Advertisement

De Gaulle says he won't take power by force

PARIS, May 16, 1958 (UP) - Gen. Charles de Gaulle made it known today that he has no intention of returning to power by force. He indicated his position as Premier Pierre Pflimlin demanded sweeping powers from the National Assembly to meet the twin threats of a Gaullist revolution and a Communist uprising. He asked for declaration of a three-month state of emergency.

De Gaulle's position was revealed to the National Assembly by Gaullist Deputy Jean Lipkowski, who saw the general this morning.

Advertisement

"We shall know shortly that the general will place himself at France's service only within the absolute framework of republican legality," Lipkowski announced.

A company of gendarmes armed with submachine guns took up position outside the country home of de Gaulle. Paris officials said they had been sent to protect him.

The threat of uprising that could produce civil war was so great the government ordered its "ministerial squadron" of mobile guards - an armored unit totaling about 800 men equipped with tanks - into position in the Paris suburbs.

The insurrectionist movement that began in Algeria was growing. Gen. Raoul Salan, commander-in-chief in Algeria, announced today that he would use his full military and civil powers to maintain order and continue the fight against the Arab rebels.

Advertisement

His statement, issued as an order of the day to 400,000 French troops, made it clear he intended to stay in power in Algeria until de Gaulle could become the leader of France, as he said yesterday he was ready to do.

As Salan spoke, Algerian insurrectionists were forming their own revolutionary government for all of Algeria.

Pflimlin told an emergency parliamentary session that the situation was so grave both houses of the National Assembly must pass the emergency act - one step short of martial law - by nightfall.

During a brief assembly recess, the Assembly Interior Committee approved the bill 33 votes to 6, with Gaullists and right-wing Independents voting against it.

The Communist parliamentary group, which usually opposes every government measure, announced it would support the emergency bill.

The government was faced with the possibilities of an Algerian-hatched revolution to make de Gaulle the ruler of France and widescale Communist riots and strikes to prevent a "Gaullist dictatorship."

The government outlawed four right-wing political groups which have led many demonstrations in Paris against French Algerian policies, and moved in extra police and troops to back its position.

More than 16,000 additional police, security guards and mobile guards equipped with radio trucks and armored cars massed in the capital to reinforce the regular 20,000-man Paris police force.

Advertisement

Powerful forces threw a cordon around the National Assembly as it met.

Already there were some disturbances. Two bombs were discovered today in government ministries but they did not explode. A bomb exploded at the country home of the premier in Hendave, damaging the house but causing no injuries. Pflimlin was in Paris.

Though short of martial law, declaring an emergency is a drastic step and abridges many civil rights including a free press, public assembly, and freedom against unwarranted arrest and search.

There was no sign of demonstrations as the emergency parliament session began.

The assembly was jammed and that was standing room only in the public and diplomatic galleries. Pflimlin spoke as soon as the session opened.

He described the turbulent events in Algeria this week and said the situation had appeared under relative control until yesterday.

At that time Gen. Salan began replacing civilian officials with army officers without obtaining authorization from the Paris government.

Pflimlin warned that the Army's commanders must swing their support behind the government "before it is too late."

"Some military commanders want to launch the army on a road which may lead to a tragic rift in the nation," he said.

He recalled President Rene Coty's appeal to the army on May 14 to obey orders from Paris and said:

Advertisement

"I hope they will obey before it is too late. They must understand that we are ready to take all necessary measures to maintain republican liberties."

Pflimlin spoke in a clear, incisive voice. His speech was interrupted frequently by cheers from all except the Gaullists and the supporters of extreme rightwing maverick Pierre Poujade. Even the Communists joined in the applause.

The premier described the Algiers insurrection as a "plot."

"We have taken steps and we will take further steps to uproot this plot," he said. "Our government has been deliberately and systematically smeared in a campaign aiming at the creation of an insurrectional situation in Algeria and France.

"Legal proceedings already have been started against 48 persons arrested during the night of May 13-14. We will smash all the ramifications of this anti-republican plot."

Pflimlin announced that the cabinet met in emergency session last night and decided to disband the four "seditious" groups outlawed today. He said the leaders would be brought into court.

The premier said two-fisted Paris Police Prefect Maurice Capon was under stringent orders to smash any anti-republican demonstrations.

Latest Headlines