France, NATO, and Regional Conflict in Africa

  • John Chipman


From the end of the Second World War, France’s commitments in the African continent have had a major impact on the formulation of her declaratory policies as well as on the substance of her defence plans. Immediately after the war, the defence of North Africa and of the ‘French Union’ virtually received a higher priority than the defence of Europe, where a fresh outbreak of hostilities seemed unlikely.1 Once negotiations on the Atlantic Treaty began, France made substantial efforts to use the Atlantic framework to retain her colonial possessions, by insisting that the United States consider giving greater commitments to Allied interests outside the treaty area.2 The reluctance of the United States to do so (despite the initial inclusion of France’s North African territories within the Treaty area), must be seen as one of the root causes of France’s later desire for independence within the Atlantic Alliance. Since many of France’s major military responsibilities were in areas not covered by the Alliance, it would eventually appear proper and logical that France take a more aloof stand in respect of direct collaboration for European defence. France would ‘independently’ prepare for her defence within Europe, just as she was ‘forced’ to stand alone in defence of her outside obligations in Africa.


Foreign Policy Ivory Coast African State French Government Regional Conflict 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Jacques Frémaux and André Martel, ‘French Defence Policy 1947–1949’, in Olav Riste (ed.), Western Security: The Formative Years (Norwegian University Press, Oslo, 1985) p. 93.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Marcel J. Jeanneney, Rapportsur la Politique de Cooperation avec les Pays en voie de Developpement, La Documentation Française, Paris, 1964, pp. 43–4.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Raoul Giradet, L’Idée Coloniale en France (1871–1962), Paris, Table Ronde, 1972, p. 196.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    For a recent report that explains how French aid to the Third World affects employment levels in France, see Yves Berthelot and Jacques de Bandt, Impact des relations avec le Tiers Monde sur l’Economie Française, La Documentation Française, Paris 1982.Google Scholar
  5. 31.
    George E. Moose, ‘French Military Policy in Africa’, in William J. Foltz and Henry S. Bienen, Arms and the African: Military Influences on Africa’s International Relations, Yale, 1985, p. 70.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal United Services Institute 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Chipman

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