("Pertinax")

DOUBT and skepticism are heard nowadays concerning the future of the French nation. It is said that France has lost her old recuperative power, and that the record of the French Cabinets since General de Gaulle's resignation from the Government, January 1946, is an unbroken chain of failures. It is true that France has at times seemed to be splitting up under the pressure of sectional interests, but I believe that these troubles are accounted for by the magnitude of the disaster which befell her in 1940-44. The fact is that the executive branch of the government is gaining the strength it needs to cope with the situation.

Not only were the French military and political leaders of the war and prewar periods utterly discredited at the time of the liberation by their errors of omission and commission, but nearly all the existing élites were swept off the board. By "élites" I mean the men who, because of their own achievements or the achievements of their forefathers, had been leaders in the administrative departments of government, in the professions, in the Academies, in society. Many were replaced by amateurs, with much resulting incompetence in government and a general absence of leadership throughout the nation. Moreover, the hasty adoption of an extreme theory of proportional representation in the electoral law of September 1945 aggravated the handicap of the government. Proportional representation made the "machines" of the political parties supreme. Small caucuses at their own pleasure chose deputies to the Constituent Assembly, high officials (not excluding ambassadors) and so on. An independent individual has had to possess exceptional energy to force his way into political life against the will of such oligarchs. Deputies were elected and officials selected by bunches -- and bunches of yes-men they were. During the last half-century public life in France has more and more failed to attract the best elements, and first-rate men have been still further repelled by the domination of bosses whom they consider their intellectual and moral inferiors. Reforms in this direction are overdue, and are now in prospect. But in any event, the surprising fact is not that France has recovered less speedily than her friends hoped, but that she has made so much progress. The article is intended to describe some aspects of France's regeneration.

II

The first point to be stressed is that, mainly through the exertion of a resolute Minister of the Interior, Jules Moch, public order is being maintained against both Communists of the Left and the section of the Gaullists on the Right who would readily take the path of the late Croix de Feu. It can now be asserted with some degree of confidence that the possibility of a coup d'état against the Fourth Republic is practically nonexistent. This is no mean achievement, since the Cominform treats French territory as the crucial battlefield in the struggle for Western Europe.

The Fourth Republic was brought to the brink of the abyss by the strike in November-December 1947, which political observers quickly dubbed "insurrectionary." A man upon whom the heaviest responsibilities were thrown on short notice at that time said to me recently: "At times, we had to fight for the restoration of order against odds which seemed overwhelming. We had to prepare for the paralysis of the transport system, and knew that we might have to concentrate all the available police and military forces simply on keeping open the trunk-lines in the railway network. All nonessential arteries were to be abandoned until the hypothetical day when army reserves would begin to flow in."

Last October insurrectionary strike number two was launched, but this time the Cabinet was not caught napping. Jules Moch had taken charge of the Ministry of the Interior on November 22, 1947, in the midst of the initial struggle. He is one of those Socialists who refuses to trust a Communist an inch. Getting a respite at the end of 1947, he had set himself to rebuild from scratch the whole system of defense. First a purge was carried out among the commissioners of police in Paris and some other cities. A number of them were men of very inadequate background and training (commissioners of police today are law school graduates), who had been appointed to responsible positions from the rank-and-file because of their heroic records under the Vichy Government and the German occupation. They were called the parachutés. But some 60 of them were Communists, and at least one of these had climbed very near to the top.

All were eliminated through the simple process of being put to the test of an examination. Then companies of Republican security troops suspected of being subject to Communist influence were disbanded and regrouped. Finally -- and this was the most far-reaching innovation -- an entirely new organization, half police, half military, was built up on the principle that the civil administration of the country must be able to crush any incipient rebellion without resorting to martial law. A total of 122,000 men were thus placed permanently under the Minister of the Interior. They consist of the Parisian police force (22,000 men); the 60,000 Republican Guards and gendarmerie -- divided between Paris and the provinces -- which the Minister of War, technically their superior, never employs for his own needs; 12,000 men belonging to the so-called companies of Republican Security; and 25,000 men set apart, in the various urban police forces, for carrying out instructions issued by the Central Government. That mass of 122,000 men may not seem large, but it has grown in effectiveness as a result of the arrangement which enables the official in command on the spot where disturbances have broken out to use all forces within reach, including air transport, in support of the police or para-police. In the past he had to beg for them endlessly.

Moreover, French territory has been divided into eight districts, plus the Paris area, and an inspector general -- called for short an "Igame," inspector général de l'administration en mission extraordinaire -- has been put at the head of each. He bears a commission investing him with full powers, signed by the Prime Minister, the Minister of War and the Minister of the Interior, and ranks above the generals who are divisional commanders. Few people have ever heard of these inspectors, but it has been said with no little reason that such individuals as MM. Massenet (southeast), Perier (northeast), Bertault (center), Villey (north), and, of course, Jules Moch, Prefect of Police Leonard and Chief of National Security Boursicot are the true rescuers of the régime.

Modern equipment, of course, adds to the efficiency of the new organization; 32 radio stations are available to the police in a single big city. Motorized police units, radio trucks and a secret telephone network have been introduced. Last November, the coal mines in northern France were retaken from the strikers within five days. There were anxious moments, particularly on October 21, when the troops were forbidden to fire whatever the provocation: following an affray in the Alais coal mines (Gard Department) half the men in a company of Republican Security troops had to be sent to the hospital. As soon as the military and police were allowed to make use of their arms, however, the crowds dispersed. Later on, huge demonstrations engineered by Communists and Gaullists went off peacefully. Generally speaking, public meetings are not unwieldy as they used to be. In Dijon, the Communists called on the people to protest against the heavy penalties which the court had inflicted on certain strikers accused of sabotage. The response was feeble.

III

The Communists thrive on popular discontent, not on the appeal of the Marxist-Leninist decalogue; and God knows that the laboring classes in the cities and all people living on fixed incomes have had good cause for protest during the last five years. The most serious failure of government is the faulty distribution of foodstuffs and other necessities. The requisitioning of farm products from the millions of small landowners who, in France, contribute the bulk of agricultural production was a Herculean task at best, but inflation made it far worse. By now, however, we are getting nearer and nearer the goal which, even a few months ago, seemed unimaginably far away: all-round stabilization of prices, salaries and money. An optimistic view of the French balance of accounts with the outside world, and particularly with the dollar area, is, unfortunately, unwarranted. But by gradually balancing the budget and curbing inflation, France, notwithstanding the social and political turmoil, has taken long strides toward a normal monetary system during the last 18 months.

A few figures tell the tale. The budget of the French state has risen from 99 billion francs in 1935 to 1,529 billion in 1948, and 2,033 billion in the estimates for 1949. Translated into percentages of the national income (since in terms of saleable products the national income is approximately the same in 1949 as it was 11 years before) we see that the French budget corresponds, in 1938, to 26.4 percent of the national income and, in the estimates of the current year, to 28.2 percent. The great change is in the public debt. In 1938 it absorbed 12.8 percent of the national income; this year it will not require more than 1.2 percent. The public debt thus has been practically annihilated. In contrast, the investment in new equipment for industry and agriculture rose from 4.6 percent in 1938, to 7.2 percent in 1948, and to 8.3 percent in 1949. The expenditure is met by taxation up to 21.9 percent of the national income, by the counterpart in francs of that portion of the Marshall annuity which comes to us as a gift and not as a loan (4.2 percent) and by borrowing (2 percent). Such, reduced to essentials, is the ledger of the French Government.

The experts agree that the inflation is beginning to subside. The French Government will keep the pledge of the bilateral agreement with the United States not to call upon the assistance of the Bank of France when its revenue falls short of its expenditure. On April 1, 1949, the debt of the Government toward the Bank will be lessened by 25 billion francs, and the ceiling of the advances the Bank is authorized to make to the Government will be lowered from 200 to 175 billion. The amount of banknotes in circulation is less than it was before the war, if the depreciation of the currency is reckoned with. Until recently, whatever balance between revenue and expenditure was won by acrimonious debates in the National Assembly and painful pruning of administrative expenses was destroyed as soon as living costs rose and brought in their train a rise of wages. Today the terrible spiral of prices and wages appears to be at an end and living costs will probably turn down rather than up, in the wake of agricultural prices which, all over the world, bid fair to decline. The non-Communist labor unions -- Force Ouvrière and Christian Workers -- insist that the Government strive to bring prices down further, but except in quarters close to the Communist C.G.T. the clamor for increases of wages is no longer heard. Some authorities maintain that the average industrial worker is not worse off than before the war. Thus many risk the prophecy that stabilization of the currency is close at hand. When it comes, French public life will be transformed.

Now the Government can proceed with needed reforms. First comes the straightening of French accounts with the dollar and the sterling areas, within the time limit of the Marshall Plan. France must get rid of a deficit which in 1948 was more than one billion dollars and which in 1949 will swallow $890,000,000 supplied by E.C.A., plus the equivalent of $250,000,000 obtained by the device of "drawing rights" on European creditor countries. Our trade balance is favorable with Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Sweden and other countries. On that favorable trade balance is superimposed an adverse balance of payments with the same countries as a consequence of movements of capital (some of them unusual) which France cannot control: for instance, transfers into Dutch currency made necessary by subscriptions to a new capital issue of the Royal Dutch, and transfers into Belgian currency of the salaries paid to Belgian workmen. Negotiations are now in progress for the coördination of national programs of the 16 European governments associated with the E.C.A. Henceforward, let us hope, the exports of one country will not conflict with the exports of the others; the programs now in existence are a galaxy of incompatible schemes. Of course, such collaboration will in many cases involve drastic changes in the economic structure of the countries concerned, and can perhaps be achieved only if the Organization for European Economic Coöperation is given real power.

But many other urgent problems are the sole responsibility of the French Government. I can do no more than enumerate them. None of them can be solved unless the system of taxation is overhauled and brought up to date -- unless the rural population, to be concrete, is brought within the orbit of modern fiscal practice. In saying this I do not endorse all the strictures passed in Britain and America on the evasion of taxes by the French peasants. After all, the small landowners and the peasantry are foremost among those who are footing the bill. The government loans of the last half-century, now cut down to infinitesimal fractions of their original value in purchasing power, have been subscribed to by people of the countryside more largely than by any other group. The tremendous public debt, accumulated in 50 years replete with wars and preparations for war, is being repaid each year by 1 or 2 percent of the national income! This implies a heavy contribution to the rehabilitation of French finances. Nevertheless, the system of taxation is rough-and-tumble, and alien to the requirements of social justice. Fiscal reform must come.

France is ten years behind in industrial equipment, housing, and so on. Industrial production has been restored to the level of 1938, but this is below the output of 1929. If 1929 production had increased yearly by 2 percent, total output would today be 60 percent higher than it is. As long as government loans cannot be launched as they were 40 years ago, public funds must be used for the necessary investment. The only alternative is a reappearance of the habit of saving by the average Frenchman, destroyed by the inflationary practices of the last 13 years.

Appropriations made for armament have fallen too low: 5 percent of the national income for 1949 as against 6.3 percent in 1948 and 6.9 percent in 1947. France's metropolitan territory, the French Zone in Germany, and French North Africa are held today by 300,000 troops. American experts here have not been slow to point out that such a relaxation of our military effort is not in keeping with the signs of the times.

The operation of nationalized industries and of the so-called social assurances must be vigorously examined and revised by competent ministers, though no deep alteration of structure is involved. What is wrong with the nationalized industries is that they are administered in watertight compartments. Profit in some industries could compensate for losses in others.

IV

What of the political situation in France? Will the present Government have the same fate as the 11 Cabinets which have crowded the stage since September 10, 1944? Thirty-seven months have passed since General de Gaulle chose to lay down the leadership of the French nation and to retire to private life. It was a regrettable step. He had at his back the mass of his countrymen who were free from taint of collaboration: for another three or four years, he could have led a government of national restoration, with the greatest degree of national union that could be achieved. France might thus have been spared the wastage attendant upon superficial changes of ministry.

In 1945 Léon Blum, in conversation, expressed his affection and admiration for General de Gaulle in unforgettable words. "His intellect," said M. Blum, "is supremely powerful. Don't believe him when he says that something is beyond his compass." Vincent Auriol, when elected to the presidency of the Republic in January 1946, wrote the General that he wanted his advice and assistance at all times. De Gaulle discouraged Auriol (though he did not entirely destroy Auriol's warmth of feeling for him) by rejecting point blank four invitations to dinner. Even today, neither Auriol, nor Blum, nor Jules Moch, although repeatedly rebuffed by the General, would condone the charge that de Gaulle has become more or less a replica of General Boulanger. At the bottom of their hearts, they still return thanks for the speech delivered on the London radio on June 18, 1940: "A battle has been lost, the war has not been lost."

The Popular Republican Movement (Catholic Democrats) surpassed the Socialists in its devotion to General de Gaulle. "We are the party of fidelity," Maurice Schumann once exclaimed in the Constituent Assembly. The Popular Republicans are the survivors of the Popular Democrats who won only 11 seats in the 1936 general election, but who nevertheless impressed everyone by their high purposes and unflinching patriotism. Normally, the Christian Democrats could not be numerous in a French parliament: politics and religion are too closely associated in them to suit the taste of most Frenchmen. However, under the German occupation, they shone in contrast with Radical Socialists, and afterwards reaped a rich reward.

It would not have been difficult for General de Gaulle to keep the Socialists and the M.R.P. responsive to his leadership. But de Gaulle is a haughty man, perhaps more haughty than ambitious. Temperamentally, he is unable to merge himself in a group. The famous line of Alphonse de Lamartine, Il faut se séparer, pour penser, de la foule et s'y confondre pour agir, does not apply to him. To coöperate with political parties disgusted him. He was heard to remark: "I am not interested in that!" Privately, he explained himself more fully: "With political parties all around, it is impossible to tackle the great problems of government objectively."

In January 1946, when he left the presidency, the General boldly predicted that the two central parties would quickly dissolve. He was convinced that he would be called back to office before long, and more than once in the last three years it seemed that his prediction was about to come true. Had the insurrectionary strike flouted governmental authority a little longer or a little more violently in the dangerous interval between October 21 and October 26 last year, the National Assembly might have become panic-stricken and compelled the President of the Republic to entrust the premiership to de Gaulle. Vincent Auriol would have done his utmost to avoid taking that step but, in the end, would have had to give way to the pressure of the majority. Today all that seems very remote. What stands out is the fact that de Gaulle has never ceased to condemn the two central parties and to stake his plans on the failure of those who took office after him -- an attitude which more often than not put him in embarrassing harmony with the Communist Party and, of course, with the relies of the Vichy cliques. Any constructive action that has been taken in France during the last three years has been accomplished in the teeth of de Gaulle's opposition. How much more helpful to the country would de Gaulle's administration have proved if, about May 1945, he had listened to the advice tendered by Adrien Tixier, the thoughtful Minister of the Interior! Tixier exhorted de Gaulle to enter the arena of party politics, to give up the empty pretense of National Union, to set up a French labor party and turn with the maximum vigor against the Communists. The Communists would, of course, have been ejected from the posts they held in the Cabinet and in the administrative services. To the day of his death, Tixier was sure that, had de Gaulle taken his advice, the Communists would not have been able to send so many men to the Constituent Assembly. The career of the General might have been triumphal.

V

Henri Queuille, who became Premier five months ago, hails from the Corrèze Department which has returned him to Parliament for more than 30 years without a break. He has served as Cabinet Minister more than 20 times, usually in charge of agriculture. He is the spokesman of France south of the Loire, at home in the right wing of the Radical Socialists. The reappearance of a Radical Socialist at the helm of the Government is a clear indication that the new personnel which issued from the liberation movement has not fulfilled the hopes set upon it. The days of the Popular Republicans are numbered, and the Radical Socialists are regaining public favor.

Queuille is a country doctor. Extremism is foreign to his temperament. From the time he took office he has said that he would free the country from the terrorism generated by the Communist Confederation of Labor (C.G.T.), and by deft manœuvring, coupled with the courageous support of Minister of the Interior Moch, he has accomplished his purpose. Today, the C.G.T. cannot boast of more than 2,000,000 adherents, as against 6,000,000 in 1947. One million have passed under the banner of Force Ouvrière, 1,000,000 have transferred their allegiance to the Christian Workers, and 2,000,000 are not enrolled anywhere. By the same method of gentleness mixed with firmness, Queuille expects to take France past other milestones on the road to recovery. He thinks that the National Assembly must be allowed to serve its full term of five years -- up to the autumn of 1951.

Gaullists and Communists are eager to bring about a dissolution, believing that, in a general election this year, the Socialists and the Popular Republicans would fare badly They probably would. The Second-International Socialists have degenerated into a petit bourgeois party. After the years of captivity, Léon Blum, who is 77, has not the physical strength to wield the leadership, and his mantle can fall only on weak shoulders -- though it should be said to the credit of the Socialists that in the struggle against the Communists they do not falter. As for the Popular Republicans, their best men have been tried in the great functions of the Republic and the record is not too impressive. The Radical Socialists (who have turned Conservative Liberals in the last decade) are better provided with skill for the management of public affairs, and two newcomers of outstanding ability have joined their ranks: Pierre Mendès-France and André Meyer. Both are former Ministers, the latter with a tendency toward de Gaulle. Many Popular Republicans and Radical Socialists, not to speak of members of Rightist groups, have a double allegiance, having reserved for themselves the option to emigrate to the Gaullist camp.

In an immediate electoral contest with Communists and Gaullists, the prospects of the Center, therefore, are not very promising. Henri Queuille and Vincent Auriol -- the permanent leader of the "Third Force" -- will counteract with all their might the effort to force a dissolution this year and even next year. They are not shaken in the least by the argument developed ad nauseam that the National Assembly no longer expresses the mood of the country. They know that the forecast is that if a general election were held suddenly, with the electoral system of 1945-46 still in operation, the Communists, the Rally of the French People (Gaullist) and the Center parties would divide the vote just about equally. But that means that the extremists of the Right and of the Left would be in the ascendant. A stable government would be practically impossible. Auriol and Queuille are unshakably convinced that there is no acceptable alternative to the present majority of Socialists, Popular Republicans and Radical Socialists, and that were it to disappear suddenly, two blocks of extremists would clash with results that perhaps could not be kept in bounds. With such a possibility before them, the President of the Republic and the Premier will exhort the Assembly to stick to its mandate until the improved economy of the country has begun to tell on the electorate.

On March 20 and 27, half of the Conseils Généraux (departmental bodies more or less comparable to county councils in England) will have to be reëlected. Will this release the tidal wave predicted by Gaullist zealots -- that is to say, will victories for the Rally of the French People in the departmental elections demonstrate that the National Assembly has been disavowed by the country and must go? Most political observers (including those of the Gaullist persuasion) discount the "tidal wave" idea. This is the most unpropitious year for the Government to go to the polls, and as we have noted the Center parties will probably lose some ground. Costs of living have not yet fallen, and the Communists are exploiting the dissatisfaction of tenants with the new law on rents. (Actually, the number of Communist Party members has decreased from 1,000,000 to 600,000 in the past two years, and with the exception of L'Humanité, the Communist press, including the weekly La Terre, distributed far and wide in the rural districts, is losing circulation.) But no dramatic reversal appears to be in the cards. And if the Center parties together still attract more votes than the Gaullist "Rally," the policy of Auriol and Queuille will gain a two years' lease of life.

Last summer and autumn there was fear of a Gaullist coup d'état, and M. Auriol was thought to believe that the first breathing spell which the Government enjoyed should be used to modify the laws of September 1945 and September 1946 regulating the elections to the National Assembly. Experience makes it abundantly clear that in France proportional representation and voting by departments lend themselves to the success of mob movements. In 1885-88, the Third Republic very nearly succumbed to the movement known to history by the name of General Boulanger; the Third Republic was saved, in 1889, when the "uninominal" ballot was put in force -- that is, the ballot based on the principle of one constituency for one member of Parliament, the constituency being a small fraction of the department. Local influences are apt to work for middle-of-the-road parties; it is said, for example, that on the uninominal ballot, the Communist Party might lose one-third or even one-half of its 183 representatives in the National Assembly. But the Popular Republicans believe that abandonment or curtailment of proportional representation would be ruinous for them also, and M. Auriol decided that he ought not to arouse a bitter controversy between Socialists and Popular Republicans.

However, the departmental elections are not held on the basis of proportional representation, and the "canton" -- the electoral district -- is a small constituency. Local interests usually predominate in this balloting. This is one reason that no surprising change is expected. Should the March elections turn strongly in favor of the men who advocate an immediate general election, however, M. Auriol might regret that he did not press for electoral reform while there was time.

VI

The reconstruction of France is proceeding apace, and Frenchmen are hard at work. They are deficient in civic discipline. From the top to the bottom of the social pyramid, they are doing their job in their own way, as individuals (an attitude for which a good deal is to be said in a world made terribly monotonous by mass production and totalitarianism). The national economy is being put in shape. What France lacks is confidence in the future, a sense of growth, a display of unspent energy. The material wounds left by the invasion and the occupation are healing. The moral wounds are still gaping. Had General de Gaulle remained the heroic figure he undoubtedly was when he landed in France less than five years ago, he would have hastened the process of moral recuperation. But even if he won at the polls tomorrow, one may doubt that he could be of real help to his countrymen. He can set cheering crowds on the move, but his prestige is on the wane among thoughtful Frenchmen. It is noticeable that the meetings of the Compagnons de la Libération (the bodyguard of the General recruited from the men who congregated around him in London) languish nowadays, with signs of discouragement plainly in evidence.

How shall we explain the evanescence of his magic? Three main reasons can be given. First, when he quarrelled with the Center parties he had to retrieve the loss by drawing on the right, that is, the men of Vichy. He is reported to have offered Léon Noël the portfolio of foreign affairs or, at least, the secretary generalship of the Quai d'Orsay. Léon Noël, in diplomatic affairs, was the personal adviser of Pierre-Étienne Flandin and Pierre Laval. In the spirit of Laval and Flandin, he served as Ambassador to Prague and Warsaw; he was second to General Huntziger in the French delegation which formally accepted the armistice of June 22, 1940. Second, General de Gaulle is showing once more his contempt of teamwork. He does not take the trouble to have men of ability near him. Obviously, he thinks that if he heads a cabinet, the caliber of his underlings is not specially important. Except for René Mayer, who is indisputably talented, his selection would not be likely to be impressive. Third, he provides his critics with too much ammunition. Though it is true that the Constitution of 1946 is imperfect and will have to be corrected in due time, General de Gaulle is the protagonist of a presidential omnipotence more or less in the style of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte. Moreover, his program of social and of foreign policy is not convincing. The social policy upon which he would embark bears a likeness to the corporative system of Mussolini. His foreign policy seems built upon the tirades of Charles Maurras; de Gaulle professes to believe that unitary Germany can disappear and the medley of small kingdoms which made the Holy German Empire can be permanently reinstated.

The key to the spiritual revival of the French nation lies in the field of external affairs, national defense and the empire overseas. The policy followed in Germany by the occupying Powers has been a constant cause of worry and irritation to the French people. Frenchmen have no taste for Communism, nor for the imitations of Communism. They are awake to the Soviet menace. At the same time, they feel uneasy whenever American officials profess that a democratic Germany can be relied upon, after a short probation period, to defend the west against the Eastern Empire. That a Germany of 72,000,000 inhabitants crammed together within narrow frontiers would refuse a bargain with Russia, who can give back at will some of the territories taken from the Reich, seems absurd. The London agreement of June 2, 1948, which stemmed from a memorandum drafted two months before by General Clay, cut short the ministerial life of Georges Bidault. A kind of fatalism is now stifling French diplomacy. Keenly aware of France's dependence on the United States, French diplomacy hardly dares take the initiative. In 1924, when the Ruhr policy of Poincaré came to grief, French diplomacy persuaded itself to find a solace in the easygoing formulas of Aristide Briand. The same chain of cause and effect unreels again today. The successor of Georges Bidault, Robert Schuman, turns for salvation to the European ideal. Bidault himself started the whole scheme when he had to admit that the realist policy he attempted to carry out was done for. But our American friends ought not to delude themselves into believing that the pattern of European union which Robert Schuman promotes has struck its roots very deeply in French intellect and in the French heart. It faintly expresses a wish to become more independent of Washington and London. It expresses what remains in France of the ideology of Second-International Socialism, as well as the traditions of a medieval Christian republic. In short, it looks rather like the last throw of a losing gambler. A united Europe from which not only Russia but also Britain kept away would not be a very safe harbor for the French nation! As a political entity, Europe never existed; the Holy Roman Empire was the nearest approach to it. An intelligent Frenchman believes in the Atlantic community. He does not believe in "Europe."

The realization that Western Europe is a "military vacuum," that this vacuum is the object of a continuous deliberation between professional strategists in Washington, that vital decisions are being reached about which France knows nothing, cannot but depress the public spirit. For a Frenchman it is a strange feeling to be without a system of defense which, rightly or wrongly, seems to protect the nation.

In the past, the sources of French national confidence have been found, first of all in the armed forces, and also in the overseas possessions. Any French government whose thoughts go beyond satisfying material requirements from day to day must see that those springs of valor are not lost to the national community. Our American friends are sure to wince at the very mention of the overseas possession. Our late friend Thomas C. Wasson, the former American Consul-General in Dakar who was killed in Jerusalem, could have told of France's achievements in interracial fraternity in black Africa. The first signs of new vigor in French life will show themselves in a rejuvenated army, and in the territories overseas. A new current of French life: this will mean that new élites are emerging!

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  • ANDRÉ GÉRAUD, for years political commentator of the Echo de Paris and now of France-Soir under the nom-de-plume "Pertinax;" formerly Editor of L'Europe Nouvelle; author of "The Gravediggers of France"
  • More By André Géraud