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September 11, 1977
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THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE 1gseS29Q44/jQ 21 -RDP80M0016 By James 0. Golclsborougrh PARIS. he , honeymoon was short and the marriage is on the rocks. Things simply have not worked out between France and her young President, ?-ValeryGiscard d'Esta- ing. Unless the situation changes rapid- ly, the French will win the Western, European sweepstakes on where the Communists finally win a solid share of power. Portugal took the early lead, only to be passed by Italy, which has now given way to the new front-runner, France. - -It took only three years for the French to turn their backs on Giscard. Young, graceful, stimulating, he had the French dancing in the streets at his 1974 election to the -presidency. The French had surprised themselves, that time. Finally, France had shown com- mon sense, pulled back from the mag- netism of the two extremes - the col- lectivism of the left and the nationalism of the right. Giscard had beaten the left's veteran. campaigner, Francois Mitterrand. As for the _ right, the new President- summed it up in a conversa- tion:. "`The French are sick of Gaul- lism." "A: new era begins," the head- lines said.. A heady era, he promised; just give my programs a chance to catch on. His "center'" would drive a wedge between the extremes. France would build an "advanced liberal society," a mixture of private enterprise and social justice. France would not fall into the British abyss, with nationalized companies foundering: under a socialism that provided everything but the will to work.. :.. -. Today, with the 1978 parliamentary elections six months away, Giscard is buffeted from side to side by a nation that seems out for his scalp: His cher- ished "center" is nowhere to be found. The minister representing it have been discredited, disgraced and even exiled from Paris. Only Prime Minister Raymond Barre, who is visiting Wash- ington this. week to rally support for Giscard's faltering troops, retains some public appeal in a Government that otherwise is faceless and undistin- guished. It is the. first American visit by. a French Prime Minister since the begin-,1 ring of the Gaullist era, and it is a ` measure of the trouble Giscard is in at home. The French Government - is in :bad need of bolstering, and though ordi- narily yore do not gin votes in France by going to Washington. anything that' ..Barre can get will help, be it public sympathy from President Carter on the Concorde or strong statements of soli- darity on economic and energy prob- lems by secretaries Blumenthal and Schlesinger. The Barre visit , was, smoothed when Mitterrand, who had planned to visit- Washington himself - later this month, decided not to, in the absence of assurances that Carter would see him. The State Department -had recommended against receiving the French Socialist chieftain: There was to be no doubt about which side the United States is on. Which is fine so long as your side goes on. winning. But that may be the problem. France, in the process of rejecting the former-suitor, has turned her affections to a new one. The audience sits amazed, for. if the first young man seemed perfect, right down to his - chin and the cut of his tweeds, the new one, for whom the girl seems stricken, has a darker image, a - pencil-line mustache and a leer. = - other times,. of the 19th century.. c+ bombs and beards, railroads and n Engels and Kautsky, Debs and theHay market. But the left in France, has, dory; what it has not done in any othercoun try: It has patched itself together-_5 cialists, Communists, Radicals, all main currents of the left. have posed their. differences and signed pact. It is as though the schism in th socialist movement caused in 1921 by the Russian. Bolsheviks and their Co. mintern never happened. The left around a common program; and si the French are known to have- then. hearts, if not their pocketbooks-, on-the left, the left is set to run theyoung out of town. - Everything had seemed so right. Tb the helm of a meandering and divided nation, paralyzed by its eternal left- right split -- "us" against "them,", "moi ou le chaos." Gen. Charles d - historical giant to restore, the- dreams. Under Georges Pompidou, gruff and practical,. France returned to earth, but by the time he died in 1974, Pompidou was a tired and sick man. Giscard rep. resented the future, the new hope; the postwar man, the pedigreed egghead trial future, sell the Concorde, resist dazzle the - European - Community- France-German relations had suffered peasanty types steeped in suspicion.. Giscard could handle the Germans, handle Helmut Schmidt. Together, these two ex-finance ministers would' forge the new technocratic Europe, air it should follow along. Approved For Release 2004/04/12 : CIA-RDP80M00165AO02300030012-4 Giscard could do all this because, though born into wealtA El~llr he was not 4,frad to be a"'traitor to his class," tax the rich, help the poor. He was not afraid to put down the ~Gaul- lists, attack traditions head on, pass abortion and divorce laws in a Catholic country, impose a capital-gains tax (the French will accept any kind of in- direct sales tax but hate to have their incomes taxed). Giscard's answer to his critics was that they were old-fash- ioned. Wait and see, he said. The trou. ble with the French was that they were= n't Anglo-Saxon enough. "Changer la societe" was the theme of the new reign. Changing France sug- gests changing Frenchmen, and Gis. card might have done well to reflect on those who have made that attempt. The French Revolution cost 5,000 heads and resulted ina society 200 years later that has the most inequitable. income distri- bution of any country in the West. The record of France's more modest re- formers has been meager. The great utopians, Saint-Simon, Fourier, Proud- hon and Rousseau left little behind but their ideas. The most recent attempt) was made in 1970-72 by Pompidou's first Prime Minister, Jacques Chaban- Delmas, who was dismissed for his pains. As Pompidou, who did the dismissing, explained later to Alain Peyrefitte, the current Justice Minister and author of the best-selling book "Le Mal Fran- cats." "You can't pretend France is an Anglo-Saxon country; it isn't"; it would never have gone for Chaban-Delmas's "ridiculous fantasies." On reformism in general,- Pompidou's_view_s were firm: "You think that the French have changed? They've changed their styles, perhaps, but not their mentality. They instinctively understand the dangers of change. That if you introduce one kind, of change; it brings with it all kinds of secondary changes. that weren't fore- seen. The order of things is upset. Above all, the French are conservative: They have an instinct for conservation that I regard as healthy." Strong tides for any reformer to buck, but Giscard was game for a try. France, he reasoned, had gone beyond the provincial analysis of 'a Pompidou; the-problems of the 1970's were differ ent; to solve them required evolution on several fronts. Politically, it meant weakening the Communists and attracting the Social- ists (at least some of them) to his side through popular reforms. It meant inoving toward some -version of the Anglo-American system -- an alterna- tive between the center right and the center-left, with the President govern- ing more or less success III ?-____-- se" ft# Ti f-c `-' '~f~~V100165A o~ 'sag t4 day's dole., mean a and r nc, e - I come. ax re arm did not, ate inflation and increases in investment and exports -- all relatively unusual for France. This, unfortunately, would also mean austerity and high unemployment, which, histori- cally, have. been fatal for French rulers, but Giscard thought that modern pro- grams, Job retraining and unemployment benefits would help. Diplomatically, Giscard followed a good-neighbor poli- cy in Europe and sought to Out France in the avant-garde in Western dealings with the third world. Equally impor- tant, he tried to end the eternal Gaullist quarrel with the United States over such things as NATO and the Common Market. He recognized that no, understanding with West Ger- many was possible so long as France tried to force Bonn to choose between Washington and Paris. . Giscard, in short, had a mod- em, coherent, original vision for his country. To achieve it in a nation such as France,. a President would have needed great charisma, sound lieuten- ants, boundless energy and practically subliminal powers of persuasion to get people to do what they don't want to do - forget their chauvinism, ac- cept unemployment and be- come a moral leader of a group-of poor countries they would rather forget. A man like de Gaulle might have managed it. There are two main strains in the French - the egocentric and vain- glorious, which the Gaullists- have exploited, and the ideal- istic and. systematic, which is the stuff of the left. If you don't vibrate one of these two chords, as Giscard didn't, you are at a disadvantage, and you had better have a slick bag of tricks. For . Giscard, . that would have meant a series of tactical successes to prove that his vision was right and all the critics were wrong. In- -stead, he came under steady personal attack for his distant manners and desultory ways, his Governments careered from misfortune to misfortune in the most amateurish of fashions, and certain political facts refused to go away. High unemployment asserted . its historic role as the undoer of French rulers. Unemployment e across as a social bene-' country's wide income differ-1 entials, because, in France,] the poor as well as the rich' hatethe incometax. Things began to go seriously } wrong when Jacques Chirac, the jeune loup bent on resur- recting the Gaullism that many thought interred with Giscard's election, made his move in August 1976. It is no'E secret that Chirac plans to run for President when Giscard's 1 term is up in 1981; by naming him Prime Minister three years ago, Giscard had hoped to keep him in line until then. In vain. Closely advised by two of Pompidou's former advis- ers, Pierre Juillet and Marie France Garaud -- mysterious, French.-style eminences grises never seen in public --- Chirac came to believe that Giscard's ineffectual reformism was ex- asperating the French to such a degree that they would vote = the left into power. He urged Giscard to call early elections and run on a strong anti-Com- munist platform that is,, dramatize the very divisions Giscard had pledged to end. When the President refused, Chirac resigned and began or; ganizing his Gaullists into a new "People's Rally,, 'a name steeped in the nostalgia of de, Gaulle's original French Peo- ple's Rally of 1948-50.. Chirac's new R.P.R., as it is called, while nominally antileft, is ac- .,tually anti-Giscard. And the hard truth is that, without the Gaullisms, Giscard is a general. without troops. Step by step, the .Govern-1 played into Chirac's hands through a series of blun- ders. At the center of all of them was Giscard's own right- hand man, Michel Poniatow- ski, the Interior Minister, a, rich, fat, titled Giscardian with a taste for irritating h%.;-? Gaullist allies and a pecchant for political error. Puniatow- ski had Abu Daoud, a Palestin- tan activist, arrested and held for extradition. to West Germa- ny, where he was wanted by the police in connection with, the massacre of the Israeli Olympic team at Munich in - 1972. But the German Govern- ment, reasoning that Palestin tan terrorism- had subsided: 01 65AQQ23Qf 3 12a is could- Approved For ReleasehWMd9did 2ce 1U1Qr fll lead to more Lufthansa hijackings, A IVV~iM 'cir- cumstances, Frencin the most hu iliating cir- cumstances, were forced to free him. About the same time, another rich, fat, titled Giscardian, named Jean de Broglie, was murdered by the Paris France," replied the gravel-voiced underworld, with which he was appar- Auvergne schoolmaster, "it is that he ently involved. Poniatowski, an as. thinks he is better than France. He sdciate of de Broglie, promptly de- clared the case solved - a clear case of obstruction of justice, for it wasn't, and still isn't. Giscard's earliest reforms had been to give the city of Paris autonomous status, with a mayor, removing the capital from its historic government tutelage. The decision, consistent with Giscard's notion of a modern, decentralized nation, was disastrous politically: As high rents shoved the fief. The consequences showed up in the mayoral race against Giscard's own candidate - another rich, titled (though only-stout) Giscardian named President's fervent pleas. This was the open split. Chirac ran an effective campaign against lackluster opposi- tion, kissing babies, drinking red wine at cafe counters and promising safer and cleaner streets. He won Paris, as any Gaullist would have, but the left won sweeping victories in provincial cities and towns, reaching 53 percent of the vote. "This- [governing] ma- jority is doomed," pronounced Mitter- rand. "All that is left for it is to decide the date of the [parliamentary] elec- tions, when it will hand power over to But it was more than blunders-that led Giscard to his present pass. more, even, than the bad luck to have an economic recession,- the worst since the 1930's, strike just-as he be- came President. -A more basic ques-- tion has to do with the nature of his mandate. Chirac, the conservative, sees it as follows: "If the French had wanted change, they would have voted for - Mitterrand. Giscard was elected to do nothing. His problem is not to have understood that." If, tradi- tionally, the left and the right each commands 40 percent of the vote in any French election, it is the floating 20 percent that matters. Giscard went ,after that 20 percent with his reforms. -Instead of winning it, he confused it- and a good part of his own 40 percent as well. "You cannot make politics that alienate your own clientele," says Mitterrand- "It is fatal." met Nb*04M-T 4 a 1&QD-1~8?M OQ 1 damental problem. "Why doesn't Gis- asked Pompidou shortly before his doesn't think that France is up to his size and intelligence." There ought to be a bond between the people and their leader in any democracy. The government, to be le- of the people. De Gaulle had captured card's election had been followed by an outflow of enthusiasm. "Every- thing was possible for him' in the beginning," says Peyrefitte. Today, nothing is possible: "The Government lacks legitimacy;" says Chirac. There is something in France that doesn't like Giscard's center, that sees it as a bloodless, neutral place to be. Like white, it is the absence of pig- ment. The French love their ideology, and even as they leave their farms for the industrial cities, there is some- thing in them that wants to bring the old doctrines along. The Socialists and Communists have understood this, . . which helps explain why their I -- position is so strong today. The Socialists reek of musty Frenchness, a blend of tobacco and earth, cities and villages, ideas and roots. They range from-- crisp, technocratic minds like' Michel Rocard, a kind of Giscard without pedi- gree, to the feisty bossism of Gaston Defferre in Marseilles; from the stump-worn sloga- neering of Pierre Maurov, Mayor of Lille in the north, to the brittle intellect. of Mitter- rand, a kind of Clemenceau of the left, steeped in history and literature, not sure whether he has been cast for the role of a ? Rastignac or a Julien Sorel or an Alexander Kerensky.. The Socialists' only match on the left are the Commu. mists, who, - under- Georges Marchais, have been led away. from the underworld of Stalin- ism to a new image of a brash, tough, totally French workers'. party with a solid 20 percent. of the vote. The Communists to. day rival the Gaullists in chau- vinism. The word "interna- tionalism" is never heard. .Marx, if, he returned today, would get the same treatment as Jesus in Dostoyevsky's tale t__~_ _._-..~-pprbved"Fdr Relea& tkR M4112qu61P1RB bum's rush. Giscard otherleft thehandand, i`li~ 'I the right to Hamlet -- too vacillating, too conciliatory, too compromising, too leery of the kind of confrontation that the Gaullists and Communists relish. Chirac criticizes Gis- card for wanting to be every- . body's good neighbor. Where else but in France could want- ing to be a good neighbor possi- bly give offense? Yet in France, such notions are con-i sidered a sign of weakness, To get along with people is a sign of giving in, if not selling out.. One either shuns others or - dominates them. Even so, there is something `inherently crazy, about the French going left. How can a nation with 348 kinds of cheese be collectivized? What people is more conservative, more in? dividualistic,. more ungovern- able? Yet the- left has made a -spectacular comeback, per- baps because the French are a nation of paradoxes, unsynthe sizable-. and they love it. The left :... Rendered all but extinct by Gaullism, internal divisions and the Soviet inva- sion of Czechoslovakia, held down to only 25 percent of-the vote when Pompidou was swept into the Presidency- in 1969, the left today is the domi nant force in- French politics, with a 12 percent lead in the polls. It still may not come to? power, for the French often find reasons for.votine riehtin, spite of how they feel about it- in their hearts, but it is in bet- ter shape to do so than at any, timeinthepast- . ._: France has: approached a watershed, and it may well be the same for the other nations of Latin Europe. No longer can, majority coalitions, whether. calling themselves conserva-. tives, centrists,..- national movements - or Christian Democrats, hang on to power, - despite incompetence and cor- ruption, simply by invrking the Red menace. : Ti:ey most prove that they have the better policies and- cleaner hands; that they can solve the prob. lems. For40years, France has not known what it is to have a normal, democratic alterna tion in power -majorities re- placed by oppositions; Italy, Spain and Portugal haven't .known it for even longer pert- MOO 165 4.8b694he expert-1. ence altogether. But times are?" changing, and the Communist. The French Communist Party,-for exampl ppmesthIOr ut in support of direct elec- tions to the European Parlia- ment, espoused the force de frappe, backed the concepts of Eurocommunism and stepped up its criticism of the Soviet Union. Just as each of these steps has made life with the French Socialists -- and the al- liance between the two parties - more credible, so it has made the Communist Party's relations with the Soviet Union more difficult. With those four decisions, the party showed that it had finally accepted the European Community, that it was nationalist in matters of defense, that it no longer con- ceived of Communism in France as resembling the Rus- sian model, and that it was no longer unconditionally pro- Soviet.. Cynics still dismiss change and strife among the Communists as cosmetic in nature, but it seems undeni- able . that the Communist parties of Western Europe are not on good terms with Mos- cow, and that part.of their suc- cess derives from this. Both- the- Communists and the Socialists are being crafty in this pre-electoral period.. They may peck away at each other to show that they are rivals as well as allies, but they avoid the bitter personal -attacks exchanged by the Gaullists and- the Giscardian centrists. Each of the two left- ist parties wants to come out ahead; each knows that . its real troubles will begin after- ward. With its sweeping nationali- _zations.___workers'_ --control; trade protectionism and price- freeze. enough is known of the-- left's Common Program of Government. It would be un- precedented in France. The . Popular Front of 1936, which ended in failure. is not com- parable: The front had no common program, nor did the Communists participate in the front Governments. There were Communists in the post- war Governments of 194147, prior to the outbreak of the cold war,. but they held only minor posts in coalitions rep- resenting all major French . ust the le. The l?~1y 4 a 91 fiQ-t ? assumption of power today can be easily imagined. Some of them, like a flight of capital,- a drop in investments and a collapse on the Paris Bourse, are already under way. But there would be more - a fall- ing franc, import barriers, dif- ficulties in the Common Mar- ket and the Atlantic Alliance, and much business failure. Some lessons can be learned from the severe economic dis- location that occurred in Por- tugal, though admittedly Por- tugal, a nonindustrial country, cannot be the perfect example- The French Socialists dis- miss most of these fears as ex- aggerated and ill-intentioned. They claim that they have thought of everything -- that they will control the Commis- mists' excesses, that there will be an initial period of difficult, transition, and that an eco- nomic takeoff will follow.- Above all, they try to calm the fears of the United States. , They are making ' repeated trips to Washington these days with the same message: Don't worry, and, above all, don't in- terfere. France is not Chile. The French people would not tolerate American interfer- ence in their democratic processes. Though. things certainly would not go as smoothly as- the Socialists like to think,, there is no reason to believe that utter chaos would follow a victory by the left. It is un-:. likely that the Communists.! who have-waited so--long to- come out of their ghetto and try their hand at government, would destroy it all through invossible demands. . The party does not want to : be_ pushed back 20 years by a. strong rightist reaction under. 'Jacques Chirac. . A leftist victory next Marche would expose the hole in the- Constitution of the Fifth Re- public, tailored in 1958. for the majestic figure of General de.i ,baulle. The opposition never- `came close to winning during the de Gaulle-Pompidou years, and so the Constitution a ve "l gy h OM00lAa to and a Prime Minister and, Cabinet of another. Even with Mitterrand as Prime Minister of a Government of Socialists and Communists, Giiscard, under constitutional provi- sions, would still serveout the I rest of his term, with the con- siderable powers his office en- joys. He says he will not resign but stay on hand for another ,three years to try to restrain the left. In practice, however, he would be quickly trans- formed into a lame duck. He would have several weapons at his disposal if the-going got rough, including dissolution of Parliament, but what would there be to keep the French from deciding that he hadn't given the left a chance and vot- ing it right back in? It that happened, or if Giscard, against expectations, chose to resign, it would mark the end of the Fifth Republic and a re- turn to government by. Parlia ment, the symbol of the Third and Fourth Republics, going. back to 1870. It is probably only fair that a nation that turns aside from the traditional way and is 1*r willing to'try a middle way . should take on something com- pletely new. The French have done that in the past, and their history, unlike that of Britain, has been one of abrupt shocks and great exuberance, fol- lowed by a return to the?natu. ral order of things- They seem to need periods of collective catharsis, which accomplish little from a historical point of view but feel so good. Vale y Giscard d'Estaing. -doesn't need the catharsis, doesn't like the shocks and doesn't under- stand the need.-- A foreigner t may sympathize with him and shake his head at the French. But, as Georges-. Pompidou pointed out, they are not Anglo-Saxons. M `" James b.-Goldsbomugh . is chief European correspondent for The Inter- Approved For Release 2004/04/12: CIA-RDP80M00165A 1 0a*2--4bune- Approved For Fuse 2004/04/12: CIA-RDP80M001654p2300030012-4 SENDER WILL CHECK CLASSIFICATION TOP AND BOTTOM CONFIDENTIAL SECRET OFFICIAL ROUTING SLIP Admiral Turner ACTION DIRECT REPLY APPROVAL DISPATCH RECOMMENDATION COMMENT FILE RETURN CONCURRENCE INFORMATION SIGNATURE Remarks : In going over the minutes-of the 12 September Cabinet Meeting, you checked a paragraph, namely, "The President noted that there was a very inter- esting article in-yesterday's New York Times M i a az ne-on- French President GicarTdt s '-tau-tg,-' tta e is the tic ar le which H I- . obtained from Ptu's cho - - p You also asked-me-to obtain a c opy of Dr. Brzezinski's-memorandum'to the Attorney General on _the need for a thorough review of counterintelli- gence activities in. the U.S..-- a topic mentioned by Dr: Brzezinski. --I called Sam Hoskinson and he will forward same, but it has not arrived as yet. , ADDRESS AND PHONE NO, NNAMME. A CRESS AND PHONE NO. DATE NAME. A DA B. C. Evans, Executive Secretary 19 Se 77 UNCLASSIFIED CONFIDENTIAL SECRET FORM R0. 237 Use previous editions (40) 1-67 If T RV FILE Approved For Release 2004/04/12 : CIA-RDP80M00165AO02300030012-4 FOLD HERE TO RETURN TO SENDER