From the New York Times: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told French officials Monday that he was concerned about their plans to sell Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to Russia, although there is little if anything the United States could do to block the deal, officials said…

Mr. Gates chose the well-known diplomatic code for disagreement in describing his discussion of the arms sale with his French counterpart, Defense Minister Hervé Morin.

“I think I would just say that we had a good and thorough exchange of views,” Mr. Gates said.

Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said later that Mr. Gates’s meetings here were “very amicable and positive” on issues that included the NATO effort in Afghanistan, but that Mr. Gates “made our concerns very clear” on the arms sale. (photo: Daily Mail)