50 Years Ago: Charles De Gaulle Called for Russia and Europe to Dump the US (Video)
During a visit to the Soviet Union the French leader said that the two countries should effect a rapprochement without American interference
France has always been known for following an independent foreign policy. This trend became especially pronounced following World War Two, when France, while remaining part of NATO, withdrew from NATO's military command, expelled NATO troops from France and tried to build friendly ties with the USSR.
Charles de Gaulle was the driving force behind France's cold war polices. Exactly fifty years ago he visited Moscow, where he encountered a warm reception.
On June 21, 1966 the following report appeared in the New York Herald Tribue, European Edition:
MOSCOW — French President Charles de Gaulle called on the Soviet Union tonight [June 20] to join France in bringing about an East-West settlement in Europe without United States interference. Gen. de Gaulle spoke at a Kremlin dinner given in his honor by the Supreme Soviet and the Soviet government shortly after his arrival here for a historic mission aimed at forging new, closer relations with Moscow.
How effective France is at pursuing close relations with Russia without US interference was called into question by the Mistral affair, when François Hollande buckled under Washington pressure not to deliver 2 warships purchased by Russia.
And despite a resolution of the French Assembly calling for sanctions to be lifted, Hollande just caved into pressure for another renewal of anti-Russian sanctions, which do more harm to the EU than Russia.
Paris would do well to return to de Gaulle's policy of pursuing the French national interest.