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Extract From The Proceedings Of The Meeting Of The National Assembly Of Thursday, 8The April, 1954

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 13 April 1954

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Fiftieth Anniversary of the Entente Cordiate

THE PRESIDENT.—Ladies and Gentlemen—Fifty years ago today on 8th April, 1904, the Representatives of the French Republic and Great Britain signed a protocol which brought into being what is known as the Entente Cordiale. For half a century the relations between these two great countries have been growing ever closer and more friendly in every sphere, both during peace and the severe tests and sacrifices of two wars.

Franco-British friendship and solidarity, shown once again only recently by the Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance signed at Dunkirk, have been and still remain among the most solid foundations for the defence of the world's peace and freedom.

On the occasion of this anniversary, I am sure that the French National Assembly will wish to send the Parliament of Great Britain an expression of its warm appreciation and loyalty to the principles of the Entente Cordiale. [Deputies on the left, centre, right and extreme right rise and applaud.]

M. JOSEPH LANIEL, Prime Minister.— Rose.

THE PRESIDENT.—The Prime Minister.

THE PRIME MINISTER.—I desire to associate the Government with what has just been said by the President of the National Assembly and to send France's best wishes to her great partner in the Entente Cordiale.

It is a good thing that the fiftieth anniversary of this Alliance should allow us to rise for a moment above our day-to-day difficulties and should invite us to take a serious look at our situation.

After a thousand years of rivalry which led to growing understanding and mutual esteem England and France realized at last the advantages that both would gain from a friendship indispensable to the defence of their common ideals.

Thanks to the wisdom of a few statesmen, public opinion in 1904 was led to appreciate that our minor differences could no longer be allowed to prevail against the imperative need for unity.

Fifty years after its birth the Entente Cordiale still retains its full value. Its example today is as cogent as ever. [Applause from the left to the extreme right.]