President Richard Nixon arrived in Paris on Friday (28 February and was personally greeted by President DeGaulle at Orly Airport.
President Richard Nixon arrived in Paris on Friday (28 February and was personally greeted by President DeGaulle at Orly Airport. The airport was ringed by thousand of riot police after gangs of youths attacked American establishments in Paris and the French Communist Party called for all-out demonstrations against Nixon "from the moment he arrives." But Mr. Nixon's airport welcome was cordial and peaceful.
President Nixon greeted the French President as a "great companion in the search for peace." Mr. Nixon's efforts in Paris to restore Franco-American relations to an even keel are regarded as the diplomatic highlight of his five-nation European tour. Mr. Nixon hailed France as a "brave ally" and recalled Benjamin Franklin's opinion that "every man has two homes, France and his own."
President DeGaulle, in his brief welcoming speech, spoke of the "greatest importance attached to the exchange of views" between his country and the United States.
Later, President Nixon pushed through his heavy security escort and plunged into a crowd to shake hands with Parisians who gathered to watch him lay a wreath at the Tomb of France's Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe.