Jacques Foccart
Eminence grise for African affairs
in Francophone Africa at fifty
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As early as 1960, Jacques Foccart emerged as the main architect of the political construct that Jean-Pierre Dozon described as L'Etat francais contemporain et son double, l'Etat franco-africain. Foccart's actual political career began with the French Resistance: under the name of Binot, he enlisted in the Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action (BCRA) in occupied France and became head of the M area network (Maine- Anjou). Foccart moulded his pragmatic approach to problems by learning how to manoeuvre skilfully among the different Gaullist currents and charting a course that was likely to solve African colonial issues. Foccart's first mission was to elicit a positive response to the 1958 constitutional referendum as he organised De Gaulle's tour through France's African colonies of Madagascar, French Equatorial Africa (AEF) and French West Africa (AOF). When Valery Giscard d'Estaing won the 1974 presidential elections, he disbanded Foccart's office, and dismissed the Gaullist adviser.

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