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December 9, 2016
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February 12, 1999
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June 20, 1957
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Approved For Reisese 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79T0W7A000500030021-2A.1/2 mmEmiiiman CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY OFFICE OF NATIONAL ESTIMATES STAFF MEMORANDUM NO. 35-57 SUBJECT: France and the Algerian Problee 20 June 1957 8 9 GpsoioriNT NO. ....*1.......-^0...*????......00.01.110...???74 NO CHANGE IN CLASS. it At DECLASSIFIED CLASS. CHANGED TO: IS S C NEXT REVIEW DATE. ADALtuTtit; R 10-2rtEvieelem 410 cow 1, The effects of the Algerian conflict on France's political and economic position and its relatiana with Africa have assumed critical proportions during 1957. The Algerian issue in varying degrees has greatly affected France's current financial crisis, the fall of the Monet governmentl the imbroglio with Tunisia, and the entire range of French foreign policiee. An outburst of terrorism and rioting in % Algiers preceded the Botabges-Maunoury government's entry into office earlier this month. In these circumstances, two questions appear to require special consideration: (a) whether any real change in France's Algerian policy is likely this summers, and (b) whether the French administration in Algeria, if not the Fourth Republica is likely to be drastically altered during this p3riod as a consequence. Our present answer to both questions is in the negative? This memorandum which has been discussed with CCI, is an interim assessment pending a new NIE on France (inchuding Algeria) now scheduled for 1 August production. Approved For Release 200ONSP79T00937A000500030021-2 Approved For Wease 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP791443937A000500030021-2 a SECRET 2. The Situation in Algadja0 Whereas it was possible last summer to envisage the development of a more liberal French policy toward Algeria, the impact of the Suez intervention on France dictated a different courso of event s? Beginning with the arrival of General Massu mmd his paratroopers in Januarys a renewed emphasis was placed on the repressive rather than the reforming aspects of Minister Resident Lacostees "pacification" policy for Algeria. It is true that Lacoste perservered with his adminintrative and other reforms -- most of which have been embodied in apecial legislation -- but the relative failure of these plans has been widely recognized for months. Moreover, the need to give French army officer? administrative functions which otherwise could not have been fulfilled has tended to entrench the army in control of Algeria. During the same periods Mallet was being forced away from the original conditions of his January "cease-fire" offers and toward adamant support for Lacoste. These trends have resulted in increasing power for the French ailpys, the rode. tion of French informal contacts with the rebel FLN (National Front) leaderss and a widening gulf between the European and Moslem communities. 30 On its side, the FLN has apparently made aubstantial. gains in over-all strengths although the numbers of its "Liberation Armr (ALN) Lave remained roughly constant at about 20-259000 over the paat year. There are reports of confusion and jealousy saong the FLN-ALN member - 2 - MGM Approved For Release 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2 Approved For Rigease 2000/08/05M2NA-RDP79T9a637A000500030021-2 rivalry between them and the older UNA (Algerian National Movement, whose limited strmulai consists mainly of North Africans in Frame.), and tribal feuding in remote areas. The nationalist uovecent as a whole nevertheleas seem to maintain its high morale. It is receivinG ample materiel an moral support from other Arab areas, it has at least the tacit support of the majority of Algerians Ivao are being alienated by French securi* measures -- and its increasiagly heavy casualties appear to be reAmmxisithout much difficulty. The FLN continues to insist as embalm upon French recognition of the principle of Algerian independence, and it has rejected both the cease?fire offer and Tunisian Premier Bourguibags suggestions for a test of French intentions. It. The fall of the Monet government an 21 May stimulated the FLN to fresh terrorist activity, largely designed to attract international attem- tion and to impress both the Algerian populace and the next French cabinet with the failure of pacification and the need for an accommodation with the nationalist movement. This remains the most likely explanation of the massacre near *Ulna at the end of May, although tribal feuds may have played an important role. The several explosions in Algiers early this month were clearer cases of nationalist terrorism, and provoked a significant reaction in the colon rioting 4nost3,y by students and veterans) of 11 Jane, which to some extent played into FLN hands. The return of an uneasy calm to the capital has been accompanied by a growing colon realization of the futility of the outburst; the influence of more moderate European leaders in Algiers appears to have at least temporarily increased. ? 3 ? Approved For Release 2000/08/WRMA-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2 Approved For RAgease 2000/0ENQTRECIA-RDP79T86937A000500030021-2 50 Concern over these events in Algeria, as well as riots and assassinations in France itself, has been reflected in changed French tactics, but not in Frew% policy. The present government in some rril has talons firmer position than its predecessor on quelling the rebel- lion. The conflict has gained a new intensity and dimension; the French have announced a large-scale air operation against rebel bands near Philippeville, and recent troop clashes have involved larger numbers and caeualties. Moreover, the French command apparently has decided that protection cannot be afforded all areas at once, and that some will have to be left unguarded in order to concentrate on pacifying certain regions. This will almost certainly result in more stringent French measures in such regions and increased rebel activities in the unprotected areas. The FLU will probably do its utmost to discomfit France prior to the UN General Assembly session early this fall. Con. tinued and heightened violende thus seems in store for Algeria over the next few months* 6. .11#2.1aonmaltigcluff2Eftsgbjcata. In this situation, pressure for a new French policy in Algeria is mounting and a willing. mess to discuss the problem objectively is becoming more pregnant. An element of the French press has been discuss the Algerian problem over the last several months in terms other than solely a passionate defense of current poli . This is apart from the emotional - 4 - SECRET Approved For Release 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2 Approved For W./ease 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP791191937A000500030021-2 SECRET to Servan-Schrieberts lama attaek on French "pacifloationn tactios0 Moreover, a number of politiolans #s well as political commentators are privately conceding the eventual French loss of Algeria? Muller but unexpressed fears are beginning to affect a segment of the public? 70 The bulk of the preseures for a change are concerned with the oversell French position viass Africa? Beading the list are the considerations arming fram the much-publicized oil discoveries and in the Sahara? TO refloat their importance,Aconomie organization to exploit the many Saharan natural resources was set up some months ago by the French, and the present French cabinet inoludes a new Minister for the Sahara, There is a growing realization that ,the present Algerian strife is incompatible with plans to extract the oil, and to build and maintain pipelines, Bence there are indications of a changing attitude toward the Algerian rebellion not only among business interests both in France and Algeria, but alsoiwithilikagat political ciroles in the metropole -- although the latter development is still highly tenuous? 8, But the Sahara and its resources are not confined to Algeria; Frene West and Equatorial Africa and Morocco are alai) involved in these economic considerations. Behind the French anwitiort and current appli- cation of the leiARe to the Troploal Afrioan territories lies the belief that such aotion Is vitally needed to prevent the spread of the Algerian infection and to insure future Frenah aooess to Saharan resources? - 5 - szcamr Approved For Release 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2 Approved For Release 2000/08EgIA-RDP79T0?937A000500030021-2 Moreover:, the French risked causing the breakdown of negotiations for the European common market in Order to obtain assistance in developtug Africaoo resources. While France thus has a strong interest in the peaceful development of areae bordering Algerian those areas themselves have no less a stake in avoiding hostilities and obtaining French financial aid. Both Premier Bourguiba and the Sultan of Morocco have attempted to mediate between the Algerian rebels and the French, and they are likely to inorease their efforts to bring about an Algerian settlement. A further attempt at mediation ee by Frances partners in the Coal and Steel Community nay be developing this fall in comm .- tion with plans to associate Morocco and Tunisia with the common market project? 9. 'Another salient aspect of the pressures for a changed French policy toward Algeria is the cost of reeressing the rebellion -e well over one billion dollars a year. While a substantial portion of this sum would not be "found money" in the event of an Algerian settlemente the continued conflict contributes greatly to the French inflationary problem ee specifically the billfor imports. The French Assembly has shown a not unprecedented reluctance to pay for the consequences of policies it supports. Thus the who have been the staunchest advocates of a firm stand in Algeria, overthrew AbIlet when he nth- mitted the bills although they had the excuse of having opposed his social expenditures. The present government is in the process of sub,. mitting an even larger bill, but one designed to bear less heavily on the business comeunity. 6 'MEET Approved For Release 2000/uwut : CIA-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2 Approved For Wease 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79T40937A000500030021-2 sEGRef 10. In this connection, the proportions of the French Socialist Party's dilemma over Algeria are likely to expand. A snail but growing minority of the SFIO &puttee has been opposed to the Algerian policy espoused by its chief. This opposition was muffled while Monet was premier and continues to be inhibited by the presence of SFIO ministers in the present cabinet, but the collective Socialist conscience is likely to be increasingly pricked by developments in Algeria, The financial policies of the Bowies governmentp especially if it shows undue concern for business seneitivities, probably will make it easier for the Socialist conscience to operate. Reversal of French trade liberalization within ?EEC is already causing much concern, particularly with regard to prospects for ratification of the common market project. Its Socialist position with respect to the present governments over-all policies may be subjected to considerable criticiem at the SFIO national congress later this month. 11. Agl_Sme for thgAtAIMIL2te, The above pressures for a changed Algrial policy for the most partmey still be too inchoate and too logically, rather than emotionally? based to have =incisive effect in the near future. The French government, political parties, and public to a considerable extent remain prisoners of the intense nationalist sentiment and propaganda which were evoked by the Suez affair. Proponents of any substantial change in the Algerian relationship with France are liable to be charged with ?abandonment" of Algeria if not with betrayal - 7 - Approved For Release 2000/08/00E.CM-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2 Approved For Ittease 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79149937A000500030021-2 SECRET of the army. The French army has to a large degree committed its prestige in Algeria, and tide to regard its past traditions and future position as being at stake. There is, in addition, the recurring theme that any fundamental French policy shift would mean desertion of "one million Frenchmen", a thesis which is not shaken by the fact that it is doubtful whether even a majority of the colons originally derived from metropolitan France. 12, In determining its policy, the French government must confront the speetres of an army coup or a colon uprising, We believe that either contingency is highly unlikely except in the event of an abrupt and drastic change in French policy, which is equally improbable at present, The colons are not wholly of one mind with respect to rigid insistence on the present policy. Their influence has declined somewhA as a result of their inability to prevent some of the Lacoste refOrms, and they are un. likely to attempt rebellion or concerted and sustained violence to pressure the goverawantvd.thout the support or at least the sympathy of the army, The latter generally stood by during the recent riots and gave only minimal protection to the Moslems; it might take the same attitude toward further similar incidents involving the colons, However, army support for more extreme colon actiorkprobably would entail a readiness to under? take a military coup, There is considerable dissatisfaction among regular army officers in Algeria regarding past French policies, but there is SECRET Approved For Release 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2 Approved ForRelease2000/08107 : CIA-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2 *410 Nom, SECRET little evidence that they are thinking in terms of a coup. There are even fewer indications of any serious planning for a coup in France itself. While the usual speculation about de Gaulle was prevalent during the recent political "crisis", it is partisularly unlikely that the general -- who had always insisted on a legal devolution of power -- would attempt to take the reins over the Algerian issue. Indeed, there is reason to believe triatt his attitude toward Nort. Africa is not very different from that Mendes-France. 13. The Short-l)rm OutloOk. Bourges-Naunoury, while declaring his attachment to the Mollet-Lacoste policies, has stated his intention to: (a) pursue "profound administrative reforms" with the eventual objective of abolishing the goveonment-gemeral and replacing it with a decentraliaed administration; and ()) propose a "loi cadre" for a new Algerial political etructure, starting with local institutions and proceeding upward by slow stages. These programs appear to promise little beyond theplans a1r4ady launched by Lacoste without much effect, lare probable eine qua lam for an Algerian.settlament is French negotiation with the rebel leaders. No French governaert is likely to attempt, official talks with the Algerians -during thee summer months except on terms ahich would probably be unaccepthble .o the rebels. While it is possible that the former unofficial contacts might be reestablished, the Frena are unlikely in this period to make conceseions sufficient to bring - 9 - SECRET Approved For Release 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2 Approved For Re%Ise 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79T009J7A000500030021-2 , ?AMENS% the nationalists to the conference table. Not only the preeiees past performance and current predelictions, but his need for rightist votes in the Assembly would preclude such concession 14. Thus it is unlikely that there will be any fundamental change in French policy leading toward an Algerian settlement before next fall. Since we estimate that Houraa has only a somewhat better than even chance of retaining office until the AsseMbly summer recess* it is possible that the above judgmente might be vitiated by his overthrow? However, we believe that these judgments depend much more upon the nature of the Assembly and French cpinion than on the character of the premier, and that they mould remain valid during the next few months. 25X1A9a ? 10 AireWA. Approved For Release 2000/08/07 : CIA-RDP79T00937A000500030021-2