France: Premiere at the Elysee

During his eleven-year rule of France, Charles de Gaulle held a grand total of 18 press conferences, and the fact that the press was invited was almost incidental. Seated on a gilded tapestry chair in the Elysee Palace and flanked by his entire Cabinet, De Gaulle did not so much answer questions (often planted in advance) as deliver oracular pronouncements. Last week Georges Pompidou held his first session with the press since taking over as the general's successor, and the result was as different from De Gaulle's performances as an interview is from an audience.

France's new President strode informally...

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