France: Toward Corporate Glory

Contemplating the glory that is—or should be—France, Charles de Gaulle is sensitive about the fact that his country's businesses, though wealthy enough, are not very large when measured on an international scale. His government has consistently urged French firms to merge and thus come closer in size to the foreign (meaning U.S.) corporate colossi that De Gaulle fears could eventually make France an economic colony.

Last week two big French organizations took just the sort of merger step that De Gaulle has been advocating. Pont-à-Mousson, France's second biggest private industrial company, with estimated 1965 sales of $1 billion, and the...