France: Joining the Club

France's first hydrogen bomb explod ed last week over the Fangataufa atoll in the South Pacific, forming a huge ex clamation mark to punctuate the dif ficulties of nonproliferation. The U.S.

exploded its first H-bomb in 1952, the Soviet Union in 1953, the British in 1957, and the Chinese in 1967. Though it has become the fifth member of the hydrogen club, France is at least four years away from having a missile system capable of giving its big new bang the proper ride. Still, despite his recent troubles at home, Charles de Gaulle is determined to press ahead with...