The Illusive Mitterand and French Foreign Policy

Report Europe

The Illusive Mitterand and French Foreign Policy

August 3, 1981 38 min read Download Report
Greerson G.
Senior Fellow and Director of Government Finance Programs
(Archived document, may contain errors)

148 August 3, 1981 l%E ILLUSIVE MTTERRAND AND FRENCH FOREIGN POLICY INTRODUCTION The French elections which occurred during May and June brought new government leaders to France who are largely unknown in America. Most of the discussion in the United States concern- ing the potential impact of Socialist leader Francoise Mitterrand on French foreign policy has emphasized continuity. In particu- lar, extensive analysis has dwelt on the moderation of Mitterrand and his policies dealing with Soviet relations and the problem of the Middle East issues on which the new French President's views appear to coincide most closely with those of President Reagan.

However, as the followinq report indicates, a more balanced account of the positions of Mitterrand and the Socialists, especial- ly as expressed in the recent election campaigns, reveals potential- ly profound p roblems emerging both with the Atlantic Alliance and more particularly between France and the United States. There are significant differences in their ideas concerning the Third world, revolutionary movements, NATO, and defense programs.

This study provi des a comprehensive overview of the prospec- tive French foreign and defense policies through a careful exami- nation of the views of Mitterrand and the Socialist Party. Only by thoroughly scrutinizing the mandate the Socialists were elected on-'can Ameri c an and Western policy-makers come to grips with the role of a Socialist France in world affairs in the next seven years This report, compiled mainly from interviews, policy state- ments and reputable press sources, examines the possible stands and- action s that the leftist government in France, the first in twenty-three years, might adopt. 2 BACKGROUND The results of the elections in France during May and June opened a new era for that country. The changes that will occur in the coming months could profoun dly affect the United States.

The decisions of the government will be arrived at through the interaction of the many different personalities the new President has appointed and by the influence exerted by the Socialist International on its most influential member the President himself. The inclusion of four Communists in the Cabinet and the appointment of ex-revolutionary Regis Debray to the Elysee staff has caused much consternation in the West. This consternation has led to misunderstandings and misinter pretations of potential French policies obtained by a brief description of each of the major figures likely to dominate policy formulation in foreign and defense- related areas.

PIERRE MAUROY, 52, is the Prime Minister and a member of the Parti Socialiste (PS). He is a moderate from the industrial city of Lille and has.served as editor of many PS periodicals. He owes his present job to'his acceptability to all factions and the fa c t that he is too astute to pose a threat to his President. Premier,Mauroy is non-controversial, but he is an ardent supporter of Israel. Decidedly anti-Communist and representing the social democratic traditions of French socialism, the Prime Minister is a lso committed to the decentralization of the government as an essential part of democracy. that Europe should assume an independent role, free of superpower domination. His foreign policy ideas are governed by the concepts of human rights and a peoples' r i ght to self-determination. Particularly important to Mauroy are France's relations with the Third World A useful introduction to the French political scene can be He shares Mitterrand's conviction CLAUDE CHEYSSON, 61, Minister of External Relations, is a P S member as well as a career diplomat. with the Third World as a member of the E.C. Commission in charge of relations with the Third World (1973-1981), advisor to the President of the former Vietnamese government (1952), Secretary General'of the Commissio n on Technical Cooperation in Africa (1962-1965 and finally as Ambassador to Indonesia (1966-1969 These contacts have led to his conviction that it is the North's duty to help the South in every way possible. In 1954 he served under a center-right coalitio n government and is considered to be a moderate. As an adamant supporter of the Arab world, he takes a critical approach to the Israelis. The Minister of External Relations is very nationalistic and shares many Gaullist views He has had extensive contacts C heysson has two important deputy ministers involved in poli'cy formation, MICHAEL JOBERT and JEAN PIERRE COT. Both ministers are moderate and reflect the views of their immediate 3 boss. Foreign Affairs Minister and was responsible for the forging of the c lose links with the Arabs of the early 1970s: Mr. Jobert is' also a member of the Movement Democratique (Movement of Democrats while Mr. Cot is a member of the PS The former served under President Georges Pompidou as CHARLES HENRU, 57, Minister of Defense , is a member of the PS. He was a.member of the National Assembly's defense committee and is considered an expert in all matters relating to national security. He is a moderate who knows the defense establishment well and has close ties with it M. Henru is a long-time suppor- ter of the new president and will faithfully carry our his leader's wishes All the above-mentioned Cabinet members are deputies to the Assemblee Nationale and most of them are mayors, a traditional French power base.

REGIS DEBRAY 41, charge de mission (a post at the Elysee which though lower than he expected still leaves him in charge of Third World affairs) is a PS member.

U.S. would be presidential advisor on foreign affairs, similar to the position Mr. Richard Allen holds. qualifica tions. friend. served a life sentence for his handiwork in the Bolivian revolu- tion. Marxist President Salvador Allende. He remains a passionate supporter of left wing movements in the Third World. least partially responsible for French plans .to suspend arms shipments to Argentina and Chile. French policy remains uncertain. However, Mitterrand would hardly have run the political risks of appointing him before the June elections unless he was going to listen to him very close bonds with Mitterrand. He is a moderate and though he is generally sympathetic to the U.S.S.R has made. numerous visits to the Kremlin he has received much criticism from grass root elements in his party. Despite the fact that one-fourth of the active party membership belongs to a lef t -wing organization, Socialist Center for Study and Research in Education (CERES their views are unlikely to influence Mitterrand as Jospin acts not only as a buffer between them, but also as a moderator. Although Mitterrand has pledged to heed his party's wishes, he is unlikely to have much difficulty with them as they have gained power on his coattails, not he on theirs The equivalent post in the Mr. Debray has unique He has been Fidel Castro's theorist and close He was once Che Guevara's comrade-in-arms a nd nearly Debray also served briefly as press officer to Chile's He was at The extent Debray will influence LIONEL JOSPIN, Secretary General of the PS, has developed THE ROLE OF THE "SOCIALISTE INTERNATIONALE Apart from the Cabinet members, there are othe r factors that could influence Mitterrand and his administration. The Socialist International is an international organization of prominent 4 socialists and their parties; it is particularly famous for two of its founding members, Willy Brandt and Francois Mitterrand. Mitterrand has always been an enthusiastic member and there is a question over the degree that he will allow the organization to affect his policies. The Socialist International takes a softer line towards Moscow and a harder line towards NATO than does the President. concerning the issue of redistribution of wealth to the South It is probable that in these areas in which they share the same opinions, they will complement each other's decisions. However, if the French Cabinet has already arrive d at a firm decision, it is unlikely that the Socialist International would be able to change it. able to exert itself.

Other factors that might influence the Cabinet and the implementation of policy are the French bureaucracy, French conservative traditio ns, and political reality. While they may temper the carrying out of pre-election promises, they will not be able to prevent a determined Mitterrand. That Mitterrand is ultimately responsible for the governmental actions is entirely due to the powers that were accorded to the presidency by de Gaulle when he drew up the Fifth Republic's constitution in 19

58. What few powers the President does not have are given to him by his Party's enormous parliamentary majority foreseeable future. This is because they n ot only gained power on his bandwagon, but they also owe him a great debt of gratitude for saving the Parti Socialiste from utter ruin in 1972 The organization shares Mitterrand's convictions Only when the Cabinet is evenly split might the SI be The Socia list Pary will be obedient to Mitterrand for the THE ROLE OF THE COMMUNISTS IN THE CABINET As a result of the legislative elections, Mitterrand's Parti V~A.UIIU b~ AAUD YUAAASSU u D\\ LYU ~UAA~AULI AIXU juir bj A.AA AG niam-s;.twaGG is composed of forty-four members, and only four, less than 10 percent, are Communists; this gives them only a small fraction of the vote. That notwithstanding, only one of them is a Minister of State and then not even in charge of a vital department. Thus, they will not be includ ed in those crucial meetings deciding foreign and defense policy issues, which are the main areas of disagreement between the PS and the PCF (Parti Communiste de France French Communist Party).

Mitterrand had some good reasons for the appointments. He humi liated the PCF by making the appointments conditional on the Party's acceptance of the PS line on certain controversial issues. For instance, the PCF had to condemn the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Soviet machinations concerning Poland, and the dep l oyment of the SS-20, all of which the PCF made a point of Cabinet. The reasons'for the appointments will be discussed; I however, one should put them into perspective first. The Cabinet I I 5 supporting during their campaign. Mitterrand also confirmed his reputation as the unifier/father of the Left. He appeared chari- table, generous and sensible in victory, offering the Communists some power when he had no obligation to do so. In doing this, the French President probably guaranteed himself, at the next e lections, the same. Communist votes that ensured his election in May.

The Communists are also restrained from attacking the govern- ment as they now are part of it. When policies fail, which some are bound to, there is no longer a rallying point for the op posi- tion. Another very important reason is that when he tries to deal with the volatile labor unions, the biggest of which, the Confederation Generale des Travailleurs (General Confederation of Workers is controlled by Communists, the President will hav e a stronger hand. This is due to the fact that he would be speaking from a unified left, which would include the party of the union's mentor, G. Marchais. If perchance Mitterrand's policies fail, he can use the Communists as scapegoats, claiming that desp i te his best efforts, they are impossible to govern with and in so saying remove them from the government. Mitterrand will need the support of the unions if his policies are qoing to work. The transport area is one of the most labor sensitive hence the Com m unist in that position All the factors previously mentioned might influence decision- making in any way. decide which influence will carry the day. is not bound by proposals he suggested while head of the opposition, he will probably continue to think in t he same way. an examination of statements made when he was under little pressure might offer us an insight into the feelings that will help to decide the future of France. For this reason, this study concen- trates on some of the less publicized statement s that Mitterrand voiced prior to the elections. by Mitterrand himself or by Cheysson. the victory caught them by surprise and that they have moderated their militancy on most issues until they can re-think their Mitterrand apparently will act as judge and Therefore, i Although a president Almost all have since been tempered This would indicate that positions in view of political reality. I DEFENSE During the past seven years, Mitterrand has consistently voted against every proposed defense budget. One shou l d be cautious, however, not to misinterpret such a negative stance. Mitterand's votes were primarily disagreements with Giscard's priorities rather than with defense spending per se that there will be a significant reduction in overall defense spending. S u ch reductions will be prompted more by budgetary constraints than by deliberate policy decisions. Consider, for example the following pertinent facts During the next several years, there is a strong probability the civil Service is 6 expected to grow from 160,000 to 250,000; the minimum wage has already been increased by 2Elpercent; and the welfare program has been extended Further complicating the budgetary question is the fact that France's .oil costs will increase between approxi mately 30 and 40 percen t . Such an increase will be caused by the rise in the value of the American dollar, resulting from high interest rates, and the plummeting of the value of the franc. Consequently the buying of dollars necessary to pay the Arabs will be cripplingly expensiv e Quite simply, the defense establishment will no longer be the first priority in the budget. However, Mitterrand strongly favors and is politically committed to modernizing the strategic nuclear force. Such modernization may well be at the expense of the o ther armed services. For exanple, there is no question that Mitterrand will support the new re-equipment plan for the strate gic nuclear force This plan involves the launching of two more SSBNs and the I re-equipping of "le Terrible If "le Redoutablell an d 'lie Foundrayant" I with the new M-4 Mitterrand will also have to replace the eiqhteen S-2 ICBMs on the plateau d'Albion with the S-3s. The thirty-two Mirage IVA will also reach retirement age in 1985 and will need to be re placed equivalent of SAC) are p ushing for the privately-sponsored Dassault Mirage 4000, which will cost a great deal if put into a limited production run. abandon the Plateau in favor of a truck-based strategic cruise missile system, which would rely on its mobility to protect if from a first strike by the military is an alpine redoubt. Cost and proximity to a potentially hostile border will make this plan impossible the conventional budget. Therefore, savings will have to be made on the tactical nuclear force; this entails the shelving of the production plans for the neutron bomb. The Hades System, the successor to Pluton, will be similarly affected. Only the ASMP air-ground-medium-range missile) will be pursued and this due solely to the fact that the program is far advanced and that i t would cost more to stop than to produce. Money will be saved when Mitterrand reduces the size of the 7,000-man French foreign intervention force. effects for the tactical nuclear forces in France, the savings will not be great As expensive as this will u n doubtedly be The High Command of the Forces Arienne Strategique In the longer term, the French want to A rather strange alternative being proposed I I Money used on the strategic nuclear wing will squeeze out i Though the cuts will have far-reaching The s a vings will not be sufficient to offset strategic spending and the general reduction of the overall defense budge tary allocation. Cuts in the conventional forces are almost certain, unless Mitterrand wants a very large budget deficit. Mitterrand does have some very definite views toward a new army with F. Mitterrand concerning the reformation of the Armed Services, most of which will be carried out in modified form by 7 his defense minister. involve the manning of.the army. tion and increased rights and li b erties of the average enlistee giving him more choice to decide which areas he works in, will be very traumatic to the Spartan tradition of the French services. Broadening the conscientious objector status, the nominating of a mediator for military disput e s to replace court martials and a shortening of the enlistment period to six months with greater emphasis on sports and on increased training for the reserves are being considered by Charles Henru, in the hope that he can humanize the military. These meas u res would not preclude significant manpower reductions, which will be likely if there is an adherence to the PS line The most wide-reaching reform will probably The democratization of conscrip Diversifications of the soldierls duties will probably be intr o duced, including civil policing and civil construction projects as well as aid to the Third World. Mr. Henru, in an interview with J. Dumoulin of 1'Ex ress, revealed many of these ideas and mentioned the possibi T ity o a professional (volunteer) army. He nru's assistants, civil servants who for a long time have proposed active service reductions, have promised an in-depth study of the "cost effectivenessll of the services.

These proposed changes will have a tremendous effect on combat effectiveness of the French, as discipline would crumble. The effect would be similar to that recently experienced by the Dutch and the U.S. European forces.

The French army cannot withstand any major shake-up in its organization just when it is recovering from the forced res truc- turing carried out by former Chief of Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Lagarde. Suggestions have been made that if the army is unionized, as has been proposed, there will be quiet, but mass resignations, with an obvious effect on French morale and lea d er- ship talent. The High Command does have one ace. are carried out, then the two top ranking officers, General Lacaze (Chief of Joint Chiefs) and General Delaunay (Army Chief of Staff) will resign If such reforms These "radical" changes in fact will pro b ably be either greatly watered down or abandoned as Mitterrand seeks to reassure a badly startled military by making conservative gestures. example, there are definite signs that the delays and c.ost over- runs on the weapons programs will be attacked wit h new vigor. This, for a long time, has been a source of irritation for the army. Henru has made it known that he personally will not tolerate any more delays like those that traditionally occur with the SSBNs. The real reason why the new administration is going to be strict in this area is that it vitally needs to save money for use in the civil budget. only because it has kept on schedule and is very near completion Decisions on most major conventional weapons programs, it appears, have yet to be made, bu t the numbers of any system procured will be limited by the funds available. One program For The ASMP missile has survived the axe 8 though not even on the drawing board, is the Franco-German tank for the 1990s. February 1980, was suppressed by nationally- minded industrialists and soldiers, and was thought to be dead in May 19

81. In their recent talks, Chancellor Schmidt and President Mitterrand decided to reaffirm their support of this program, apparently on the Frenchman's urging This program, after havi ng been agreed upon in The extent and cadence of the changes likely will not only be affected by Mitterrand and Henru, but also by political and military reality. years and this will limit the dismay of many and undermine any military resistance In any ev e nt, the reforms will be spread over TNF, CRUISE MISSILE AND THE ROLE OF NATO During the talks with Chancellor Schmidt, Mitterrand came out decisively in favor of the Euromissiles Ira complete and very clear agreement was reached." The French leader did, h o wever, make it very clear that serious arms negotiations, with a view to reducing them as well as limiting them, must be carried out between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. If the U.S. is not seen to be making determined attempts in this regard, then French sup p ort for the deployment of the Pershing 11s and cruise missiles could not be maintained. The French did acknowledge that deployment of the weapons while negotiations went on was necessary, as the yest must bargain from strength. The talks must try, said Mi tterrand, to bring the Itforces down to the lowest 1evel.l' By adopting this stance, Mitterrand not only adopts one virtually identical to the one taken by Schmidt, but also one that concurs with the pronounce- ment of the NATO council in Rome.

Mitterrand is the first French leader to publicly commit himself on the issue, even though it was with the "greatest of reluctance." It is because the French President sees the danger of the SS-20s to France that he supports the U.S. in her battle with her reluctant European allies. U.S. about the possible effects the deployment of missiles might have on the Soviets: the SS-20 cannot hit Washington, D.C though the Pershings can hit Moscow. to the Euromissiles. as long as he sees a need for them and that, in his eyes, they contribute more to peace than war tactical nuclear force will not be modernized under Mitterrand as the PS does not believe in "flexible response or limited nuclear war. The PS only believes that tactical weapons would be used as a last resort and th u s would be no different from their strategic cousin. Consequently, Hades and the neutron bomb will not be produced as had been indicated by Giscard Mitterrand cautioned the This gives a strategic role The President will support the deployment According to the defense minister's statements, the French This being the case, the PS sees them as redundant 9 While Mitterrand must support NATO, politically and realisti- cally, he has some definite reservations. Mitterrand wants the obligations of member states mo d ified and the role of the Alliance redefined. Although he fears the Soviet Union's military might, he is just as fearful of the U.S.'s economic power. wants to prevent the continued U.S. political dominance of NATO as it entails U.S. economic dominance in Europe.

He thus In relation to the U.S and within that alliance, we still have a certain number of questions to ask, particularly concerning the real nature of the Atlantic Alliance At the same time, we are in competition with the U.S which is a powerful country whose econo- mic power is considerable and which naturally tends to establish that power militarily and at the same time by penetrating our markets 22 April 1981 unpaign for the Election of the President of the Republic Broadcasting Information Se rvice, April 23, 1981, here- after referred to as FBIS).

This ingrained suspicion and defensiveness Mitterrand has of Foreign the U.S. makes him want the U.S. role in the Alliance curbed. This means that the U.S. should be an equal partner with no particul ar leadership role and that she should have no advantage in the selling of her arms to the integrated military members. The French were particularly vexed concerning the victory of the General Dynamics F16 over the Mirage F1 in the battle to become the ne w front line fighter of the 1980s. The French thought the U.S. used its political influence to carry off the big deal. Thus, France wants to keep herself and NATO independent of the two blocs, while guarding against the U.S.9 ability to cajole the European s and thus gain a competitive edge economically. Mitterrand favors a scaled down version of NATO as soon as negoti- ations have been able to permit this safely opposes the broadening of NATO's charter to include the Gulf as this would make war, ltimperiali s m,ll more likely as well as increas ing U.S. influence. The following quotation taken from one of Mitterrand's statements before the election provides an insight into the President's thought (the translation is not an official one 1 say that the U.S. wage s an unrelenting economic war against us EMS the strategies (bad) of the multinational corpora- tions and the manipulation of the dollar The imperial- ism of this country necessitates a lot of vigilance and justifies our precautions He consequently The des t ruction of the monetary system It is interesting that while he condemns excessive U.S. involvement in NATO, he complains "that the alliance is based on Quoted in R. Aron Mitterrand: deux imperialismes l'Express, June 8 1981. 10 a fiction U.S. intervention s in Europe in the event of Soviet aggression Mitterrand also claimed that Fra'nce is as "political- ly attached to the alliance as Romania or Poland are to the Warsaw pact." Since he is now President, many analysts expect that political necessity will tem p er his ideas; it has already tempered his remarks. He has since indicated more support and trust in the alliance than the above remarks would tend to indi- cate. Mitterrand has said during May 1981 that "It is impossible to ignore the need for an alliance , that is obvious Although I am completely hostile to the existence of the military blocs, I must take account of reality Campaign for the Election of the President of the Republic-CEPR One does still wonder, though, what he truly feels and whether his fee l ings will be allowed to govern his policies It is difficult to know whether his recent remarks are valid or whether they are statesmanlike rhetoric It is only in view of this Itobvious need" that he supports the Alliance and condemns the Soviet interventi o n in Afghanistan so adamantly. This condemnation should not be misinterpreted; he also condemns U.S. involvement in El Salvador. Mitterrand will help the Alliance in that he condemns the llpacifismll of his fellow Europeans and will work against it. His e xample should help other NATO governments keep their promises and obligations to the organization in the face of rising domestic opposition.

Mitterrand views NATO as a distasteful necessity which unfortunately by its very nature gives the U.S. a pre-eminent role in European affairs. and hence she withdrew from the military infrastructure. Thus, France was able to guarantee her independent, ind i genous nuclear capability. Mitterrand is an obvious Gaullist in this respect. Thus, the tradition of French independence and U.S. dominance keeps France half out of NATO and fear of the Soviet Union keeps France half in. Unless one or the other changes, F r ance's role will probably remain the same. The Socialiste Internationale PS radicals and Communists do not have enough influence to change the status quo of political necessity itself has on France is not strong enough to provide any reason other than ide o logical for France to withdraw further. Under certain conditions, such as the invasion of Poland and/or the Persian Gulf, France might consider re-integration with the Alliance as a defensive measure. One possibility, depending on the role the four Commun i sts play in the Cabinet, is whether NATO will change its relationship with France, if the Communist mini- sters are given access to NATO secrets. NATO would fear this in case the secrets were passed on to Russia. The present situation is more than likely t o prevail in the France-NATO area France could not accept this dominance The effect that NATO SOVIET RELATIONS President Mitterrand is taking a very different line in relation to the Soviet Union than did his predecessor. Socialist leader is the first Fre n ch president to definitively The 11 I condemn the Soviets in recent years. Mitterrand has denounced the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the deployment of the SS-20 as well as the Soviet machinations concerning Poland. In fact, he has taken a harder stance against the Soviets than might be expected considering the traditional PS line and the statements of the Socialiste Internationale.

This I'toughll anti-U.S.S.R. position that the President has apparently adopted in opposition to the natural, leanings of m any of his supporters is largely a result of his Gaullist principle of maintaining independence from the two blocs He is also repulsed by the U.S.S.R. because they have patently ignored the rights of sovereign peoples to freedom and self-determination. Th e se princi- ples are very dear to Mitterrand and govern many of his policies. He condemns the Soviet interference in Afghanistan because of the denial of the sovereign rights of that nation's courageous inhabi- tants, and most especially because Afghanista n is a poor, defense- less Third World nation. the invasion in terms of an expansion of the Soviet sphere of inf hence.

Only as an afterthought did he condemn When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, what should have been our reaction? My reaction was to protest because the people's right of self determination is the very foundation of international law In the same way we must remain vigilant over Poland. (CEPR) FBIS April 23, 1981 This statement indicates that Mitterrand seeks I'relations of friendship a nd cooperation based on] traditional friendship despite the difference in [our] political and economic systemsll with the U.S.S.R. The only apparent obstacle is the offensive manner in which the Soviets implement their expansionism. ing the Soviet influen c e in other poorer countries apparently is acceptable to the French as long as it is done by tfproxieslf or through tlliberationlf movements. He is, in fact, very sympathetic to neo-Marxist revolutionaries as can be seen by his pronouncements and by the ap pointment of R. Debray as foreign policy advisor specializing in the Third World.

Whatever his reasons, Mitterrand's stand condemning the Soviet Union seems very likely to continue, as this is the lfpoliticall1 thing to do. Whether this stance will be main tained, when the Western international scene is less sensitive to Soviet excesses, is difficult to ascertain It is possible that Mitterrand empha- sized his overtly anti-Soviet rhetoric as Giscard was particularly vulnerable in this area during the electi ons. Candidates from the Right and the Left condemned the Warsaw visit, and the attend- ance at the May Day parade of the only Western ambassador there the French one as supportive of Brezhnev.

Mitterrand's short-term actions wili generally follow an anti0 U.S.S.R. line as long as the Soviets are in Afghanistan, as Expand He has similar reservations concerning the Polish situation 12 this offends his aesthetic instincts. If the Soviets invade Poland, he will implement even tougher measures than the economic sanctions already taken by Giscard.

Any country that goes against his principles will be condemned, including the U.S. with respect to El Salvador. To avoid the French wrath one must use covert means and back a "people's liberation" movement, since Mitter rand has great personal sympathy with such groups.

The French President is in favor of minimizing war and conflict through serious negotiations and disarmament talks not dominated by either of the superpowers. bilateral discussions through strength: the U .S. should wait for the withdrawal of the SS-20 before reciprocating with the Euro- missiles He is an advocate of When Mitterrand disagrees with the PCF support of the U.S.S.R he takes exception only with their attitude to recent events not with their inh e rent leaning to the Eastern country. The crux of the matter is that Mitterrand shares many ideals adopted by the U.S.S.R.'s Communist Party. For instance, both agree on provid- ing extensive benefits for all one's country, but especially the llnot-so-well - off,ll reducing the wealth of the rich and distribut- ing it to the poor, and on the merits of revolutionary movements, especially in view to restoring the people's rights. Mitterrand does acknowledge though that the Soviet Union's PC (Communist Party) is less than perfect in implementing these ideals.

Mitterrand will try to promote trade with the U.S.S.R. for the benefit of French industry. He will not do this, though, if he thinks the Soviet Union will gain too much influence or control over French marke ts and/or businesses. He wants to keep France independent from any economic stranglehold that might be exerted by the U.S.S.R. Therefore, he will probably support Giscard's decision not to finance the strategic gas pipeline from Northern Russia to West Ge r many. Mitterrand has already committed France to fulfilling all her 'lsigned'l contracts, so the ones with the Soviet Union will be honored. will be reviewed when they come up for renewal depends on Soviet foreign policy actions, the Communist influence i n the Cabinet and the role the Socialist International will play in the French government. The PCF and the SI are favorably disposed toward close economic, political and cultural ties with the U.S.S.R so their influences may well be responsible for a shift toward the left of French policy actions Under what light these contracts THE THIRD WORLD In general there is a totally new outlook to French Third World policy a dramatic swing to the left. certainly be no intervention as there was under Giscard at least not in favor of pro-western right-wing regimes.

There will almost Many countries 13 welcome it arms shipments. trend obvious are fearful of the new administration, while others Chile has received a rude blow bv the susDension of One wonders whether this.m ight s& a new trend a ly sparked off by the French President's close association with Allende's widow, the widow of Marxist Chilean poet Neruda and Regis Debray. The former two were on each arm during his trium- phant march through Paris and the latter, o f course, became his foreign policy advisor.

The French government is in favor of greatly increasing economic aid to the Third World and the redistribution of wealth to the llpoorll South from the IlrichI' North. Consequently, France will aim to orqanize a world movement in support of this goal. France is setting an example by proving 0.7 percent of [her] GNP excluding overseas departments [of France] which would mean a very considerable increase in French aid That is the direction to be taken 1981 strings aidi1 must be given by the West for the development of the Third World. other countries, thus guaranteeing the stability of these volatile areas. He believes that the ensuring of the economic, social and cultural integrity and independence of these poorer nations would fulfill President Reagan's hopes of preventing Soviet aggrandise- ment. tunities he will be giving the Soviets to control various countries before his policies succeed decades from now if at all being the case, these French policies will pro b ably result in conflict with the U.S. and undermine the very regimes of concern to President Reagan. French policy, one must understand, does not mean providing all Third World regimes with aid, only the I1acceptablef1 ones who have impeccable human right s records or who are neo-Marxists upholding Ifpeople's rights."

Part of the overall plan outlined by Mr. Cheysson is a moratorium on all Third World debts (at present 400 billion however, he acknowledges that this cannot last long or the banks which hold t he debts would go bankrupt. following scheme to ensure the advancement of the South Enormous sums must be mobilized immediately, failing which many in the Third World will starve, failing which many of the countries will stop their imports. Private banks [ and] international bodies [through] the integration of the Third World's economy in the world economy must provide funds, thus giving the markets a sense of security, providing for secure access to capital, to technology. We must go from the case-by- case type of action which until now has characterized the North-South relations to a world economic order Claude Cheysson interview with Le Monde, May 28 Mitterrand has expanded on this in hiscomm that Ifno This aid will enable them to be independent of Mitter r and apparently does not realize the amazing oppor This Thus he proposed the 2 Le Monde, May 28, 1981. 14 Those ideals are in full accordance with the traditional PS stance. Forty percent of all EEC exports go to the Third World and.thus, if only for econo mic reasons, the reqion should be helped. Mitterrand agrees with this and champions the Third World claims for a more equitable distribution of global resources.

AFRICA This will be the area in which there will be the most change. Mitterrand will llmoraliz ell relations and arms sales. many African nations fear this, they are not totally disappointed, as Mitterrand has promised to greatly increase aid. Mitterrand attaches to his Third World policy is evident in his first two public statements (evening of th e election and at the Elysee) when he spoke about the hundreds of millions who suffer from hunger.

As far as African policy is concerned, the French President does not plan to intervene militarily on behalf of any dictator- ship. consider every situation i ndividually and would be most reluctant to intervene. Only if French nationals were in danger or if France was bound by honor would the President contemplate military action. relevant agreement has expired, he will reduce the 7,000-man airborne interventi on force, based in the south of France.

Generally speaking, France will give most of its aid to its former colonies and to the "front line states1I of Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Rhodesia and Mozambique. One will also find that new treaties will no longer be made with pro-West dictatorships but w i th "leftist people's republics This helps to explain French support for the "front line states" against the Ilrepressivell South African regime. This aid is designed to help these states better withstand the sanctions imposed on their southern neighbor In the past, Libya has bought substantial quantities of arms from France. Mitterrand is strongly against such sales.

In fact, he felt so strongly about this after the invasion of Chad, that he accused Giscard of continuing the sales after the Libyans had cro ssed the border. Mitterrand objects to the sales because Libya has used them to deprive the Chadians of their freedom and right of self-determination. As it is, Libya hardly needs France's weapons, as it has the highest weapon per capita ratio in the worl d . Though no more arms will go to Libya and support of Qadhafi's enemies is likely, no intervention is planned is trying to patch relations with France by repairing the damaged French embassy in.Tripoli and by supporting the franc during its recent trouble s . At the moment, the French are not being influ- enced by these maneuvers of Zaire, who has relied heavily in the past on French soldiers Although The importance He plans to fulfill all treaty obligations, but he will While he will keep troops at their ga r risons until the Libya Probably the most worried African leader is President Mobutu 15 and support to maintain himself in power. cized the Giscardian government for intervening twice in the Shaba province to protect the status quo and the valuable mines o f Zaire. will be repeated. Mitterrand would most likely take all French citizens out at the first hint of trouble and thus remove any excuse for intervention. minerals and the fact that the Kolwezi rebellion was not "sponta- neous,Il as claimed by Mitterra n d, but instigated by Cuban and Angolan forces by the leaders of the former French colonies. Although relations had been strained between President Houphouet Boigny of the Ivory Coast and Giscard, concerning French inaction over the Chad issue, relations w i th Mitterrand will most likely not improve, since the French President does not plan any action in Chad either. over the issue as the Ivorian leader supported Chirac in the recent elections In contrast, the leader of Senegal had held longstanding personal links with the new French President. fear shared by all former colonies is that Mitterrand will adopt Cheysson's view that priority should be given to non-former colonies despite Mitterrandls preference for the French-speaking areas Mitterrand has criti I t is extremely unlikely that any such intervention This is despite Zaire's strategic There has been a mixed reaction to the election of Mitterrand Mitterrand will further not feel inclined to compromise One Morocco is

so worried as Mitterrand has supporte d the Polisario guerrillas backed by Algeria and because the French are pro-self-determination for the Western Sahara. French arms sales to the kingdom might be stopped. The Moroccan navy and air force depend heavily on the steady supply of French arms. T h e French government does not support the Polisario as ardently as the PS does and the government suggests the resolution of the conflict in four stages aid from Morocco, then the establishment of contacts with all parties involved, including Mauritania an d Alqeria. After these steps have been implemented, the government will open a Polisario office in Paris, and finally the French will try to create the necessary procedure to promote settlement through negotiations The first step is the withdrawal of. some military Niger and Gabon might also suffer economically from the election results as Mitterrand has promised the French ecologists that he will cut back the French nuclear electricity program. This will decrease the demand for one of these countries' main exports uranium.

The final major issue on this continent that is a cause for concern to the new government in France is South Africa. gically, Mitterrand is totally against the racial policy of apartheid. At the moment, the French support the U.S. effort to find an internationally acceptable plan for giving Namibia indepen- dence from South Africa. France herself is one of five Western mediating nations negotiating over Namibia. Mitterrand said two months ago that experience has shown that continued Frenc h develop Ideolo16 ment of economic links with South Africa has done little to alleviate racial oppression. Therefore, new measures are needed. There will be an end to French investment in South Africa and increased aid to the black states to relieve their economic dependence on their southern neighbor. The licensed production of the Mirage FlCZs at the Atlas Corporation, French assistance in the building of two nuclear power stations near Capetown, as well as French involvement with Namibia's Rossing urani u m mine, seem in danger. in these affairs would not only hurt South Africa economically and militarily, but would also be a big propaganda victory for SWAP0 in Namibia, an organization Mitterrand supports Needless to say, the ending of French involvement C E NTRAL AMERICA Anything that is said concerning France and Central America must be prefaced by the fact that France can only affect Central American affairs in an indirect way ly, France would find it very difficult to give anything but moral and politicaL s upport, with possibly some small food and arms shipments. Central American countries as policy tools because they only help to create war, which he is committed to stop In accordance with the French leader's human rights beliefs, he does and will continue to support movements which in his view, constitute a I'people's revolt and which are fighting for freedom and the right of self-determination El Salvador. the Election of the President of the Republic program [FBIS, April 23, 1981) should illustrate Mitte r rand's position El Salvador is a small country in Central America which is experiencing great upheaval and where a financial oligarchy of large land-owners who have established a dictatorship are in power, and a revolt, a people's revolt, is developing ag a inst this dictatorship It is often said that this is a communist revolt. That is not correct Logistically and political Mitterrand does not consider military aid to This policy applies interestingly enough to The following quotation taken from the Campaig n for The chairman of the revolutionary forces is Guillermo Ungo Revelo, a Social Democrat, whom I know personally and who is a friend of all democrats, all Socialists and all labor supporters in Europe. This is a typical case of people's revolt against th e excessive domination of the power of wealth and political dictatorship. Thus the United States, which is fairly near El Salvador, should not wish to secure its power and authority in Central America at the cost of the people's interests. France can give g ood advice to its U.S. allies and at the same time make it known that it will not associate itself either politically, or, naturally, on any other plane, with measures attempting to break the popular upsurge in El Salvador. Moreover I hope that France, fi rmly placed in a Europe which can contribute to this 17 f effect, will provide food aid to El Salvador. This would be a way of saying that we have an independent policy in the good sense of the word.

This quotation is very important as it typifies the position that France will probably assume in instances similar to El Salvador.

For instance in Nicaragua, Mitterrand .has disclaimed any Communist involvement, while praising the "people's revolt.Il U.S aid to the Somoza regime prompted his criticism of Weste rn leaders Iincompetence and hypocrisy.ll He also accuses them of misunderstanding the real problems behind revolutionary movements in the Third World. ly pro-Marxist, as he is inclined to be, in the short-term, in the Iong term, when the French domestic s cene has settled down, one can expect a vigorous assault on any right-wing authoritarian regime in the Central American region. guan foreip minister Mr. d'Escoto highlighted his visit with France praising the Ilqualitative change with the victory of our f r iend Companero Mitterrand I While Mitterrand may not become as aggressive In their turn, the Nicara THE MIDDLE EAST The main issue here is the Arab-Israeli problem. Mitterrand has taken two different stands on this question one before the election and one after. convictions; the second one follows the exigencies of office. Mitterrand followed his personal conviction of supporting Israel and Camp David, and did not favor a European solution to the area's problems. This markedly contrasts with Giscard's view s . The depth of the President's feelings can be determined by the fact that Mitterrand went on Algerian national TV and made this pre-election speech: "nothing would be possible [negotiations] before they [Arabs] recognize Israel's right to exist In Cairo, he told President Anwar Sadat the same thing and sent a message to Israel My friends in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, I am a friend of Israel and I shall do nothing to endanger Israel's existence or means to exist.

I The first one follows his own personal There is some indication that Cheysson is behind Mitterrand's more reserved statements since he assumed his new office. Although he has not withdrawn his statements supporting Camp David he was the first French leader of a major political party to support it publ i cly his Foreign Minister has tempered them down substan- tially in an apparent effort to placate the Arabs. Mitterrand's support of Israel did not mean that he is not in favor of a Palestinian state; in fact, he felt that !!Israel should recognize the rig h t of the Palestinians to have a homeland." Again, after Mitterrand announced a few weeks ago an upcoming visit to Israel, the Foreign Minister and the French Embassy in the U.S. tried to play it down, though it will be the first visit ever of a French pre s ident or Prime Minister to Israel. Cheysson is also warmer 18 to the European's initiative than was Mitterrand before the election. Again, before the. election, Mitterrand was against the supply of the reactor and fuel to the Iraqis, lately he and Cheysso n have scaled down their objections.

Thus, it seems that political reality Arab economic ties, and Cheysson's pro-Arab inclinations have combined to signifi- cantly modify Mitterrandl s likely actions. His llhard-linell before the election is only an indic ation of his personal feelings. However in time, these may resurface and become more of a factor in determining French Mideast policy.

The reasons for this pro-Arab change are overwhelming at The Arabs own $30 billion of the $130 billion of this stage. fo reign investments in France. The Arabs have backed the franc (particular, Qadhafi's Libya) and 15 billion francs worth of arms are exported to the Mideast by France every year. third largest exporter to this area and this trade accounts for 4.5 percent of her foreign exports. Finally, France is heavily dependent on Mideast Arab oil, especially Iraqi crude, and will need more oil as the government trims down the nuclear program. For these reasons, France cannot afford to really offend the Arabs. climb of th e dollar which has produced a "third oil shock" for the French economy. plummet of the franc if it had not been stopped by the Arabs and others France is the She may even have to ask for special financing due to the This shock would have been aggrevated by the While stressing that there will be no major changes in French policy overnight and that all agreements and contracts will be honored, the French have had contacts with the Saudis. The President's brother Jacques Mitterrand (a retired air force general Chairman of Aerospatiale went to Saudi Arabia on a friendly non-political visit, and on June 1 Mitterrand's special emissary to Riyadh, Jacques Andriani, presented a personal letter to King Khalid from Mitterrand. Even before assuming office, top socialis t s had unpublicized talks with some of the Arab ambassadors in Paris. Rumors have been circulating of a pre-inauguration meeting of a special Arab envoy and a French minister. Those measures have increased the understanding between the French and the Arabs , especially with the Saudi Arabians who have invited Mitterrand to come to their country on a state visit. Although no clouds are reported over export drives by French businessmen, their exports might be hampered by the very careful examination given to a l l new contracts with Mid-Eastern countries by Mitter- rand's government. government will be decided by whether the Mitterrandmauroy pro-Israeli faction asserts itself or whether the trio of ministers of the Quai d'0rsay are allowed to dominate. This accou n ts for the differing statements and emphasis put on various issues by the Foreign Ministry and the President. of French "new bloodi1 into the Camp David process will speed it along especially if Shimon Peres gains new power from the elections in Israel, a s he and Mitterrand are close friends The eventual position taken by the French In any case, the influx 19 Thus French policy 'toward the Mideast is not yet settled definitively, but is being actively da,bated and formulated in the French Cabinet. However, one or a cohbination of the two lines described above will most probably be adopted. Economically, France is tied to the Arabs; emotionally and politically, she sympathizes with the Israelis. The French support the rights of the PLO but not their methods, and not at the expense of Israel ated settlement in the Lebanon and though they want Israel to be protected, they also want to avoid another war.

Mitterrand and the French Cabinet would like to see a negoti ARMS SALES Mitterrand indicated before the electi on that there would be radical changes in the arms sale policy of France. Now that.he is President, economic and political factors are forcing him'to modify his aims. France cannot, as Cheysson has told Mitterrand, break her word or reneqe on her honor. S h e must carry out all contracts, even it if is with countries that, in the President's view, will misuse the weapons. The present attitude, vehemently put forward by Cheysson and Mitterrand, is that any agreement already signed by France will be carried ou t to its conclusion. Thus, the sixty Mirage Fls and the naval patrol boats will be delivered to Iraq and Iran respectively despite Mitterrand's abhorrance for the war in which these two countries'are involved.

The main shock will come when the old contract s come up for renewal and new ones are made. Then, according to the PS, many non-democratic, racist, or warring nations will have to look elsewhere for their arms. The French leader will find certain overriding factors, such as oil, will prevent him from i mplement= ing his wishes indiscriminate basis. The Saudis, for instance, are having a 3 billion navy built for them by France, and Mitterrand would have liked to see this cancelled, as it would indirectly pose a threat on Israel. dependence on Saudi oil, the President must honor the contract. The replacing of the Iraqi reactor and the supply of naval boats as well as other shipments to this country must be maintained as Iraq supplies much of France's oil at low prices. already had her arms flow from F rance stopped because she has warred contrary to France's wishes against a former colony, and subjugated a free nation. Needless to say, Libya does not have enough of an oil or economic stranglehold to persuade France to change her mind I moving, there ar e also equally strong forces inside Fr'ance which will ensure that the flow does not shrink appreciably. At least 5 percent of France's export revenue comes from arms sales. Naturally, most of this money comes from warring regimes that are willing to pay m o re for the arms they vitally need. As there are relatively few nations that meet Mitterrand's high standards Yet, because of France's Libya has While forces are working from outside of France to keep arms 20 French military exports would be crippled, if M i tterrand enforced his doctrine conscientiously. Far more likely will be a limited application of his principle and only to countries who are openly hostile to France or blatant in their misuse of materiel supplied. Although the scope of the export restric t ions will not be great, they should be implemented effectively with the nationalization of Thompson C.S.F military section Dassault and probably Matra. Nationalization gives the government significantly more control over the contracts that are made and th u s the countries that get the arms. The three firms mentioned above are responsi- ble for at least 25 billion francs of French arms trade. This gives the government control over the vast majority, in value at least, of total arms exports. If poor (Marxist) revolutionary movements would like French arms but cannot afford them, then the French government might provide them with favorable financing arrangements. ing !'people!s revolts, providing a balance to the arms handouts of the Soviet Union This would be a useful tool in aiding and influenc CONCLUSION With a substantial overall majority in the French National Assembly, President Francois Mitterrand has the capacity to drastically change the foreign policy of France and with it the role of his country in wo rld affairs. If the Socialist program as outlined in this study, is fully carried out, then one can anticipate growing conflicts within the Western Alliance and particularly between the United States and France.

There appears to be, at the moment, some imp ortant areas of agreement between Presidents Reagan and Mitterrand. In the months ahead, however, unless one of the leaders alters his lonq-held views on major issues, significant disagreements on policy will emerge. ments have focused their principal att e ntion on carrying out domestic economic programs and on limiting immediate areas of disagreement between them. As national security and foreign policy issues arise, though, and as the role of the coalition partners is felt, tensions are quite likely to em erge.

Mitterrand has treated NATO with great suspicion, believing the United States uses it as a front for economic and political warfare against Europe in general and France in particular. Throughout the Third World, and most conspicuously in places like El Salvador, sharp disagreements will arise. Not only do the respective administrations! ideas on North-South issues, including the transfer of wealth and the nature of development differ, but also their philosophies concerning Ilpeople's revolutionary mo v e- ments" and pro-West authoritarian regimes are not at all compati- ble. Thus, despite severe criticism of the actions of the Soviet Union in places like Afghanistan, Mitterrand nonetheless supports leftist revolutionary movements in many Third World cou n tries which receive their principal aid and guidance from Moscow At present, both French and American govern 21 Mitterrand thus seem to be a paradox, since his present position on some issues such as the SS- OS, Afghanistan, Poland and disarmament negotia t ions coincide with those of President Reagan Most of Mitterrand's and his Socialist Party's principles, however are diametrically opposed to those of the Reagan Admini- stration. Consequently, in the years ahead, France may play a critical role in undermi ning American foreign policy. Therefore, the election of a socialist government in France should be more a cause of concern rather than complacency in the years ahead.

Greerson G. McMullen Research Assistant


Greerson G.

Senior Fellow and Director of Government Finance Programs