24 FEBRUARY 1950, Page 1

The Case of the Generals

Only the more determined students of that recurrent and fascinating French phenomenon, a Parliamentary inquiry into a scandal, will have followed all the convolutions and traced all the known ramifications of the already notorious, and potentially disastrous, "Case of the Generals." The purpose of the inquiry is to discover how -a report on Indo-China, written by General Revers when he was Chief of the General Staff, got into the hands of Ho Chi-minh, the Communist rebel leader. So far a chain of connection, many of its links still uncertain, has been traced from a Viet-Namian General Xuan, through his agent Mr. Hoang Van-co to a mysterious and disreputable M. Peyre, who is now in Brazil. The possibility is being examined that the chain leads on to Major Bravelet, who was personal assistant to General Revers, to the General himself, and even to a Cabinet Minister whom, according to French speculation, he may be shielding. This is a drastically over-simplified statement of the case, which leaves out Vinh Xa, an Indo-Chinese who is suspected of conveying the report to Ho Chi-minh, General Mast, whose candidature for a High Commis- sionership in Indo-China had much to do with the whole affair, and a syndicate of Corsican business men seeking Government con- tracts. These and dozens of others have all been mentioned in the case, producing the central impression, common to all the classic French scandals, that they extend into all corners of the country's public life. So far the news has been complicated by the fact that documents in the case have been published pell-mell in order to forestall the Communist member of the Commission who was making them available to the newspaper Humanize, but as time goes on its implications become steadily more serious. There is a curious parallel with the case of Sydney Stanley in this country. in that, however much the threads are multiplied and crossed, an astonishing number of them lead to a single individual, the "contact man," M. Peyre. Affairs like this have been known to shake French politics to the core and bring down Governments.