PARIS (Sep. 14)
The Jews of France have been put in a delicate position by a former French ministerial aide who has threatened to publicize “highly compromising” official documents unless France stops delivery of Mirage jet fighter planes to Libya, observers here reported today.
Gabriel Aranda, a non-Jew who served as a technical advisor and press officer to a former Gaullist minister for Housing and Development, listed yesterday in a letter to the French daily, “Le Monde” what he said were examples of government corruption and threatened to make more such disclosures if the government continues to deliver Mirages to Libya.
The observers noted that the French information media seem to be insinuating that the country’s Jews have a double allegiance which could be “detrimental” to French national interests. They cited a comment on the state-owned radio ORTF today that the “Aranda affair shows the dangers run by French citizens when they are too closely linked to foreign powers.” Aranda, who is believed to be in Paris, apparently went into hiding after French Justice Minister Rene Pleven issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of stealing and improper use of government documents.
Aranda’s campaign has been a major shock to all Israel and Jewish organizations in France, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was told. Virtually none of these organizations had ever heard of Aranda before he exploded his political bomb shell. Even the traditionally pro-Israel and pro-Jewish “Le Figaro” wrote: “How can Mr. Aranda hope to serve Israel’s cause and improve Franco-Israel relations by using blackmail? It is obvious that no government can give in to blackmail and change its foreign policy under the pressure of a single man or group.”
The documents published in Le Monde refer to what Aranda described as “gross governmental corruption” in the granting of building contracts and supply contracts to Gaullist elements. It was recalled that President Georges Pompidou dismissed Premier Jacques Chaban-Delmas after the opposition leveled charges of corruption against the government.