Clinton Checks In With Paris

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DAKAR, Senegal: The French used to be prickly about their colonies. That's why President Clinton, en route to Senegal, made a courtesy call to France's President Jacques Chirac to ensure that his trip wasn’t viewed "as somehow pitting the United States against the French," according to an aide. He needn't have bothered, says TIME Paris bureau chief Tom Sancton: "If anything, the French government would like to get the U.S. more involved in Africa, because France is scaling down its own involvement. France no longer wants to be the gendarme of Africa."

The President today discussed his proposed all-Africa peacekeeping force with Senegal's President Abdou Diouf, one of its most enthusiastic supporters. Tomorrow Clinton visits Goree Island, the slave-trade embarkation point, to make the closing speech of his trip. Don't expect an apology for slavery: Asked about the much-hyped issue earlier this week, the President said, "Most of my African-American friends and advisers... think we need to be looking toward the future."