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French-Egyptian Relations Before the Suez Crisis (1954-1956)

Abstract : In 1954, Pierre Mendès France, head of the French government, sought to redefine France's policy in the Middle East in order to reinforce the country's international position. Israel, Syria and Egypt were thought to be the key countries. France and Egypt already held close economic and cultural ties but their opposition to the Baghdad Pact (Middle East Treaty Organization, later Central Treaty Organization), founded in 1955 by Turkey, Iraq, United Kingdom, Iran and Pakistan, gave common ground for further rapproachment and even development of military relations. However, what determined the French-Egyptian relations in the short term was the escalation of the Algerian war of independence. Indeed, Egypt's relations with the Algerian nationalists and the sharp divisions that arose within the French government over the question of whether to preserve military relations with Egypt and Israel at once, in combination with total disagreement between diplomats and the French defence establishment over general foreign policy goals, eventually undermined the French-Egyptian relations. By the time Nasser announced the nationalization of the Suez Company in the summer 1956, relations between France and Egypt had already collapsed after the Guy Mollet government silenced its opposition to the Baghdad Pact for the sake of French-British relations and intensified military relations with Israel through the secret Vermars agreement.
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Contributor : Sofia Papastamkou <>
Submitted on : Friday, July 22, 2016 - 8:01:02 AM
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Sofia Papastamkou. French-Egyptian Relations Before the Suez Crisis (1954-1956). Philippe Vial; Georges-Henri Soutou; Robert Frank ; Martin Alexander. Les Occidentaux et la crise de Suez : une relecture politico-militaire, Publications de la Sorbonne, pp.77-94, 2015, 978-2-85944-769-4. ⟨halshs-01346429⟩



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