French Public Opinion and the Atlantic Treaty

"French Public Opinion and the Atlantic Treaty," International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs) v28 n1 (Jan., 1952): 1-8.


The turning point in French foreign policy after the Second World War was not the signing of the Atlantic Treaty. The impossibility of maintaining what had hitherto been the official policy of the 4th Republic, to “form a bridge” and play the role of mediation between East and West, was recognized by the French representative, at the time M. Bidault, at the Foreign Minister’ Conference at Moscow at the beginning of 1947, and in the summer of that year at the Paris Conference when M. Molotov walked out after two days. At Moscow the Soviet Minister refused to support French views on the Saar.  at Paris a few months later he attacked the proposal which was to become the Marshall Plan as the work of American imperialism. France’s choice was made, in spite of the fact that for two years she had been trying not to take sides, and neither her nor the public generally felt that it was really possible for her to adopt any other attitude.