World: Middle East: The Supersalesman

I SUPPOSE we should have kept in mind," fumed a U.S. State Department official, "that the Cross of Lorraine is also a double-cross." That undiplomatic reaction was evoked by the news that France had agreed to sell not 15, not 50, but 100 warplanes and trainers to the revolutionary regime of Libya for $147 million, the biggest one-shot aircraft deal in French history. Initially, Paris had claimed that only 15 planes were involved. Later the French said that the figure was really 50. When French Defense Minister Michel Debré finally upped the figure...

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