France: Firecrackers

Every day is Bastille Day with Charles de Gaulle, so concerned is he with demonstrating France's "national independence." To prove once again that he is a "free agent," he has set off a string of petty diplomatic firecrackers that not only startled his allies, but set them sputtering themselves.

For openers, De Gaulle personally vetoed the provisional permission, issued by the French Foreign Office last September, for the U.S. to reopen its consulate in Tahiti. The consulate had been closed after World War II for economy reasons, and the U.S. said it wanted to reopen it because of the...

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