PARIS (Jan. 24)
A French journalist, Le Monde’s Eric Rouleau, was prevented from accompanying French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert to Saudi Arabia because of his “Jewish origin.” Rouleau, who on his Saudi Arabian visa application had given “Jewish” as his religion, was refused an entry visa in spite of his reputed pro-Arab stand and the intervention of the Quai d’Orsay.
Le Monde foreign editor, Michel Tatu, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the French Foreign Ministry had approved Rouleau’s application to join the press party traveling on Jobert’s plane and had forwarded his name to the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Paris. Tatu said that the Saudians refused the visa after Rouleau described himself as Jewish.
The JTA learned that four other Jewish journalists accompanying Jobert were granted visas when they either claimed to be Christian or said in their applications to be “non-practising.” The four other known Jews are: Edwin Forte of the Agence France Press; Edouard Sablier of the French Broadcasting Corporation; Mrs. Hubert Rodier of the Gaullist paper “La Nation”; and Roger Pinto of the French Radio. Two of these newsmen are reported to have presented the Saudi Embassy here with forged baptism certificates.
Two French publications, Le Nouvel Observateur, usually critical of Israeli policy, and the Paris Central News Agency (ACP), announced that they are no longer covering Jobert’s visit out of solidarity with Rouleau. Tatu said that other papers, including some known for their traditional pro-Israeli stands, such as “Le Figaro” and “France Soir,” have refused to take similar action.
In a written protest, Le Monde indicated that though the French Foreign Ministry approached the Saudis and asked them to change their decision, Jobert did not personally intervene. A Socialist member of Parliament, Georges Freche, has lodged a parliamentary question with Jobert asking him to investigate the matter and submit to Parliament a full report.