Looking for specific quote by Charles de Gaulle on the alliance
December 11, 2012 9:46 AM   Subscribe

My boss (I work in Tokyo for an independent think tank) has asked me to track down a particular quote for him by Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French Forces and first president of the French Fifth Republic. Specifically, he is looking for a quote in which de Gaulle says something about the alliance not sharing a common destiny... I've been looking like crazy but have yet to find anything along these lines? Any ideas??

I tried sending my boss the following quote in the hopes of it being what he was looking for:

"No nation has friends, only interests."

However, he said that this was not quite it, and reiterated to me that the key word is "alliance".

Please help!! I really want to come through on this but am drawing a blank at this point!
posted by amirachel to Society & Culture (4 answers total)
Is what you're looking for in De Gaulle’s 14 January 1963 press conference?
We are in the atomic era and we are a country which can be destroyed at any moment, unless the aggressor is deterred from attack by the certainty that he too will suffer terrible destruction. There is thus justification for both alliance and independence.
posted by straw at 9:53 AM on December 11, 2012

This collection of de Gaulle quotes seems to have several quotes along your lines, although not using alliance specifically (quickly translated with Bing):

For example from 1953:

Pour pouvoir aboutir à des solutions valables, il faut tenir compte de la réalité. La politique n'est rien d'autre que l'art des réalités. Or, la réalité, c'est qu'actuellement l'Europe se compose de nations. C'est à partir de ces nations qu'il faut organiser l'Europe et, s'il y a lieu, la défendre

In order to achieve viable solutions, one should take account of reality. Politics is nothing other than the art of realities. However, the reality is that currently Europe consists of nations. It is from these nations to organize Europe and, if applicable, defend it.

Or 1959:

L'essentiel, pour jouer un rôle international, c'est d'exister par soi-même, chez soi. Il n'y a pas de réalité internationale qui ne soit d'abord une réalité nationale

The key to playing an international role it is to exist by yourself, at home. There is no international reality that is firstly a national reality
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 11:24 AM on December 11, 2012

In any case I repeat, after having said it often, that France intends to have her own national defense. It is obvious that no country, in particular a country such as ours, can in the present day and age wage a modern world war by itself. To have allies goes without saying for us in the historic period we live in. But also for a great people the free determination of its destiny and the possession of means to preserve this self-determination are an absolute imperative, because alliances have no absolute virtues, whatever may be the sentiments on which they rest.
Quoted by Władysław Kulski, De Gaulle and the World: The Foreign Policy of the Fifth French Republic, page 95. Kulski says this statement was made January 14, 1963, but I didn't find it in straw's link upthread (which says it's only extracts). (Kulski has an endnote for the quote, but that page isn't in the Google Books preview.)

By the way, if de Gaulle did say this at that press conference, then he was justifying France having nuclear weapons. If you're using this quote in a publication of your think tank, you and/or your boss might want to consider how that background plays in Japan.
posted by stebulus at 7:19 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Many, many thanks to you all for your incredible sleuthing skills and wonderfully thoughtful responses on this!! Stebulus, that excerpt you found from Kulski's book ended up being just what my boss was after. He was thrilled! Thank you most sincerely once again!
posted by amirachel at 9:21 PM on December 12, 2012

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