Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 18, September 1997
Remarks by French President'Interview given by M. Jacques Chirac, President of Republic, to the German Magazine "Focus", Munich, 15 September 1997,' French Foreign Ministry Bulletin d'Information en Langue Anglaise, 19 September 1997
"Question: 'The area where France's position is the most vulnerable is that of its nuclear policy. To what extent can the French deterrent force be integrated?'
The President: 'This is a difficult question, which has to be raised - and France isn't at all against that - but which can't be dealt with in public.'
Question: 'Would you be willing to make a new offer to Germany on this issue?'
The President: 'As you know, these issues arouse passions and I think they have to be discussed rationally. With Germany, there are no taboo subjects for France. With Germany we are always ready to discuss. I think the reality and solidity of the Franco-German tie[s] are often underestimated. I think that it's growing stronger year by year, particularly with the younger generations coming through. It now seems to everyone both normal and necessary, and so we are people who can talk to each other about everything.'
Question: 'That means that you could imagine the German position on nuclear weapons changing too, since, as you know, at the moment in Germany people say: "we don't want to have a finger on the nuclear button".'
The President: 'I'm not asking for anything. We are friends and naturally we respect the German position. Let's simply say that we are open to any discussion, but above all we respect the German position. It presents no problem. I have never had the slightest difference of opinion with the Chancellor in this sphere. To tell the truth, I have, in fact, never had a serious difference of opinion with the Chancellor.'"
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