Hélou, Charles (Lebanon)

Reference work entry


Hélou’s presidency from 1964–70 spanned the Arab-Israeli Six-day war of 1967 and its immediate aftermath. The most significant repercussion for Lebanon was the increased Palestinian encroachment on its territory as a base for guerrilla operations against Israel and the upsetting of the balance between Muslim and Christian Lebanese which led to civil war in 1975.

Early Life

Born on 25 Dec. 1912 and educated at the Christian Jesuit St. Joseph University in Beirut, Hélou began his working life as a lawyer and journalist. He was appointed Lebanese ambassador to the Vatican in 1947, elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1951, and served as minister of justice and health in1954–55 and of education in early 1964.

Career Peak

In Aug. 1964 Hélou was elected by the National Assembly to succeed Fuad Chehab as state president. Volatile regional politics overshadowed his 6 year term of office as he faced irreconcilable demands: from the guerrillas of the Palestinian refugee community...

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