French Political Instability

December 16, 1953

Report Outline
Unstable France and the Western Alliance
Causes of Recurrent Parliamentary Crises
Efforts to Achieve Greater Stability
Special Focus

Unstable France and the Western Alliance

Political instability in France has been a disturbing factor in inter-allied relationships in the past and may be an even more disturbing factor in the future. The reasons for French uncertainties and hesitations—the desire for firm assurances on the one hand while with-holding firm assurances on the other—are little understood in foreign countries.

At the same time, it is clear that the ability of the western powers to maintain a united front in forthcoming negotiations with Soviet Russia and on plans for consolidating the European defense system depends in large measure upon a strong and stable France. If she is to discharge her responsibilities under commitments jointly undertaken with Great Britain and the United States, her heads of state will need a firmer basis of support among the political parties and among the people of France than they have enjoyed at any time in the recent past.

Kaleidoscopic Cabinet Changes Since War

On Dec. 17, the French parliament meets at Versailles to elect a successor to Vincent Auriol, Socialist, whose seven-year term as first president of the Fourth Republic expires a month later. After the election, the present Laniel cabinet becomes a “caretaker government” and remains in that status until the new president is inaugurated on Jan. 17, 1954. The cabinet then submits its resignation and a new government, which may be little different from the present one, must obtain a vote of confidence in the National Assembly.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 03, 1978  French Parliamentary Elections
Feb. 14, 1973  French Elections, 1973
Apr. 10, 1968  French-American Relations
Nov. 24, 1965  Election of De Gaulle: Past and Future Policies
Nov. 20, 1963  French Policy Under De Gaulle
Feb. 20, 1963  France and the Alliance
Nov. 07, 1962  French Governmental Crisis
Mar. 10, 1960  Status of France
Sep. 15, 1955  Future of France in North Africa
Dec. 16, 1953  French Political Instability
Nov. 15, 1952  France and Germany in West European Defense
Jan. 29, 1947  Empire of France
Sep. 01, 1945  France in Transition
Aug. 08, 1944  Relations with France
Mar. 21, 1942  Relations with France
Apr. 10, 1934  Constitutional Reform in France
Jun. 30, 1929  The French Debt and the Young Plan
Apr. 27, 1928  The Briand-Kellogg Correspondence
Mar. 30, 1928  French National Elections - 1928
Aug. 24, 1926  French Currency and Exchange
Jun. 30, 1925  The Moroccan Problem
Jun. 17, 1925  The French Debt to the United States
Apr. 11, 1925  The French Financial Problem
May 07, 1924  The French National Elections
Sep. 21, 1923  French Reparation Policy in the Light of the Dariac Report
Regional Political Affairs: Europe