In July 1954, the German daily newspaper Die Welt analyses the tensions existing between France and its protectorates in North Africa and speculates on the possibility of another war of independence in Morocco and Tunisia.
In October 1950, the Moroccan pro-independence party Istiqlal issues a press release in which it criticises the police repression of its members and calls on the people of Morocco to display political maturity and not to respond to what they see as provocation from French colonialists, who they claim want to slow the country’s journey to independence.
On 16 November 1950, the Moroccan pro-independence party Istiqlal emphasises the importance of abolishing the French protectorate in Morocco and welcomes the official request made recently by Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef for the 1912 Treaty of Fez to be repealed. Istiqlal sees the protectorate as a system of political, economic and social subordination of the Moroccan people which also entails the deprivation of liberties, censure and police repression.
On 30 March 1953, Abdelkader Benjelloun, acting Secretary of the Democratic Independence Party, sends a letter to General Augustin Guillaume, Resident-General of the French Republic in Morocco, in which he emphasises the roots of the strong Moroccan national sentiment, criticises the repression of many Moroccans by the French authorities and condemns the injustices of the current French protectorate regime in the country.
On 14 July 1953, French National Day, the Sultan of Morocco, Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef, sends a letter to the President of the French Republic in which he emphasises the strong historical links between the two countries and his desire to see the Moroccan people experience freedom and justice. The Sultan calls for discussions to be held on a programme of reforms to bring about progress in Morocco in the area of reciprocal rights.
On 28 September 1954, Mohamed Hassan Ouazzani, General Secretary of the Democratic Independence Party in Morocco, outlines the differences of opinion between Morocco and France concerning the future of the French protectorate in Morocco.
On 8 November 1954, the Moroccan Communist Party issues an appeal to the people of Morocco in which it criticises the policy of the French Government led by Pierre Mendès France and Francis Lacoste, French Resident-General in Morocco. The party calls on all nationalists to demonstrate unity within a national front in order to fight for the country’s independence, and emphasises the importance of recognition of the sovereignty of the people of Morocco in managing their own affairs.
On 19 October 1954, the Democratic Independence Party reviews the negotiations between France and Morocco on the future of the protectorate regime in Morocco and gives its views on how the crisis might be resolved. The party believes that it is important to take account of the determination of the Moroccan people to secure their independence, while guaranteeing the legitimate interests of France and its nationals in Morocco.
The Union for French Presence, an organisation calling for the protectorate in Morocco to be maintained, publishes a tract calling on the French and European people in Morocco to unite in order to save the country and block the way to Moroccan independence, which it believes would constitute an act of treason.
In an appeal to all French people in Morocco, the French Conscience movement, an organisation of Europeans in favour of independence — which many see as legitimate and inevitable — emphasises the unavoidable principle of Moroccan independence and underlines France’s duty to guide and assist the people of Morocco, with no ulterior motive, on the path towards a modern, independent state.
In February 1955, the Union for French Presence, a movement for those in favour of the French protectorate in Morocco, publishes a statement in which it emphasises France’s positive role in Morocco and criticises those who accuse France of pursuing a colonialist policy in the country.
On 17 June 1955, Pierre Reveillaud, leader of the Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party, sends a letter to Edgar Faure, President of the French Council of Ministers, in which he shares the concerns of the French population in Morocco at the threats of expulsion for some French people living in the country. While protesting against these measures, Pierre Reveillaud criticises the policy of successive French governments towards Morocco and emphasises the commitment of the French in the country to a rapprochement of the various segments of the population.
On 27 September 1955, the National Committee for the Resolution of the Franco-Moroccan Problem criticises those who are trying to sabotage efforts to restore peace to Morocco and calls on ministers, members of parliament and all French people to engage in efforts to re-establish friendship between the Moroccan and French people.
On 16 November 1955, after spending two years in exile in Madagascar, Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef makes a triumphant return to Morocco, where he is reunited with his country and his people. Morocco’s independence is officially proclaimed on 2 March 1956.
On 16 November 1955, the new French Resident-General in Morocco, André Louis Dubois, gives an address at the imperial palace at a ceremony attended by Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef, who has just made a triumphant return to Morocco. The Resident-General emphasises the determination of the French Government to lead Morocco to the status of an independent state.
In November 1955, the Directorate-General for the Interior of the French Residence General in Rabat analyses the political situation in Morocco after the triumphant return of Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef.
In December 1955, at the Extraordinary Congress of the Istiqlal Party, Abderrahim Bouabid, a member of the Executive Committee, presents the party’s action plan for the independence of Morocco and outlines the origins of the Moroccan national movement.
On 6 March 1956, Mohammed V (Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef), Sultan of Morocco, makes his entry into the royal palace after returning from Paris, where he chaired the first stage of the talks between France and Morocco that were organised after the proclamation of Morocco’s independence on 2 March 1956.
Following the independence of Morocco on 2 March 1956, the General Directorate of Moroccan and Tunisian Affairs in the French Foreign Ministry expresses its concern at the residence regime of French nationals in Morocco and outlines the French Government’s position on a future agreement to govern this regime.
On 1 November 1945, Azzedine Azzouz, Tunisian delegate at the World Youth Conference in London, outlines the background to the political situation in Tunisia. During his address, he strongly criticises French colonialism and calls on his audience to take action with their respective governments to bring an end to colonialism and imperialism across the world.
In January 1952, an appeal is launched by French people living in Tunisia for the creation of a movement for open Franco-Tunisian cooperation, in order to pave the way for a relationship of trust between France and a Tunisia free from colonialism. One of the main aims of this movement is to establish honest cooperation between the French and the Tunisians, in full respect of Tunisian independence.
In light of the tragic events that are shaking the country, the General Secretariat of the Tunisian Federation of the Socialist Party–SFIO (French Section of the Workers’ International) issues an appeal for calm and calls for the vicious circle of mistrust and tensions between communities to be broken and for dialogue to be re-established. It is up to France to take the first step to ease the situation by making significant efforts with regard to Tunisia.
On 5 February 1952, His Highness the Bey of Tunisia sends a letter to Jean de Hauteclocque, French Resident-General in Tunis, in which he emphasises the extreme severity and disproportion of the repressive measures imposed by the French authorities in the country, which are jeopardising the safety of people and goods and the exercise of Tunisian sovereignty. Since early 1952, the country has been facing a serious political crisis, coupled with violent clashes between those in favour of independence and the French army.
On 2 December 1952, Maurice Labi, a member of the National Office of Young Socialists in Paris, sends a report to Élie Cohen-Hadria, General Secretary of the Tunisian Socialist Federation–SFIO (French Section of the Workers’ International), in which he refers to the severity of the situation and the climate of tension in Tunisia between those in favour of independence and the defenders of the French protectorate. He particularly mentions the reforms that could break the deadlock in the country and encourage the development of internal autonomy.
On 11 August 1953, Jean de Hauteclocque, French Resident-General in Tunisia, sends a letter to French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault in which he assesses the worrying situation that is continuing to prevail in Tunisia. He particularly criticises the actions of Neo Destour and calls on the French Government to pursue its firm policy against any nationalist independence movements.
On 19 August 1954, young enthusiasts take to the streets in Tunis holding aloft a banner that demonstrates their gratitude towards the leader of the independence movement, Habib Bourguiba, and Pierre Mendès France, President of the French Council, who granted independence to Tunisia on 31 July 1954.
In a note dated 17 May 1955 and sent to the Arab states, the Secretary General of Neo Destour, Salah Ben Youssef, openly expresses his opposition to the memorandum of understanding concluded on 21 April 1955 between the Tunisian and French Governments. Ben Youssef believes that this agreement, which is intended to lead to further agreements for Tunisia’s internal autonomy, undermines the pursuit of total and immediate independence for the entire Maghreb.
On 26 August 1955, the French Government publishes a decree on the powers of the new French High Commissioner in Tunisia. Following the signing of several agreements between the French and Tunisian Governments on 3 June 1955 establishing internal autonomy in Tunisia, the French Resident-General in Tunisia will be replaced by a High Commissioner as from 1 September 1955.
On 18 October 1955, the French High Commission in Tunisia compiles a series of press articles on an address given by Salah Ben Youssef after he was expelled from his party, Neo Destour. Ben Youssef, who supports the principle of total, immediate independence for the entire Maghreb, openly opposes the memorandum of understanding concluded between the Tunisian and French Governments.
On 13 December 1955, the General Directorate for Moroccan and Tunisian Affairs in the French Foreign Ministry reviews the situation in Tunisia and particularly reports on the climate of tension between the political movement represented by Habib Bourguiba, which is in favour of the agreement between France and Tunisia, and the movement led by Salah Ben Youssef, which opposes the agreement.
In a statement made on 23 March 1956, Salah Ben Youssef, former Secretary General of Neo Destour, harshly criticises the signing of the protocol between France and Tunisia which provides for Tunisia’s independence within a freely accepted framework of interdependence with France. He particularly expresses reservations with regard to the clauses, limits and scope of this interdependence and calls on the Tunisian people to continue their struggle against French occupation.
On 25 May 1956, after the handover of power to the Tunisian Government from the central administration of the Tunisian Army, previously under the responsibility of a French colonel, the Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba (on the right) reviews the troops.
On 3 January 1957, the French External Documentation and Counter-Intelligence Department (SDECE) drafts a note in which it outlines the development and organisation of the aid given by Tunisia to the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Algeria.
In a note dated 30 January 1959, the intelligence service of the French National Defence Department expresses its concern over the maintenance of French interests in Tunisia. Following the independence of Tunisia, the main institutions, such as internal and external security, the diplomatic apparatus and the administration, have gradually become more Tunisian. The monetary system became independent in 1958 with the establishment of the Tunisian Central Bank, the uncoupling of the dinar from the French franc and the withdrawal of the national currency from the franc area. Tunisia is also challenging the French military presence in Bizerte, a strategically important Mediterranean naval base.