President Jacques Chirac, who has just rushed to the military hospital in Clamart to be at Yasser Arafat’s bedside, took time off to pen a letter to his American colleague. My translation [handwritten bits in bold]:
Mister President, Dear George
In the name of France and in my personal name, I wish to express to you my most hearty congratulations for your re-election to the Presidency of the United States of America.
I make the wish that your second mandate will be the opportunity to reinforce franco-american friendship. The ceremonies for the sixtieth anniversary of the landings paid a shining hommage to the American soldiers who fell on the Normandy beaches for our freedom and that of Europe.
It is in the spirit of dialogue, esteem and mutual respect that our co-operation, our common combat against terrorism and the action that we carry out together to promote liberty and democracy, must continue.
We cannot find satisfactory answers to the numerous challenges against which we are confronted today without a close transatlantic partnership. The United States and France are called upon to play in this an essential role. We share the ambition of assuring to the greatest number peace, security and prosperity, in the spirit of solidarity [this usually means entitlement programs in French]. I am convinced that together, we can get there.
I beg you to believe, Mister President, of the assurance of my very high opinion of you. and of my very cordial friendship
I bet that was painless. Oh and I hope that the President Chirac is careful in his motorcade coming home from Clamart. That’s right next to the road junction where the OAS tried to assassinate General de Gaulle (as seen in the Day of the Jackal) in 1962. And we would not want anything to happen to Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat’s favourite Frenchman.