President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Soviet President Leonid Brezhev were relaxed and smiling at a State Banquet at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday (21 June).
President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Soviet President Leonid Brezhev were relaxed and smiling at a State Banquet at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday (21 June). These pleasantries followed talks at Rambouillet on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning that were described as direct and forthright. Each leader had firmly expressed his country's views on detente disarmament. Meanwhile, on Tuesday French riot police acted vigorously to break up an anti-Brezhnev demonstration by right-wingers in the Champs Elysee.
SYNOPSIS: The resplendent palace guard was turned out to honour the visitor, who now holds two senior posts in the Soviet Union: President and Secretary-General of the Communist Party. The state banquet, a traditional gesture for a visiting Head of State, was a respite from the rigours of formal talks and official ceremonies.
In this serene company beneath the glittering chandeliers, there was no sign of Mr. Brezhnev's expressed ??? about both France's increased contribution to the Atlantic Alliance and the colour of a cross-country vehicle President Giscard had given him. The vehicle is being repainted from green to blue.
Earlier in the day only a few hundred yards (metres) from this locale, the mood had been starkly different, when right-wing demonstrators ignore an official ban and protested on the Champs Elysee against the Brezhev visit. Three days earlier, police and fight-winger had clashed outside the Soviet Aeroflot officers near here.
In yesterday's clashes, police charged with batons and made several arrests. One of the victims was Visnews cameraman Frederic Vassort, who had a baton cracked against his skull, and also had his camera badly damaged, though his film was intact. Demonstrators set fire to a number of Soviet flags that had been put up along the avenue. During the visit, observers have commented on the massive size of security operations and the fact that Mr. Brezhnev had kept public appearances to a minimum.