leading politicians of various countries have begun
courting General De Gaulle.
Letters are being sent, invitations issued and interviews
are sought for.
President Eisenhower set the ball rolling by announcing
to the world that he had intimate contact with the General
during the war years. Though the President did not present
it as an argument, there was a sort of suggestion.
The British Prime Minister, it is expected, will take
the earliest opportunity to meet the General and discuss
matters of common interest.
General De Gaulle, having secured power, is now able
to attract the attention of many a leader, and he ought
to be secretly chuckling at the sort of sheepishness
that has got hold of the top-men of various countries.
It is common knowledge that not one of them could feel
inwardly happy at the emergence to power of General
De Gaulle — which heralds but a dictatorship. But when
once it has become a 'fait accompli' most of them are
attempting to get the best out of the worst.
As a matter of fact, the French people themselves stood
by the General only because, to stand up against him
meant something more terrible — civil strife and chaos.
Most of the top men of various countries were not prepared
for this 'coup'—in fact none got much hint of the coming
event. Moscow press now claims that it knew about the
coming event long ago. At the most, it could be but
a sort of conjecture. To many outside France, the event
came as a shock, for, they were not prepared to witness
this strange sight — Republican France rearing up a
Dictator! But those who analyse the situation in France
and also the mental make-up of the French people, get
this consolation that after all, the French got what
The French people have been maintaining a Republic of
course, but in their heart they were nourishing a sort
of 'Dualism.' As a commentator has pointed out, the
French people are fervent patriots but they invest their
money abroad. French deputies deliver fiery speeches
against Algerian Nationalists, but would at the same
time ferociously oppose any attempt at new taxation—even
though it is to be spent for maintaining French hold
This dualism confuses those who do not distinguish between
what the French practise and what they preach.
General De Gaulle is himself an embodiment of this 'dualism'.
He decries the parliamentary system — especially party
system and asks for unbridled power for a specific period
from the parliamentary institution itself. He denounces
party system, but at the same time has formed a cabinet
composed of leaders of various parties. And he would
fret and foam, if anybody were to point out the paradox
in his policy. For, he, like all French men, is under
the influence of 'dualism.'
It is again this dualism that is responsible for the
'policy' being pursued by him with regard to the burning
problems confronting France.
Much hope was generated as soon as the General assumed
power, but his tour of the trouble spot—Algeria—has
as yet to yield any tangible result.
Algeria refuses to submit to French autocracy any longer.
The National upsurge there has got the 'blessing' of
freedom-loving people all over the world. Deeds of valour
and self-sacrifice are the order of the day in Algeria.
The struggle for freedom has already taken a very heavy
General De Gaulle, before assuming power, was thundering
forth that the rulers at France were blundering. He
was at pains to explain that the policy of suppression
would not solve the problem. But having seized power,
what is the solution he offers?
General De Gaulle, is not prepared to concede 'freedom'
—the birth-right —for the Algerians. On the other hand
he says with definiteness and furious determination
that France would not walk out of Algeria. He thunders
forth that Algeria is a part of France!
But that was exactly what the others in France were
saying, one would like to point out. True! But General
De Gaulle says, that he is going to transform Algeria
into Frencheria! He would treat Algerians as equals,
as Frenchmen—they would be granted equal rights, citizenship,
their voice would be respected just as that of any French
Instead of granting self government to Algeria, General
De Gaulle wants to reshape it as Frencheria!
This could but aggravate the situation. It is not for
getting equal rights, or a new name and status that
the Algerians are waging a relentless struggle.
Algeria is a separate country, peopled by an entirely
different Nation. They refuse to remain as the subjects
of France. They demand freedom and Independence. But
General De Gaulle offers them a decorative title—Frencheria.
Perhaps, the General feels that there is nothing illogical
in this. Dualism has become a mode of thought and action
with the French. Hence it is, that General De Gaulle,
speaks about the legitimate aspirations of the Algerians
and at the same time says that France is not going to
abdicate its obligations.
Neither in Algeria nor in France, has this policy been
received with much enthusiasm. Even those who speak
with warmth about the bold and swift action of the General,
fail to find enthusiastic hope in the scheme adumbrated
by him. At the best, it is a bait which Algerian Nationalists
would not face; at the worst it is a sort of quibbling.
There are already many in France who ask with amazement,
what benefit they got from a change. The problems remain
as acute and as inflammable as ever—and they have but
added one more problem, the emergence of an extra-parliamentary
person at the helm of affairs. General De Gaulle has
been granted extra-ordinary powers for a period of of
six months. But what power could possibly intervene
to prevent the General demanding more powers for an
indefinite period? When all the political parties were
forced by circumstance to yield to the pressure tactic
of General De Gaulle, what kind of check could there
be in future if the General begins to assume dictatorial
garb? Already the tone is that of a dictator—he but
allows the Parliament to hear him speak. What could
the deputies do if one fine day General Gaulle says
"You have sat too long here for any good you have
done. Depart, I say and let us have done with you. In
the name of God, go!"
Did not Cromwell thunder forth in this strain, before
the Long Parliament? What answer could the French Parliament
present, if and when General De Gaulle passes his scathing
"Depart, I say!"