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General de Gaulle and La Minerva

General de Gaulle was sincerely and deeply touched by the disappearance of La Minerve.

In 2003 during a private audience that I had requested,  the Minister of Defense of 1968,Pierre Messmer,  will tell us, to me and Christophe Agnus, son of LV Agnus, how the General perceived the drama.

Pierre Messmer woke the general in the middle of the night to warn him of the disappearance of the submarine Minerve. This news surprised him. That a military ship could vanish without a trace seemed unimaginable to him. He kept himself personally informed of the progress of the research.

Very quickly, he made the decision to attend in person the national tribute ceremony on February 8 in Toulon. That  was not obvious. Thus,  two years later, his successor, Georges Pompidou, will not come to the Eurydice ceremony.

Pierre Messmer adds that  General de Gaulle was convinced that he was not being told the whole truthand that the military hierarchy was hiding something from him.  He decided with the utmost discretion to conduct his investigation personally. This is one of the reasons that prompted him, to everyone's surprise, without the military hierarchy being informed beforehand, to dive aboard the Eurydice. This was to enable him to establish direct contact with the crewto form an opinion.


The General will return from his dive without knowing more as he will tell Pierre Messmer. The mystery remained entire, for him as for everyone.

In his memoirs Admiral Philippe de Gaulle recounts :


“  Every man has armor, but most don';t know how to wear it. No more than I have seen him except in a three-piece suit or in uniform as soon as he left his room, I have never seen him without this armor. Perhaps he only made one exception: when the submarine Minerve disappeared on January 27, 1968.

The comments he made to me on this subject testified to great emotion and contradicted the indifference that some journalists had falsely attributed to him. Remember that after attending the mass for the dead on the place d'armes in Toulon and meeting the submariners and their families, he wanted to go out to sea to dive aboard the Eurydice submarine of the same type. than the lost boat. »


Philippe de Gaulle further writes “ We also saw his sleeve adorned with this sign of mourning (a black armband on the left arm) for a month after the tragic disappearance of the MINERVE submariners."

Photo of General de Gaulle with the dedication he left to the sailors of the Eurydice on February 8, 1968.

The dedication is:

"To the submarine Eurydice in testimony and in memory of Minerva""

This photo is since 2010 in the office of the commander of the squadron of nuclear attack submarines.

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