Barack Obama rejects Normandy trip to avoid offending Germany





Barack Obama, concerned about offending Britain and Germany, rebuffed strenuous attempts by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France to persuade the new American president to make a trip to Normandy this week.

White House officials travelled to France at the start of March to discuss a visit by Mr Obama to Omaha Beach, the site of the American Cemetery, established in 1944 just after D-Day and where 9,387 American personnel are buried. Among them is Theodore Roosevelt Jr the eldest son of the 26th US President.

"It wasn't going to happen," said an American official in Washington. "We went through the motions to placate President Sarkozy but giving special treatment to France was not on our agenda.

"During this trip, we wanted to maintain a balance between the British, German and France". A White House spokesman in London declined to comment. Last month, White House officials briefed that a Normandy visit had been considered but it had not been logistically possible.

French officials and senior American military officers walked with White House staff through the cemetery discussing how the two presidents might follow the same route. But even before their trip, the White House had decided that Mr Obama would not travel there this week.

According to French reports, Mr Obama was to visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-mer, just north of Omaha Beach. The pair were apparently to have dined at the nearby chateau de Bénouville in Caen.

The White House rejected the offer, but Mr Sarkozy's most senior aide said Mr Obama had agreed to come back in June for the 65th anniversary of the June 6th 1944, D-Day landings. A White House spokesman declined to comment on whether Mr Obama would travel to France in June.

comments powered by Disqus
History News Network