An enthusiastic crowd of 3,000 greeted President Bourguiba as he returned by air to Tunis, Mar. 13, after a three-week visit to Zurich for throat treatment.
An enthusiastic crowd of 3,000 greeted President Bourguiba as he returned by air to Tunis, Mar. 13, after a three-week visit to Zurich for throat treatment. During his stay in Switzerland, the Tunisian President had exchanges with General de Gaulle, through Information Minister Masmoudi, on the Algerian cease-fire issue, before meeting de Gaulle in Paris for personal talks on the subject.
Ferhat Abbas, leader of the Algerian Provisional Government in Tunis, headed a special Algerian reception committee and stepped forward to embrace President Bourguiba on his arrival. This warm welcome was regarded as a demonstration that recent rumours of a rift between the Algerian and Tunisian leaders are unfounded. President Bourguiba said he hoped his peacemaking of oats "would be crowned with success."
It is thought likely that Louis Joxe, French Minister for Algerian Affairs, will shortly lead a French delegation to the France-Swiss border to negotiate with members of the Algerian Provisional Government, headed by Krim Belkacem, their "Foreign Minister," who has recently been in Damascus to consult President Nasser. Such an arrangement would enable the Algerians to reside across the Swiss border and so avoid the alleged slights that hampered the Melun negotiations last summer. There is also some expectation that the captured rebel leader Ben Bella might take part in these exchanges, after having been transferred from prison on the Ile d'Aix, off the Atlantic coast, to less rigorous detention.
Meanwhile, a review of the situation is said to have been resumed by the Algerian rebels in Tunis, while the French Cabinet is expected to consider the matter again at a meeting on Mar. 15