2015 年 2013 巻 173 号 p. 173_28-173_42
This paper aims to analyze Anglo-French relations during the first half of the Algerian War (1954–1957) focusing on the perceptions and attitude of the British Foreign Office (BFO) toward the French Algerian problem. What did the British think of this colonial conflict? How did their attitude toward France change? What differences can be observed between BFO bureaucrats in London and the British Ambassador in Paris?
France made efforts to ask her NATO allies to support her in order to defend her position in Algeria and fight against the Afro-Asian bloc, which demanded the independence of Algeria in the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The British supported the French position formally but were careful not to go too far fearing that it would damage the dignity and interests of Britain in Africa and the Middle East. The African Department at the BFO thought that supporting the French position in Algeria was different from supporting the day-to-day French policy there another. The Western Organizations Department feared that deploying French troops under NATO to North Africa would make defense forces in the central sector of Europe vulnerable.
On the other hand, Gladwyn Jebb, the British Ambassador in Paris then, tried to ardently express and promote British support to France by making good use of Cold War rhetoric, insisting that the triumph of Algerian nationalist movements and the retreat of France would bring about a vacuum of power and put not only Algeria but also the whole of North Africa in the orbit of Soviet communism.
The British continued to formally support France hoping for a liberal solution to the Algerian conflict, which was regarded as a French internal problem by the British. As terrorism in Algeria worsened and the French Army continued to be unable to defeat the nationalist forces, the British began to discreetly shift their attitude. The African Department thought that it was essential to provide a political solution to the conflict, for which the autonomy or independence of Algeria was considered. Jebb’s Cold War rhetoric became less effective in the BFO.
The British intended to cooperate with the Americans to realize a cease-fire in Algeria and keep North Africa on the Western side. They tried to exercise their prudent and informal influence on France to make more efforts to attain a liberal solution, while continuing to provide France their formal support in the United Nations.
When the British and Americans were forced to comply with Tunisian requests of arms supply, which the Tunisians would otherwise order from Egypt or Soviet Union, Anglo-French relations became tense and entered a critical phase.