Algerian situation and eager to play a leading role in international developments, he determined to finish with Algeria in one way or another. Since he was not able to convince his countrymen of how vitally important it was that he, de Gaulle, should influence the destiny of the world, he resigned himself to flattering the "shopkeeper spirit" of the French people.

This does not mean that the objectives have changed. In de Gaulle's mind the Community was to enlarge the prestige of France, above all in order to increase her influence in international decisions. From the moment it became apparent that the Algerian war endangered the Community and threatened to destroy the reputation of French diplomacy, there was a complete about-face. Did it come too late? Very late, certainly. For in the meanwhile more than 1,500,000 young Frenchmen had taken part in the Algerian conflict; and more than a million of the French population of Algeria, feeling themselves betrayed and forsaken, supported the O.A.S. The war in Algeria has inflicted a trauma on the French the like of which they have not experienced since 1870; on close inspection, they are all but unrecognizable.

Certainly, the French are prosperous in 1962. They depart on vacation in droves and even the most modest homes are being equipped with automobiles, refrigerators and television. But if one starts rummaging a bit in the soul of present-day France one finds it bruised and wounded, split between the revolt of the individual and the indifference of the group. In this sense, sad to say, the Gaullism of the French people seems more like resignation- putting their fate into the hands of the Man of Destiny-than like active, positive and dynamic partnership. Is this state of affairs the inevitable consequence of decolonization? If so, de Gaulle would be the unpopular but respected hero who cut the umbilical cord tying Algeria to France and who would be repudiated as soon as the necessary operation had been completed. Or is he, on the contrary, the man who thought it clever to break the army by not giving it a clear mission, who was willing to be brought to power by the very clans that he felt he must betray, who introduced the coup d'état into French political life? My feeling is that we must take the sum of the explanations rather than choose one of them. But very few people are willing to do this, which is the reason why France today is secretly so divided.

The O.A.S. correctly estimates that this division is very deep, and has been gambling on it. Supposing that the O.A.S. now collapses without having achieved its aim of making the Evian agreements inapplicable and provoking civil war both in Algeria and in metropolitan France, its failure will even so leave important results. One wonders whether within a few months France will not experience a sort of chauvinistic crisis, suddenly seeing herself deprived of her overseas possessions, humiliated as her army will have been, and mistrustful of her own public opinion. This onset of chauvinism can make relations with the new Algeria very difficult. The hypothesis is a pessimistic one, but not unlikely. The manner in which the Algerian drama has unrolled has not laid a promising basis for Franco-Algerian coöperation. And de Gaulle would have needed the very best conditions if he were to be able to return to his mental reservations, namely to use the Evian agreements to remake the Community in another form.

France is not, of course, the only obstacle standing in the way of a return to the earlier Gaullist concept. Above all there are the internal problems of Algeria, and this is the moment to examine the mental reservations of the Algerian negotiators. Everybody knows that the peace agreed upon at Evian was not celebrated exactly joyously by the militant elements and soldiers of the F.L.N. Somebody called it a sad peace.[ii] This may seem strange considering that the F.L.N. has obtained sovereignty over the whole Algerian territory including the Sahara; has refused a federal constitution of the Lebanese type under which the Europeans would be represented as a group in the government; and demanded and obtained the total evacuation within three years of all French military forces except those in the base at Mers-el-Kebir, etc. Compare this situation with that of Ho Chi Minh in North Viet Nam, who commanded a real army (which had inflicted the disastrous defeat on the French at Dien Bien Phu) but who secured only half of the territory of Indochina-the part, moreover, which he already occupied, whereas the Algerian army has not occupied any substantial part of the Algerian territory. One may well ask, then, what these militants and soldiers of the F.L.N. find so sad about their peace.

In order to understand their attitude we must remember that the upshot of the many transformations which the F.L.N. has gone through in the last eight years was an organism which pretended to be a provisional government- the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic-and was recognized as such by some 60 nations. This government has behaved as if independence had already been obtained, or as if it was going to be won by force and not by negotiation. It has entered into real foreign alliances which were useful for the war though they would be hampering in the future. It became a moving force in the Casablanca Group which joined Egypt, Guinea, Ghana, Mali and Morocco in what they claimed symbolized "revolutionary Africa." It took definite positions on Western colonialism, European racism, American economic domination, atomic tests in the Sahara and military bases.

The more time France allowed to pass, the more intense Algerian radicalism became. Here I must come back to the revolutionary élan mentioned above, which in the orthodox view has justified the Algerian war and has identified the desperate fight against the colonial powers and the West with salvation and human dignity. Actually, in the eyes of the hardened and politically minded Algerian fighters the struggle is not at all desperate, for they have the support of the immense majority of underdeveloped and exploited nations. At one time they proclaimed that they were fighting for the liberation not only of Algeria but of all Africa, a line of argument which led them finally to consider all the allies of France, Belgium and Portugal as enemies-that is to say, all the members of the Atlantic Pact.

Thus, little by little the cold war entered into the colonial struggle; and Soviet and Chinese propaganda, making the most of the American errors in Cuba and South Viet Nam, the anarchy in the Congo and the Portuguese oppression in Angola, has succeeded in building up a mystical belief that anti-colonialism is pro-Soviet or at any rate anti-Western. That is to say, many young Algerians ended up thinking of themselves as really being fighters in a permanent Afro-Asian revolution, adherents of a kind of neo- Trotskyism which gives the Third World two commandments: I) liberation must take place everywhere or it is not real anywhere; 2) this liberation must be won by violence. Although they are a minority, these young Algerians represent none the less a glorious avant garde; and if O.A.S. activities should render the Evian agreements inapplicable, that would be enough to make them the majority.

It is obvious, in any case, that the "Algerian Revolution" has been forced to backtrack-very far, in fact. It has had to be realistic enough to agree to proceed by stages; it has had to agree to military bases, to a privileged status for non-Moslem communities, to a long negotiation to obtain very gradual independence and to putting the Provisional Government itself in doubt by accepting a referendum. This comedown has caused the Algerians another sort of trauma. The young ones mentioned above do not conceal their hostility for the Evian agreements; and naturally all the mental reservations remain and operate in favor of making the old dreams in some way or other come true.

No, the Algerian problem evidently is not solved. Another phase is opening, one which we have a right to hope will be less bloody but which politically will be much more important. This phase does not concern France only, since it represents a wager which certain Frenchmen and certain Algerians are going to make in the name of the whole Western world. What is at stake in this wager is the possibility of coöperation between a former colony and its former colonizer; between an underdeveloped country and a rich one; between a state committed to planning and a capitalist state. It will be said that the problem exists everywhere, but the fact is that it has never presented itself under conditions like those in Algeria. The ferment of the Algerian revolution, kneaded vigorously now for eight years, will stir up the Mediterranean, the Arab world and Africa. Thus what is at stake is both new and crucial.

The first need is for the Evian agreements to be applied. But the essential remains that France, Gaullist or not, and the West, Kennedyist or not, shall recognize exactly the elements which compose the revolutions of underdeveloped and colonized peoples. It must be shown that coöperation is give-and-take and not domination. We must reinvest the profits of investments on the spot; we must approve and support the agrarian collectivism necessary in given situations; we must accept African solidarity and neutralism. Then, for the first time, an exciting enterprise can be brought to success. The only advantage enjoyed by Soviet and Chinese propaganda in all the countries of the Third World rests on the extent to which it has been able to identify European and Atlantic capitalism with colonial exploitation. Here, now, is Algeria, a new country, a virgin experience, where everything is possible. What are we going to do with it?

[i] This was the date of General de Gaulle's famous speech which raised, for the first time since 1830, the question of self-determination for Algeria.

[ii] The expression was used by the editor of the Tunisian weekly, Jeune Afrique.

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