A sense of shock and stunned grief rather then tears or emotional outbursts swept through Paris as the people learned of the death of General de Gaulle.
A sense of shock and stunned grief rather then tears or emotional outbursts swept through Paris as the people learned of the death of General de Gaulle. Although he died peacefully in his home at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises yesterday (Monday) evening, the news was not announced until this morning (Tuesday) and many people did not hear about it until they went to work. As Prime Minister Chaban-Delmas and other members of the Cabinet arrived for a meeting, Elysee Press Secretary Baudoin read out the simple last wished of the late President and war-time hero.
The short, hand-written -- almost terse -- letter written in the General's precise and classical French, asked that all ceremonies should be sample and confined to the family, that no speeches or orations were to be made in Parliament or elsewhere. And, as Secretary Baudoin read out:
An emergency Cabinet meeting was placed at the Elysee and an early arrival was Defence Minister Michel Debre; followed shortly by Transport Minister Raymond Mondon: and Prime Minister Chaban-Delmas.
And at the Ave. de Breteuil, where General de Gaulle had a city office, the people of Paris flocked to sign the remembrance book for the man who led them through the end of World War II to become the Head of the Post-War Provisional Government until his resignation in 1946. And who, after 12 years of retirement, came back as President of the Fifth Republic in 1958 -- remaining in control for II years, through such crises as Algeria, personal assassination attempts, withdrawal from NATO, student and union unrest and rioting, economic problems and a refusal to devalue the France, the Middle East. He was finally defeated last year when he resigned after the country's electros voted in a referendum to turn down his government reform proposals. The same people who may have voted against him politically last year, today remember him as the national hero of the War and Post-War.