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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Quelques Satisfactions d'Amour-Propre: African Elite Integration, the Loi-Cadre, and Involuntary Decolonisation in French Tropical Africa
Author:Keese, AlexanderISNI
Periodical:Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
Geographic terms:French-speaking Africa
Subsaharan Africa
History and Exploration
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
Abstract:On 21 March 1956, the French Overseas Minister, Gaston Defferre, addressed the Assemblée Nationale, presenting a project with especially far-reaching implications. A loi-cadre was planned in order to enable a greater degree of participation by the indigenous populations in the overseas territories in sub-Saharan Africa. On the occasion of two ballots, Defferre's bill passed with a comfortable majority. The present paper argues that French overseas officials were astonishingly optimistic - even in 1955 - about the nature of the factors menacing the French presence in black Africa. They did not take seriously the possibility that nationalist movements could challenge their position. From the administrators' point of view, the sub-Saharan African territories harboured a constellation of only two constituents: notorious communist agitators docile to Moscow and educated native évolués greedy for influence who could be lured by communist slogans. So it was rather unintended by most that a surprisingly far-reaching solution was chosen, as a result of a personal configuration in the French Overseas Ministry and the disinterest of large parts of the Assemblée Nationale at the time of the vote. The consequences of the arrangement were completely unexpected from the point of view of the French officials. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]