France's new strong man, Prime Minister General Charles De Gaulle, 67, told Madagascar and other French colonies in the French Union that France under the proposed Fifth Republic would welcome them into a Franco-African Community - something like Britain's Commonwealth - if they so chose or they could secede.
LS.AERIAL Madagascar coast.
MS. Wing of Newspapermen's plane.
LS.Aerial V. TANANARIVE.
SV. Press plane taxis in.
LV. Reporter and cameramen leave plane.
LV. French flag and crowds.
SV. General de Gaulle arrives and salutes.
LV. Crowds and Guards.
SV. General de Gaulle and Officials walks to stand.
LS. Crowds and flags.
LV. General de Gaulle addresses crowd.
SV. De Gaulle speaking.
Angle Shot De Gaulle speaking.
SV. Officials applaud.
SV. Veterans and Inhabitants.
Initials jrg WWS/VCW
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: France's new strong man, Prime Minister General Charles De Gaulle, 67, told Madagascar and other French colonies in the French Union that France under the proposed Fifth Republic would welcome them into a Franco-African Community - something like Britain's Commonwealth - if they so chose or they could secede.
On the first stage of a nine-day tour in French Africa, to rally support for a strong Fifth Republic, De Gaulle told Madagascans at Tananarive August 22: "You may freely decide on a community associationship with equal rights with France or you can have secession."
The General hinted that French financial support, essential to the island's economy, would end if the islanders seceded.
The test of their wish will be their vote in the September 28 referendum on the new French Constitution for a Fifth Republic.
The day was an historic one for the native peoples of France's overseas territories: it was the first time any Prime Minister of France - the present Fourth Republic has been the downfall of 25 governments since World War Two - had sought the vote of the native peoples on any issue.
The General outlined what he called the profound changes he proposes in the present relationship between France and the Union. He described this as a federal-style community in which each area becomes a state with freedom of internal administration. But the central authority, France, would handle defense, foreign and economic policies.
Observers reported Madagascar, annexed by France in 1894, generally favoured De Gaulle's plan.
Next stop: Brazzaville, French Equitorial Africa.