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The way we were: Leaving the club—France takes back control

Extracts from memoirs and diaries

By Ian Irvine   April 2017

General Charles de Gaulle during a press conference, 1966 ©Roger-Violet/REX/Shutterstock

In March 1966, President Charles de Gaulle announced that France was withdrawing from Nato and that all Nato troops must leave by the following April. The bust-up had been a long time coming: France had acquired its own nuclear deterrent and de Gaulle had long chafed under Nato’s “Anglo-Saxon” leadership. Back in 1958 at a briefing on Nato forces in France, he had asked General Norstadt, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, to tell him the location of…

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