Sedan -- General De Gaulle arrived in this French industrial town on April 22nd on the first step of a week-long tour through the north-east.
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Background: Sedan -- General De Gaulle arrived in this French industrial town on April 22nd on the first step of a week-long tour through the north-east.He later the same day visited Mezieres and Charleville.
The tour, which is the first the general has undertaken since the attempt on his life in the Paris suburb of Petit Clamart on August 22nd last year, will take him through the departments of Ardennes, Marne, Haute-Marne, and Aube.
The French president spoke to a crowd of about 10,000 which had gathered in the sunny square outside Sedan's town hall.He spoke mainly of France, and did not make any reference to the problem of Western nuclear defense.
As in his recent televised speech to the French nation, he spoke of the successful resolution of the Algerian problem, saying: "It was necessary to turn this page with honour and resolution and, I add, friendship.
Nevertheless, elaborate security precautions have been taken to cover the president's tour; large numbers of special police detachments will cover the official route to a depth of two miles on each side.Traffic on roads in the area has been controlled by police-manned barriers for the past few days, and all but four of the frontier posts on the Belgian border have been closed in order to keep a strict check on those entering the area.
Among those who greeted De Gaulle when he stepped from his private train at Sedan was General Jacques Massu, commander of the 6th French army region, who was recalled from Algiers four days before the 1960 "Barricades Revolt".Massu, who had always been critical of the president's proposals for Algerian independence, later said that although he disagreed with De Gaulle he would never be party to a mutiny.
During his tour, De Gaulle is due to meet Herr Willy Brandt, governing mayor of West Berlin, who will pay an official visit to France from April 24th to 27th.The meeting will probably take place at Saint-Dizier in the Haute-Marne.
Accompanying the president on the first two days of his tour was the French minister of Information, M.Alain Peyrefitte.who will be replaced by M.Pisani, the minister of Agriculture.