No, really, we love the French. Honest.

An officer in the U.S. Naval reserve was attending a conference of officers from the U.S. navy and the French navy. At a cocktail reception, he found himself in a small group that included personnel from both navies.

A French admiral started complaining that whereas Europeans learned many languages, Americans learned only English. He then asked: \’Why is it that we have to speak English at these conferences rather than speak French?\’ Without hesitating, an American admiral replied: \’Maybe it\’s because the Brits,

Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn\’t have to speak German.\’

In 1966, upon being told that Charles de Gaulle had taken France out of NATO and that all U.S. troops must be evacuated from French soil, President Lyndon Johnson told Secretary of State Dean Rusk: \’Ask him about the cemeteries, Dean!\’

So, at end of the meeting, Dean asked de Gaulle if his order to remove all U.S. troops from French soil also included the 60,000 plus soldiers buried in France from World War I and World War II. De Gaulle never answered.

10 comments on “No, really, we love the French. Honest.

  1. Funny of course, but the bit about Europeans learning other languages is such bullshit. All that Europeans learn these days is English. The law firm where I work eventually gave up trying to recruit western Europeans for its East European and Asian offices, only Brits and Americans speak a wide variety of languages.

  2. I’m reminded of a line from a flame war on Usenet many years ago. A very angry American informed a Frenchman that

    ‘If it wasn’t for us Americans you French would all be speaking German’

    to which the Frenchman replied

    ‘If it wasn’t for us French you American’s would all be speaking English’.

  3. I never understood why people who had obviously taken a lot of effort to learn another language didn’t want to speak it.

  4. Engilsh is the world’s second language. The Chinese, Japenese, Koreans, Germans et al don’t learn English to talk to us, they learn it so they can talk to each other.

    Yes this makes us lazy, but if Fench, for example, had become the world’s second language we can be absolutely certain the French wouldn’t be learing any othe language and we would all be fluent French speakers.

  5. My uncle was career air force and had been stationed in France for 7 years when DeGaulle tossed all the Americans. All of a sudden, all the French people my aunt knew simply couldn’t understand her French.

  6. When I studied in China, the German and the Japanese students both said that what they got out of their time in China was a huge improvement in their English. It was of course the common language for the foreign students.

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