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Francophone Africa at fifty$
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Tony Chafer and Alexander Keese

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089305

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089305.001.0001

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Whitehall, the French Community and the Year of Africa: negotiating post-independence diplomacy in West Africa

Whitehall, the French Community and the Year of Africa: negotiating post-independence diplomacy in West Africa

Chapter:
(p.155) 10 Whitehall, the French Community and the Year of Africa: negotiating post-independence diplomacy in West Africa
Source:
Francophone Africa at fifty
Author(s):

Mélanie Torrent

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719089305.003.0011

Melanie Torrent highlights the perspective of British officials, who had to make sense of a process regarded as entirely different from their own experiences. The British impression was that, while they had efficiently planned their own retreat over a longer period, and guaranteed the survival of the Commonwealth, this stood in sharp contrast with the imperfections and the lack of vision inherent in the short-lived French ‘Community’ initiative (1958) from Paris. Torrent holds that the British believed their pattern of decolonization produced very different, more challenging but overall more equal and better relations between the former metropole and the newly independent African countries. There never was any suggestion to regard French policies as a model. Even so, according to Torrent’s interpretation, the French retreat from its former colonies internally put pressure on British officials, given that the Colonial Office was still in charge of affairs in Sierra Leone and the Gambia, and that the conflict-ridden situation in large parts of the territories of Eastern and Southern Africa was still unresolved.

Keywords:   British officials, Commonwealth, decolonization, independent Africa

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