White political leaders did not call for any anti-[Francois Mitterrand] demonstration, which would be against the law in the present state of emergency there. But anonymous tracts circulated throughout Noumea, the white-dominated capital, urging a massive display of the French flag during Mitterrand's visit and a silent pouring into the streets of all those opposed to any form of independence.
There was little doubt that Mitterrand's decision to go to New Caledonia surprised many of his aides. It was not even clear that he had informed Edgard Pisani, the French government representative in New Caledonia, of his plans.
The increasing violence, which has claimed the lives of at least 18 people, mostly Kanaks, in the last two months, has made it more and more difficult for the whites and Kanaks to compromise their differences. In fact, some news reports from New Caledonia indicate that the Pisani plan is practically dead and that it will be nearly impossible for Mitterrand to resurrect it.