FRANCE: The Long View

Striding one afternoon last week into the gilded Salle des Fêtes of the Elysée Palace, Charles de Gaulle took a seat in solitary grandeur upon an orchestra platform, signaled the beginning of the first press conference ever given by a French President. In the hour that followed, the 600 newsmen present witnessed the closest thing to a royal audience that France has seen since the days of Napoleon III. While the Cabinet of the Fifth Republic sat in dutiful silence at the foot of his dais, De Gaulle announced that he himself would speak for France at the prospective...