FRANCE: Coup de Pompidou

No sooner had Georges Pompidou returned from his European summit discussions in Bonn last week than France's President, with rather less ceremony than is customary, accepted the resignation of Premier Jacques Chaban-Delmas. In fact, the suave, sporty Cha-ban, 57, whose "new society" programs have given the Gaullist government a liberal cast, was fired, apparently because he did not fit into presidential strategy for next March's parliamentary elections. The man who does: Pierre Messmer, 56, an orthodox Gaullist who served as Defense Minister under Charles de Gaulle.

Chaban's ouster had been rumored for months, but the actual timing came as a...