No. 509
Editorial Note

During the early morning hours of February 29, the government of Edgar Faure was defeated in a vote in the French National Assembly on a question of confidence. The defeat came on an article in the finance bill under consideration by the Assembly providing for an overall tax increase of 15 percent. Reports of the downfall of the Faure government were transmitted to the Department of State in telegrams 5219 and 5260 from Paris, February 27 and 29, respectively. (751.21/2–2752 and 2–2952)

Following an unsuccessful attempt by Paul Reynaud to form a new government and René Pleven’s refusal to try and form one himself, Antoine Pinay accepted the task and presented himself to the National Assembly for an investiture vote on March 6. Once approved, Pinay then presented his Cabinet to the Assembly on March 11 for another investiture vote which was also successful. The Embassy evaluated the obstacles in the way of Pinay’s efforts to form a government in telegram 5419 from Paris, March 7 (751.13/3–752); it also reported on his new Cabinet and provided a brief biographical sketch of Pinay in telegrams 5433 and 5434 from Paris, March 8 and 9, respectively. (751.13/3–852 and 3–952)

The political crisis in France was analyzed by Ridgway B. Knight in his memorandum to James C. H. Bonbright of March 7 which summarized Knight’s impressions derived during his recent stay in Paris. Knight’s memorandum was subsequently circulated throughout the Department of State as well as to members of the Psychological Strategy Board. (751.00/3–752) Several months later, a detailed 18-page study of the new government, entitled “The Pinay [Page 1180] Government—Its Genesis and Prospects,” drafted by Martin F. Herz, was transmitted to the Department of State in despatch 2982 from Paris, May 12. (751.00/5–1252)