The French term for [Mikhail S. Gorbachev] is le numero un Sovietique, translated as the Soviet No. 1. Although he is not technically a head of state, he has been treated as one by everyone from Mitterrand on down. Even so, a Soviet briefing on Gorbachev's new arms control proposals was shunted to a tiny basement room because the main hall was occupied by a French government news conference on sexual harassment.
The French Communist Party, despite occasional moments of tension, considers itself close to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. French Communist Party Secretary General Georges Marchais could not keep from making an unscheduled visit to the Lenin museum-a shrine of communism-when Gorbachev, general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, made a stop there on Friday afternoon. Gorbachev kissed Marchais on both cheeks.