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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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sort that I recall doing during that whole period was one summer--I think it was the summer of '34--I was in Paris and was acquainted with Percy Phillip, who was then the Times correspondent in Paris. One day he asked me if I would be interested in covering a series of semi-secret meetings that were to be held the following morning by the Croix de Feu, the French fascist organization under a character named Colonel de la Rocque, who was very famous in those days. I think Percy really didn't want to get that early to go out and cover these meetings and he also knew that I had a car so I could go myself. And of course I jumped at the chance. It was all very exciting because there was a rendezvous where the people in the know plus a few newspaper people such as myself (but I went alone) met at a given point and then we dashed off into the surrounding countryside outside of Paris and de la Rocque would appear and make a speech before his followers. This was very much of a Nazi-type organization in France. And that particular day--it was in summer, probably July of '34 ['35?]--there was scheduled a series of these clandestine meetings in areas around Paris. And our little motorcade would go first to one and then another and de la Rocque appeared, if not at all of them, at one or two of them. I was covering this series of meetings which gave me a very fine insight, even though a very brief one, into this type of activity. I came back to Paris that evening and wrote Phillip's story for him, and somewhat to my amazement, it went into the front page of the Times the next day and the only thing he had changed was the lead. I thought my lead was better than his.


With his by-line?

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