Algiers in its tens of thousands turned out today to give General de Gaulle a huge ovation.
Algiers in its tens of thousands turned out today to give General de Gaulle a huge ovation. Standing up in an open car with his arms above his head, the General was greeted in front of the war memorial with cries of "Algeria is French," "Soustelle," as well as "Vive de Gaulle." Even as he laid a wreath on the memorial the crowd was chanting the name of their hero, M. Soustelle.
As the General left the gardens the crowd, who with difficulty were held back by two rows of paratroopers, surged forward. They clapped and applauded, but the cries of "Vive de Gaulle" were drowned with the shouts of "Soustelle." The general seemed moved by their shouts and the presence of the huge crowd which had come to honour him. But he gave no indication at all about how he felt or his reaction to their demand for M. Soustelle.
From early today, which was a public holiday, crowds gathered along the roads the General was to take. There were Moslems as well as Europeans, though Moslems were in the minority. Overhanging balconies were draped with the Tricolour. It was strange to see Moslem turbaned dockers from the Casbah wanding their way into the European city, side by side with their traditional enemies, the poor white workers from the outlying suburb of Babel Oued. Shortly before noon gangs of European youths appeared shouting "Soustelle."
Along the streets flags were flying from the tallest buildings down to the humblest Arab huts. unprecedented security arrangements were in force at the airport. Hundreds of gendarmes and paratroopers patrolled the perimeter. Fighters in Cross of Lorraine formation continually crossed and recrossed the airport and two helicopters flew low overhead. A guard of honour of more than 600 drawn up on the tarmac waited an hour in the hot sun for the General's arrival. When the General's jet Caravelle aircraft, with an escort of eight Mystere fighters appeared, the crowd, numbering about 5,000, mostly Europeans, who were on the airport balconies, cried, "The General is here." The fighters broke off and the Caravelle circled to land.
General Ely, former Chief of Staff, was first out of the aircraft. (He resigned his post and was reinstated) General de Gaulle followed him and stepped down to face a battery of pressmen and photographers. He looked worn and tired. He was wearing tropical uniform without medals. He shook hands cordially with those who welcomed him, but there was no embracing, the usual French custom. He shook hands with m. Soustelle, General Salan, M. Sid Cara, joint president of the Public Safety Committee, General Massu, and his old friend Admiral Auboyneau commanding the NATO Naval Forces, Western Mediterranean. As the French standard was raised General de Gaulle saluted and stood at attention while the Marseillaise was played. Then with bands playing he inspected guards of honour of green-bereted commandos, Marine Corps, a parachute detachment, Moslem infantrymen and an Air Force guard. He did not speak to General Massu, who was in green paratroop uniform and who follows him as he walked across to where the 70 members of All Algerian and Sahara Committee of Public Safety stood in a line. He shook hands with Colonel Tomazo, now in charge of Corsica, and M. Delbecque, vice-president of the committee.