Caullist Leader Jacques Chirac has called on France to strengthen its nuclear deterrents in response to the deteriorating east-west relations over Afghanistan.
GV Intercontinental Hotel in Paris
SV INTERIOR Gaullist Leader Jacques Chirac, enters room as photographers take pictures
CU Chirac speaking in French (3 shots)
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Background: Caullist Leader Jacques Chirac has called on France to strengthen its nuclear deterrents in response to the deteriorating east-west relations over Afghanistan. At a news conference in Paris Mr. Chirac said the size of France's nuclear submarine fleet should be increased.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Chirac stressed he was holding the news conference neither in his capacity as Mayor of Paris nor as President of the Gaullist Party. He refused to answer any questions on his expected candidacy against Mr. Giscard D'Estaing in the French Presidential elections in May 1981.
In a speech devoted almost exclusively to foreign affairs, Mr. Chirac emphasised that detente remained the fundamental objective for France. But he said this could not justify and attitude of weakness in the face of aggression. The Soviet aggression in Afghanistan was intolerable, he claimed, but the counter to it must be effective, and not dictated by domestic political considerations. He felt that boycotting the Olympic Games would be an ineffective countermeasure. He said it would a pity if the Games were threatened for political reasons.
On the question of France's reaction to the deterioration of detente, Mr. Chirac insisted on the need to give priority to an independent French nuclear deterrent. He proposed that the French fleet of nuclear submarines be increased from six to fifteen at the rate of one every eighteen months. At the same time, more ships and aircraft should be made available for transporting French forces to preserve the peace in trouble spots in Africa and elsewhere.
Mr. Chirac emphasised that the right answer to present tensions must be national resolve based on restoration of French economic power and on the immediate and effective strengthening of French means of deterrence and intervention. He said naturally France was loyal to the Western alliance, but independence meant France itself should decide what it should do and with whom, and not be dictated to by any state or group.