Claude Cheysson

Claude Cheysson
French Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
22 May 1981  7 December 1984
President François Mitterrand
Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy
Laurent Fabius
Preceded by Jean François-Poncet
Succeeded by Roland Dumas
Personal details
Born (1920-04-13)13 April 1920
Paris, France
Died 15 October 2012(2012-10-15) (aged 92)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Political party Socialist Party
Alma mater École Polytechnique, ÉNA

Claude Cheysson (13 April 1920 15 October 2012) was a French Socialist politician who served as Foreign Minister in the government of Pierre Mauroy from 1981 to 1984.[1]


Cheysson was born in Paris and attended the Cours Hattemer, a private school.[2] He fled from France during World War II and joined the 2nd Armored Division of General Leclerc, serving as a second lieutenant in the 12th Chasseurs d'Afrique Regiment. He joined the Foreign Ministry in 1948 and became head of the liaison service with the West German authorities the following year. As he moved through the ranks of the Foreign Ministry, he served as counselor to the president of the government of French Indochina in 1952, cabinet chief of Premier Pierre Mendès France from 1954 to 1955, and general secretary of the Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa from 1957 to 1962. He was director of the Organisme Saharien from 1962 until 1965, and ambassador to Indonesia from 1966 to 1969.

In 1973, Cheysson was appointed as the French European Commissioner. His first post, which he held until 1977, was in charge of development policy, cooperation, budgets, and financial control. From 1977 until 1981, he took on the development portfolio.

In 1981 he left the Commission and became a member of the French Government, serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs until 1984. (The ministry was renamed as the Ministry of External Relations, but the previous name was re-established in 1986.) He joined the Delors Commission, where he was responsible for Mediterranean policy and North-South relations, from 1985 to 1989.

By 1999, Cheysson joined the Collectif Liberté pour l'Afghanistan, an organization lobbying for the West to stop tolerating the Taliban and "Osama bin Laden, the millionaire Saudi financier of terror".[3]


  1. Agence France-Presse (2012-10-16). "Mort de l'ancien ministre socialiste Claude Cheysson" (in French). Le Monde. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  2. "Quelques Anciens Celebres". Hattemer. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
  3. O'Shaughnessy, Hugh (January 9, 2002). "Marcel Niedergang". The Independent. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
Political offices
Preceded by
Jean François-Poncet
Minister of External Affairs
Succeeded by
Roland Dumas
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