President Jacques Chirac
September 11, 2001

My dear compatriots,

The attacks that struck the United States today are a terrible tragedy. Never has any country in the world been the target of terrorist attacks of such scope or of such violence.

I want to convey to the American people once again the solidarity of the entire French people during this tragic ordeal. Our thoughts go out in particular to all the victims, to their families, and to their dear ones.

What happened in the United States concerns us all. I can imagine the feelings of each and every one of you this evening--feelings of horror and perhaps anxiety--and I thought it was my duty to speak to you.

At this stage, we do not know either the authors or the reasons for these barbarous acts. However, the situation requires sang-froid as well as vigilance and mobilization.

That is why I called a meeting of my principle cabinet members this evening at the Elysée, attended by the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense, the Interior and Transportation

The Government immediately took the necessary precautionary measures, and the Vigipirate plan, which you are already familiar with, was put into effect. We are acting in close coordination with the Prime Minister, of course, and naturally all government authorities have been mobilized.

In addition, I am in contact with other European leaders, so that we may be sure that our decisions are properly coordinated. And I have just had long conversations in particular with the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

France knows that fighting terrorism effectively can only be done through determined, collective action. And it will do what must be done.