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Carl Davis

French CP Now Critical of de Gaulle

(February 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 9, 26 February 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The French Communist Party has made another small turn which emphasizes its complete dependence upon the foreign policy of Stalin’s Russia. It has made public, through a statement of its appointed leader, Maurice Thorez, that all the decisions of the Yalta Conference are completely acceptable to it and that it does not share with General Charles de Gaulle and his cabinet their reservations and opposition to the Crimean gathering. What is so strange about this?

The answer lies in the whole nature of the European political situation, the course of Russian foreign policy and the struggle of power politics as personified by the United States, Great Britain and Russia.

Prior to the Yalta meeting, the three powers had been following more or less separate roads, each intent on strengthening its own respective position in Europe. Despite the fact that they, France included, are party to the Dumbarton Oaks agreement for a new world power organization (similar to the ineffectual League of Nations), bilateral treaties were inaugurated. First, Russia and England signed a twenty-year treaty. Then Russia and France signed a similar treaty. England and France already had such a treaty.

Change in Russo-French Relations

Up to the time of the French treaty, Russia’s relations with that country and its appointed titular head, de Gaulle, was friendly at first (during the North African campaign); after Teheran, somewhat cooler. But When de Gaulle went to Moscow to sign the treaty, and referred to Stalin’s prison camp as “dear and powerful Russia,” the friendship between Russia and France rose to a feverish height.

The Communist Party in France followed a militant policy in the sense that it defended the Resistance Movement, its right to bear arms and its demands for economic, political and social reforms. It severely criticized de Gaulle’s regime and conducted itself generally as an opposition party.

That policy lasted until the Franco-Russian treaty was signed. With customary suddenness the line was changed. Was it changed as a result of a discussion in the Communist Party of France, after due deliberation and consideration by its membership? Of course not. The line was changed in Moscow, brought to France by Thorez and simply announced as the new party line. That’s the way of totalitarian parties allied to totalitarian states.

Thenceforth the French Communists supported every important measure proposed by de Gaulle. They agreed to disarming the resistance movement. They discovered a hundred and one reasons why this movement should dissolve. They defended the government in its determination, not to carry out any radical reforms and in general acted like any capitalist political party.

Yalta: A New Political Stage

The imperialists who now rule France are indignant that they were left out of the Yalta meeting. They want to take their place as equals in the dismemberment and enslavement of Germany, as well as in the partitioning of Europe. But since the Allies continue to treat France as a defeated power, even as they talk about helping it in its comeback and reserving a place for it as the. fourth power, de Gaulle is rebelling. He refused to meet Roosevelt. He has been critical of Yalta because he was not asked to participate in the conference. He acts like a spoiled child who does not understand his place in the home of the United Nations.

The French Communist Party, which up to Yalta completely supported de Gaulle, has now publicly criticized him. Again the position taken by Thorez was not the result of a party discussion or decision, but of an order emanating from Moscow. It reads: The decisions of Yalta must be supported! The tasks of he communists all over the world is to replace all previous policies with a new one: complete endorsement of the line of Moscow-Teheran-Yalta!

Therefore, says Thorez, “France will have the place that she legitimately deserves. That place will be what we make it (No, it will be what the U.S., England and Russia make it—C.D.). We are glad of it and we do riot share the reserves and regrets of those who are astonished that France was not called to that conference.”

It is added, however, that while the French communists do not accept de Gaulle’s foreign policy, it will continue to support him on domestic policy which, as the New York Times stated, is: “To postpone far-reaching economic reforms until after the war.”

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