4 June 1958 - Speech made in Algiers
I have understood you!
I know what has happened here. I see what you wanted to achieve. I see that the road you have opened up in Algeria is one of renewal and fraternity.
I say renewal in every respect. But, quite rightly, you wanted this to begin at the beginning, that is to say with our institutions, and that is why I am here. And I say fraternity because you offer the magnificent spectacle of men who, from one end of the spectrum to the other, irrespective of their community, commune with the same ardour and stand hand in hand.
Well, I take note of all these facts in the name of France and I declare that, as from today, France considers that in the whole of Algeria there is only category of inhabitant: there are none here but fully-fledged Frenchmen, fully-fledged Frenchmen with the same rights and the same duties.
That is to say that avenues must be opened up which, until now, have been closed to many.
That is to say that the means to live must be given to those that lacked them.
That is to say that dignity must be allowed to those for whom once it was contested.
That is to say that a homeland must be guaranteed to those who doubted that they had one.
The army, the French army, united, ardent, disciplined, under the orders of its commanders, the army that has been tried and tested in so many circumstances and which here, too, has accomplished a magnificent task of understanding and pacification, the French army here has been the ferment, the witness and the guarantor of the movement that has taken shape.
The army has dammed the mountain stream to capture its energy. I pay homage to that army. I express my confidence in it, and I count on it now and in the future.
Fully-fledged Frenchmen, in a single electoral college. As we will demonstrate, in just three months from now, on the solemn occasion when all French men and women, including the 10 million French men and women of Algeria, will be called upon to decide their own destiny.
For these 10 million French people, their votes will count as much as the votes of all the others.
They will be called upon to appoint, to elect – let me repeat it - in a single college their representatives to public office, as will all other French men and women.
Once those representatives are elected, we will see how the rest can be achieved.
May all those who live in your towns, your douars, your plains, your djebels, participate en masse! And may they also take part who, under the promptings of despair, have thought it their duty to engage here in a combat which I recognise as courageous - for courage is not lacking in this land of Algeria - courageous but yet no less cruel and fratricidal.
Yes, even to these, I , de Gaulle, open the doors of reconciliation.
Never more than here, and never more than this evening, have I understood how fine, how great, how generous is France!
Long live the republic !
Long live France !