PARIS (Jan. 14)
President de Gaulle’s embargo has revived the enmity of high-ranking Army officers still bitter over withdrawal from Algeria in 1962 and pull-out from the military structure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the newspaper France-Soir reported today. The report was the latest to indicate widespread unrest in the French Army brought about by Gen. de Gaulle’s unilateral action against Israel. Gen. de Gaulle conferred with Defense Minister Pierre Messmer today and reportedly discussed the turbulence generated by the embargo and M. Messmer’s forthcoming visit to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Several newspapers said the trip was intended to boost French arms sales to Arab countries, an allegation denied by French officials.
The French military has been at odds with Gen. de Gaulle ever since he gave Algeria independence after seven years of bloody warfare. It has remained aloof to his efforts to improve France’s relations with the Arab world and has been generally pro-Israel. Observers noted that relations between Israel and the French high command became very close in 1956 when Israel launched the Sinai campaign and France joined Britain in an abortive attempt to seize the Suez Canal which President Gamal Abdel Nasser had just nationalized.