• U.S.

Foreign News: New Cabinet

3 minute read
TIME

After Senator Joseph (“The Cabinet Killer”) Caillaux & Friends spectacularly upset the French Popular Front regime last week (see above), a significant new government was formed in a few hours by sturdy, steady Radical Socialist Edouard Daladier who in the ephemeral Popular Front Cabinets of recent months has been France’s rock-firm Defense Minister.

If the new Daladier Cabinet wins its necessary vote of confidence this week, France will have completed once more a peculiar political cycle she has been repeating since the War. In this cycle the Left parties win the election, as they did in 1936; then, two years later—always two years—the Left parliamentary majority disintegrates, as it appeared to do last week; finally Moderates like Daladier take over and run the Government with the support of a new Moderate majority which finds itself in the Chamber of Deputies, as it may this week.

Edouard Daladier kept the Defense portfolio himself. He dropped Leagophile Joseph Paul-Boncour out of the Quai d’Orsay, put in as Foreign Minister Financier-Diplomat Georges Bonnet, recently Ambassador at Washington and still more recently Finance Minister. MM. Daladier & Bonnet have long made no secret of their wish to have France enter with active enthusiasm the Chamberlain-Mussolini-Hitler negotiations for a Four-Power Pact (see p. 22). They are unsympathetic with Leftist Spain, still more so with the Soviet Union—whereas last week during Paul-Boncour’s last hours as Foreign Minister he was reported trying to get Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Belgrade and Bucharest in on a patching together of the shattered French system of alliances in the East.

Today there is much Leftist turbulence among the natives in several French colonies (TIME, Nov. 15), and Premier Daladier’s reply to that was to appoint as Minister of Colonies hard, resourceful Georges Mandel, a disciple of the late Georges (“Tiger”) Clemenceau. The leading Rightist deputy. M. Paul Reynaud, was put in as Minister of Justice; Paul Marchandeau came back as Finance Minister, the post he recently held under Premier Camille Chautemps (TIME, Jan. 31); and M. Chautemps was made Vice-Premier in Charge of Coordination. Albert Sarraut, whose famed watchword is “Communism is the Enemy!” ( i. e., not Germany), took charge of the police as Minister of Interior. The Ministry of Propaganda, created for the first time in France just 28 days before by Leon Blum (TIME, April u), was abolished.

In the vital French metal trades, which dominate the Republic’s munitions industry, the principal trade unions are in Communist hands. Their answer to creation of the Daladier Cabinet last week was to have another 90,000 workers sit down, bringing the total to 150,000 this week, almost completely immobilizing France’s program of Rearmament. The new Cabinet must master French Labor, or work out some ingenious appeasement, or face the worst sort of trouble. Fortunately Camille Chautemps, just before he fell as Premier a few weeks ago, obtained the support of Parliament for a most enlightened “Modern Labor Charter” (TIME, March 14) and today as Vice-Premier in Charge of Coordination he may be able to make it work.

The new Premier announced creation of an “Inner Cabinet”—consisting of himself. Bonnet, Reynaud, Chautemps, Sarraut and Marchandeau—who for the present will meet every day. He will ask Parliament for authority to rule France for the next six months without consulting Parliament during that time.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com