851.00/10–647: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State
us urgent

4322. There is no doubt that De Gaulle scored a spectacular success yesterday in his speech at Vincennes. (I understand full text has been cabled by American news agencies.) An impressive crowd estimated at between 400 and 500,000 gathered to hear him. While the great majority were middle or lower middle class and white collar workers there were nonetheless a surprising number of workers. The crowd was orderly and it was obvious that it had come to hear what De Gaulle had to say rather than simply for an outing. The applause when he attacked the “Soviet dictatorship”, called the French Communist Party “separatists” working in the interest of another country, and paid tribute to the United States, stating that with its strength intact it was opposing Soviet world ambition, was spontaneous and sustained. He said “and there is not a free man in the world who does not think that American policy healthy”.

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Qualified political observers, including anti-Communist labor leaders, agree that the meeting yesterday was impressive evidence of De Gaulle’s popular prestige and that if the present polarization of Communist and anti-Communist forces continues to develop De Gaulle’s following may rapidly snowball.

It is interesting that the Communists (as in the case of De Gaulle’s Lyon speech last month) endeavored to keep down attendance and destroy effectiveness of speech by resorting to different forms of sabotage including scattering nails on roads approaching Vincennes, sabotaging the loud speaker system (which was rapidly repaired prior to the General’s speech) and arranging for “mechanical” interruptions in the service of the only subway which runs to Vincennes.

Copies by pouch to Moscow and London.