WASHINGTON (Jan. 14)
French diplomatic sources here today discounted a report from Beirut asserting that President de Gaulle promised to send French troops and planes to protect Lebanon if Israel attacked again. Informed circles said that even if the report were true, leftist Arab elements in Lebanon would never permit a return of French “imperialism” and “colonialism,” despite an avowed anti-Israel aim. Lebanon was once under French mandate.
French quarters said also that Gen, de Gaulle would face intense domestic opposition at home if he dispatched forces to oppose Israel. The Beirut newspaper Al Anwar claimed that assurances of support “without limitation” were conveyed by Georges Gorse, former French Information Minister, to President Charles Helou of Lebanon. The reports followed a meeting of the two. Al Anwar attributed its information to informed political quarters.
Gen, de Gaulle’s anti-Israel policies were denounced today in a massive demonstration within sight of the White House. Leaders of 50 Jewish organizations took part and laid a wreath on a statue memorializing the Marquis de Lafayette, the French general who aided George Washington, in order to contrast Gen. de Gaulle’s actions against Israel with France’s traditional support of causes of justice and liberty. Louis C. Grossberg, president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, declared in an address that Gen. de Gaulle had betrayed the Lafayette tradition.
(In Buenos Aires, a survey of travel agencies by JTA disclosed a number of cancellations of Air France reservations in recent days. Travellers switched to other airlines in reaction to the French embargo.)