Monday, March 31, 2003

United States and France sign cooperative accord; U.S. takes command of French warship!

From today’s Washington Times:

French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte will sign an accord today giving the United States command of the French warship La Belle.

The only problem is that the ship sank in the 17th century in the Gulf of Mexico, about 75 miles west of Houston.

Still, this is the best sign of French-American cooperation since France took the lead of the antiwar faction in the U.N. Security Council to try to block the U.S. attack against Iraq that began March 19.

The accord "highlights U.S.-French common interests and cooperation in regard to ownership, research, preservation and display of historic warships," the State Department said last week.

The wreck was discovered in 1995 and raised to be put on display at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. The ship sank in 1686 in an expedition led by the French explorer Rene-Robert de La Salle.

Mr. Levitte is to sign the agreement in the elegant Treaty Room of the State Department. Under the accord, the United States will recognize the warship as French property, and France will turn over custody of the wreckage to the Texas Historical Society. The accord calls for the agreement to be renewed every 99 years.

Viva la France!

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