PARIS (Aug. 12)
The decision by Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann to send a “high-ranking” delegation to the anniversary celebration of the Libyan colonels’ revolution is considered by well-informed political circles here as a further step in the bolstering of French influence throughout the more radical countries of the Arab world. On Sept. 1, the Tripoli government marks the second anniversary of the revolution headed by Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi. No less important, that date will also see the popular referendum on the creation of an Arab federation comprised of Libya, Egypt and the Sudan. Under these circumstances, a “high-ranking” French presence at the anniversary ceremonies can only be interpreted as recognition of the federation, and will undoubtedly be seen that way by the Arabs, primarily by Qaddafi himself.
This will give the Libyans badly needed Western moral support. After the hijacking in Libyan territory of the aircraft carrying the leaders of the plot against the Sudanese government, and after the summary executions of them and other plot leaders, Qaddafi’s international prestige was at a low ebb, even though his victims were Communists. Then came the news that France, through the good services of the Dassault Company and with American capital, was going to build aircraft works in Greece that would be able to supply Mirage fighter planes and to exchange parts even if France were forced to extend her boycott of the Middle East foes to Libya. The stress now being put on sending the highest-ranking delegation possible to the Libyan fete adds importance to the other French efforts there.