WESTERN UNION: Hare v. Tortoise

In a small grey building on Paris Quai d'Orsay, tucked away between the French National Assembly and the former Foreign Ministry, lives Elder Statesman Edouard Herriot, Assembly president and perennial mayor of Lyon. In his pale green salon, Herriot last week received several diplomatic callers. They settled on red-upholstered, gilt Louis XV chairs, beneath five huge crystal chandeliers, to discuss one of Europe's great hopes: Western Union. They got nowhere. Britain and France were deeply divided.

Assembly v. Conference. Last year, France and Belgium had suggested formation of a "consultative assembly" as a...

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