French Policy Under De Gaulle

November 20, 1963

Report Outline
New Direction of French Foreign Policy
Insistence on Independence in Defense
Use of the Economic Power of France

New Direction of French Foreign Policy

Alliance and Independence, according to Hervé Alphand, French ambassador to the United States, are “the twin concepts which best describe France's policy today.” American officials probably would agree with only half of that appraisal. Recent events have left no doubt in Washington of France's determination to play an independent role in world affairs. At the same time, there is growing irritation over French President de Gaulle's unwillingness to help forge stronger links among the Atlantic allies.

De Gaulle's View of American-French Relations

Franco-American relations have worsened to the point where relatively minor disagreements provoke bitter quarreling. While “hardly surprised by the ups and downs of what it is customary [in the United States] to call opinion,” President de Gaulle feels that “recently the tone and the song, as regards France, have seemed rather excessive.” At his most recent news conference, July 29, de Gaulle conceded that the United States and France disagreed “on very important issues,” but he insisted that such differences “cannot alter in France what is fundamental as regards America.” In his opinion, “The fundamental factors of French-American relations are friendship and alliance,” which have existed “for close on 200 years as an outstanding psychological reality in keeping with the nature of the two countries.”

De Gaulle asserted that only “infinitely serious and infinitely long dissension” could rupture the friendship of the United States and its oldest ally. France, he said, does not “believe that the United States seeks to wrong it.” By the same token, “For the United States to imagine that France seeks to harm it would be a ridiculous absurdity.” He added: “Indeed, so long as the free world is faced with the Soviet bloc, which is capable of suddenly submerging this or that territory, and which is moved by a dominating and detestable ideology, it will be essential that the peoples on both sides of the ocean, if they wish to defend themselves, be linked together to do so.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 03, 1978  French Parliamentary Elections
Feb. 14, 1973  French Elections, 1973
Apr. 10, 1968  French-American Relations
Nov. 24, 1965  Election of De Gaulle: Past and Future Policies
Nov. 20, 1963  French Policy Under De Gaulle
Feb. 20, 1963  France and the Alliance
Nov. 07, 1962  French Governmental Crisis
Mar. 10, 1960  Status of France
Sep. 15, 1955  Future of France in North Africa
Dec. 16, 1953  French Political Instability
Nov. 15, 1952  France and Germany in West European Defense
Jan. 29, 1947  Empire of France
Sep. 01, 1945  France in Transition
Aug. 08, 1944  Relations with France
Mar. 21, 1942  Relations with France
Apr. 10, 1934  Constitutional Reform in France
Jun. 30, 1929  The French Debt and the Young Plan
Apr. 27, 1928  The Briand-Kellogg Correspondence
Mar. 30, 1928  French National Elections - 1928
Aug. 24, 1926  French Currency and Exchange
Jun. 30, 1925  The Moroccan Problem
Jun. 17, 1925  The French Debt to the United States
Apr. 11, 1925  The French Financial Problem
May 07, 1924  The French National Elections
Sep. 21, 1923  French Reparation Policy in the Light of the Dariac Report
Regional Political Affairs: Europe