Maurice Vaisse interview Sciences Po Paris 2017

Sciences Po, Paris, January 2017.

Published: 18.11.2017

What's this about

  • Maurice Vaïsse is one of the preeminent  historians of international relations. 
  • His research foci are foreign policy history of France; defense strategies of states; war and peace. 
  • His books include   "Les relations internationales depuis 1945.  Paris. 2005" and  "La Grandeur. Politique étrangère du général de Gaulle (1958–1969), Paris, 1998"
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Maurice Vaïsse

In this interview Maurice Vaïsse discusses President Charles De Gaulle’s relation with the Mediterranean area. Professor Vaïsse explains how the French statesman thought it was necessary to maintain the unity of France´s colonial empire even after 1945 in order to secure France’s sovereignty from abroad.

"As for the Mediterranean Sea, De Gaulle did not worry about immediately after the war. He believed in the Empire. He thought that reforms should probably be completed, but that France with its empire would still be a power that counts. And, that is why, the empire should not be parted with.  We cannot say that at the time there was a Soviet threat in the Mediterranean Sea.  De Gaulle was willing to maintain French presence and sovereignty either with Tunisia, Algeria or Morocco.  

And there even is an interesting problem for De Gaulle at that time with Libya. More precisely in what we call Tripolitania. After the Second World War the Italians would have liked to keep some of their old colonies, but following the defeat of Italy and because she was among the defeated at the end of the war, the Italian  possessions were put under the mandate of the United Nations; It was planned  that they would slowly evolve towards autonomy or independence.Meanwhile  France and De Gaulle reacted even quite vehemently to this, thinking that if Libya is granted first autonomy and then independence, then afterwards the other countries of North Africa: Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco may be willing to try to do the same as well."