FRANCE: Stay of Execution

Premier Rene Pleven's precarious four-month-old French government last week risked a vote of confidence. Pleven had had the courage to make the issue France's new austerity program : a 200-billion-franc tax increase, a 40% cut in dollar imports. He knew that he would be fought by Communists on the left and Gaullists on the right. He could not count on the help of the Socialists, who had announced that they would abstain. "If we get less than a ten-vote majority, we'll resign," said Pleven. "If we get more than twelve, we'll talk it over." The vote was 246 to...

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