30 JULY 1948, Page 1

Another French Cabinet

In the days of the Third Republic, at moments when the Chamber found itself in a state of complete deadlock and demoralisation, which was fairly frequently, it would sometimes fall back on the device known as a Government of National Union. That is to say the eldest sons of the Republic were gathered into a coalition Cabinet which, if its powers of action were limited, at least gave an im- pression of solidity and calm. The Government which the Radical M. Andre Marie has heroically got together this week is the nearest approach possible to such a device, at a time when Communists on the Left and Gaullists on the Right stand apart from all coalitions and even the pretence of national union is dead. The Cabinet abounds in eminence. M. Reynaud brings his great talents and determination to the post of Finance Minister ; the Foreign Affairs portfolio goes to a solid Lorrainer, the ex-Premier M. Schuman ; and the great Socialist M. Blum once more offers his faithful service as some atonement for the shameful behaviour of other members of his party. M. Marie, fighting down the weakness of the Radical Party, the deep disagreements of his colleagues, the universal attempt to curry favour before the local elections in October, and the burden of ill-health he brought from a German concentration camp, is making a brave show of determination and responsibility. He declares that his is no stop-gap Government, that his programme will be one of real advance and not of face-saving compromises, and that he will do his best to restore confidence in the authority of the Republic. Such courage deserves to succeed ; and the completely unexpected sometimes happens in French politics. If M. Marie's Government survives October the unexpected will have happened again.