Nationalism in North Africa

February 20, 1952

Report Outline
Nationalist Unrest in Mediterranean Africa
Northwest Africa Under French Rule
Rising Nationalist Challenge in North Africa

Nationalist Unrest in Mediterranean Africa

Because the United States is developing in the North African littoral a network of air bases and a line of communications for European defense, this country has a direct interest in maintaining conditions of stability in the latest region to be hit by outbreaks of nationalist violence.

In Libya, which has recently attained an independent status, precaution against disorder is largely a straightforward matter of extending economic and technical aid, although anti-Western feeling is being fostered by Arab League activities there. The problem is far more complex in the three northwest African dependencies of France, where Arab nationalist groups are actively contesting French authority.

The French position is strongest in Algeria, politically a part of metropolitan France and therefore within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But Tunisia and Morocco are protectorates, not covered by the Atlantic security pact. Their relations with France are regulated (technically) by treaty and they retain nominally-sovereign native rulers, although actual control of their affairs is in French hands. The most forceful challenge to French authority has come in Tunisia, smallest and most homogeneous political unit of French North Africa. French dealings with the situation there will test the ability of the Paris government to find a way of reconciling nationalist aims with French interests throughout the whole area.

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