Menu JTA Search

France’s New Foreign Minister Described As Staunchly Pro-arab

France’s new Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, was described as a staunch and loyal pro-Arab by the French daily Le Monde which recalled that in past years he had intervened on behalf of Palestinian terrorists.

Dumas, 64, was named Foreign Minister by President Francois Mitterrand, replacing Claude Cheysson who is leaving the government. He is an attorney and former newspaper journalist and is considered a close personal friend of Mitterrand.

His appointment coincided with the visit here last week of Israeli Premier Shimon Peres which was hailed by both French and Israeli officials as a renewal of warm and friendly relations between the two countries for the first time in the 20 years since the presidency of Charles de Gaulle.

Dumas, as Foreign Minister-designate, attended almost all of the official functions held in honor of the visiting Israeli leader. He was present at the State banquet for Peres at the Quai D’Orsay — the Foreign Ministry — at Mitterrand’s luncheon with Peres at the Elysee Palace and at the diplomatic reception hosted by Peres at the Israeli Embassy here.

Peres, responding to reporters’ questions at the time, expressed hope that Dumas “will carry out the President’s policy.” Sources here observed yesterday that with a close friend in charge of the Foreign Minis- try, Mitterrand will act as his own foreign minister, meaning that he will establish French foreign policy and see that it is executed.

Mitterrand’s sincere friendship toward Israel, expressed during Peres’ three-day visit and on many other occasions, is not in question. But Dumas’ past record, according to Le Monde which supports Mitterrand’s Socialist Administration, is a different matter.

RELATIONSHIP WITH TERRORISTS

In 1974, an editorial appeared in a newspaper founded and edited by Dumas defending the hijacking of commercial airliners as “the only means the Palestinians have to break through world indifference” to their cause.

Dumas served as attorney for the terrorist, Abut Daoud, after French police arrested him at Israel’s request. Israel was seeking his extradition for allegedly masterminding the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes.

Dumas went to Israel at the request of pro-Palestinian groups to defend Msgr. Hilarian Capucci, the Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem who was on trial for smuggling weapons to Palestinian terrorists. He also had close professional ties with Libya and served on several occasions as counsel for the Libyan government, Le Monde said.

TWO JEWS IN CABINET RESHUFFLE

Two prominent French Jews figured in Mitterrand’s Cabinet reshuffle. Jack Lang, the Minister of Cultural Affairs, was given full ministerial rank and a seat in the “inner cabinet.”

Another Jew, Gilbert Trigano, was named a “government delegate” in charge of new training methods to help fight unemployment. Trigano, 63, is president and co-founder of Club Mediterannee, an international travel organization with hotels and resort complexes in 40 countries.

NEXT STORY