MSSU Archives & Special Collections Exhibits: French Newspaper

Digital exhibits created by the MSSU Archives and Special Collections department.


A French newspaper clipping  from the newspaper Le Monde dated October 27, 1954 that describes American journalism on French issues.

The newspaper section talks about how American Press perceived Mr. Mendes-France, a French politician who became Prime Minister. Various American press had their own description of his personality. The newspaper goes on explaining that an American journalist, Margaret Biddle, declared Mendes-France a man of action.

Translation of the above article:

4. THE WORLD. - October 27, 1954.- A CAMPAIGN OF DISTRUST


How a "friend of France introduces our country to Americans 99 Washington, October 26. Three weeks after Mr. Mendès-France's visit, it would be interesting to pick up at random from the columns of the American press various assessments of his personality. One would find there the whole range of qualifiers: “unpleasant, courageous, stubborn, cunning, enigmatic, skillful”. Yesterday the Daily News of the Scripps-Howard press, traditionally not kind to France, wrote: “Mr. Mendès-France is from many points of view a disagreeable personality (distasteful), but took a decision which unites Germany and France on the same side in the cold war, ours...”. A fortnight ago Mrs. Margaret Biddle, a personality of journalism and good American society, and of whom it is known that she is very close to certain French political personalities, in particular Mr. Pleyen, came to a radio station in New York give his point of view on Mr. Mendès-France and his policy. Presented as the director for Europe of a major American women's magazine and a regular contributor to Realities, she began by declaring during the interview that “Mr. United States... Some see you as the savior of France, others as the man who could bring democracy to ruin in France”. After acknowledging that Mr. Mendes-France is a man of action, she declared that his adversaries have formed a common front against him: “They forget their political ties and are concerned about the future of France and not about their respective parties. And to add: "It's almost a second resistance movement that is developing in France today against this man, for France..." Further Mrs. Biddle refers to Mr. Mendès-France's efforts to reach public opinion: "The radio is completely in the hands of the government, and they use it for their program in the morning, at noon and in the evening." She discovers that there is no news agency independent of the government in France and points out that "the only man who did not completely agree with the government has been replaced", adding: knowledge no first C.E.D. »... minister has never used the radio so much for himself or his government. » Mrs. Biddle doesn't cut corners. “France doesn't have a free press,” she says. Fortunately, there remains, according to Mrs. Biddle, two free newspapers which express independent points of view: Le Figaro and Paris-Match. Among the other newspapers, “some, like Le Monde, are continually anti-American; the others do not express the views of the French people, but theirs”. Most are in government service. In short, it seems that for Mrs. Biddle alone are free and independent, reflecting the views of the French, the newspapers which attack Mr. Mendès-France and his policy... Mrs. Biddle then becomes, not without satisfaction, the peddler of gossip about Mr. Mendès-France. “It is said that he bargained with Moscow for peace in Indochina in exchange for the burial of the C.E.D....” With excusable caution she does not take these friendly remarks into account, even though she knows that they go on the waves to spread their venom. Of course Mrs. Biddle continues to entertain his listeners with the illusion that the C.E.D. should have passed, that a rigging took place, etc. As successors to Mr. Mendès-France, she sees first Mr. Pinay, “considered as the man whom the French people support and in whom the average Frenchman finds himself”, then Mr. Robert Schuman. She has a kind word for the socialists, "who have always been for cooperation with America and for The painful part of this chatter is that Mrs. Biddle passes for an expert on French problems. In this respect one wonders how, having lived in France for so long, she can say "that Le Figaro has no distribution in the provinces" and not know the name of the secretary general of her "friends of the socialist party" . "I believe his name is Guy Mollet," she said. Fortunately, the broadcast was at 10 a.m., that is to say at a time when people who work do not have much time for this small talk, which does not seem to have any other purpose than to maintain Franco-American misunderstandings and to increase distrust of the head of the French government.

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