Secret Meetings of Dress Industry Leaders Weigh Boycott Reply to De Gaulle Attack

A secret meeting here tonight, attended by officials of leading New York ready-to-wear manufacturers, considered a boycott of French fashions and French fabrics because of French President Charles de Gaulle’s criticism of Israel and the Jewish people and his anti-American statements.

The meeting tonight apparently was the outcome of a meeting Monday at the office of one of the manufacturers, Jerry Silverman. However, all efforts to obtain information on the meeting tonight met with flat refusals from manufacturers in the Seventh Avenue garment district to give any information. Officials reached in some of the firms at first refused even to admit a meeting had been scheduled. This was confirmed by one official but he refused to say what time the meeting was scheduled for, who would attend or the location.

It was learned, however, that some of the most famous names in the garment industry planned to attend. including officials of Kimberly Knitwear. Originala, and Suzy Perette Dresses. One official was quoted in Women’s Wear Daily as saying concerning Gen. de Gaulle and France: “As long as he is alive, I won’t go to Paris and we won’t spend any money there.” The publication also reported that Royal Woolens, which distributes imported fabrics from several European countries, had dropped its representation of French lines.

However, an important distributor of French fashion fabrics in this country was quoted as saying that France buys a lot of American products and that a boycott might cut both ways.

One official said that the press had not been invited to the meeting tonight, and that he was not certain any statement would be issued after the meeting. He added: “Call me tomorrow. I might have something.”

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