Barrows on Hoisington Jr., 'Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil de Paris à Casablanca: Vingt ans d'engagements (1935-1955)'

William A. Hoisington Jr.
Leland Barrows

William A. Hoisington Jr. Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil de Paris à Casablanca: Vingt ans d'engagements (1935-1955). Paris: L'Harmattan, 2009. Illustrations. 300 pp. EUR 28.00 (paper), ISBN 978-2-296-10574-4.

Reviewed by Leland Barrows (Voorhees College) Published on H-French-Colonial (November, 2016) Commissioned by Jyoti Mohan

The Many Engagements of Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil

Like the original English version of this book published in 2005,[1] the French version is strictly a political biography of Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil (1894-1955), the French businessman, sometime director-general of Lesieur Oils (Huiles Georges Lesieur et ses fils), the premier French vegetable oil company, who was assassinated in June 1955 by French “ultras” because of his reputed support for Moroccan independence. The French version, however, starting with its title, is more than a simple translation of the original. It is also subtly revisionist in that it makes Lemaigre Dubreuil appear a little less right wing than he was reputed to have been, particularly during his presidency of the Taxpayers’ Federation (Fédération des contribuables) in France from 1935 to 1939, and possibly more in favor, by 1955, of unconditional Moroccan independence than he really was.

The titles of both linguistic versions stress the final act of Lemaigre Dubreuil’s career and life. The title of the English version, The Assassination of Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil: A Frenchman between France and North Africa, however, does so rather bluntly, whereas the title of the French version, Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil de Paris à Casablanca: Vingt ans d’engagements (1935-1955), is gentler and certainly more inclusive. It evokes Lemaigre Dubreuil’s many engagements, not simply his final (and fatal) engagement in Morocco. Nevertheless, the preface to the French version written by André de Peretti, a Moroccan-born multidisciplinary French intellectual, underscores Lemaigre Dubreuil’s commitment to the liberal camp that emerged in the French community in Morocco during the final years of the Protectorate, the members of which sought to ease the country’s transition to autonomy and independence. De Peretti had been a cofounder in 1953 of the Comité France-Magreb, an organization that had challenged post-World War II French policies and actions in Morocco, particularly the forced dethronement in August 1953 of the Moroccan sultan, Mohammed Ben Youssef, the future King Mohammed V. Given Lemaigre Dubreuil’s right-wing antecedents in interwar France and suggestions that he had been overly cozy with the Vichy regime at its onset, his death as a martyr to Moroccan independence might have seemed surprising to some.[2]

In short, Lemaigre Dubreuil was clearly a man of many engagements. He could be both very stubborn and very flexible, “a passionate opportunist,” as one author has described him, but always a very committed French patriot.[3] While both versions of the book end with short concluding notes that evoke Lemaigre Dubreuil’s conservatism, the result of his social background, upbringing, and education, according to William A. Hoisington Jr., professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, both versions also make clear that he was a rebel. The French version introduces the qualifier that he was “un homme du refus: refusing to accept [the 1930s French] fiscal and financial policies..., refusing to accept the defeat of 1940, and in Morocco, refusing to accept the disastrous stalemate of the colonial status quo” (p. 219).[4] He also appears to have been a person who pursued political lost causes both on principle and through stubbornness. But the fact that he did not shift his loyalty to General Charles de Gaulle when it might have been to his advantage to do so would suggest that there were limits to his opportunism at least in regard to political matters. Lemaigre Dubreuil’s opportunism, if one can call it that, seems to have been concentrated on his pursuit of the best interests of Lesieur Oils of which he became the director-general in 1931 and no doubt also of his own financial interests.[5] Certainly his marriage in 1926 to Simone Lesieur, daughter of the founder of Lesieur Oils, was a good career move even if the marriage was based on mutual love.

Lemaigre Dubreuil clearly did a great deal to promote the success and expansion of Lesieur Oils during World War II. Very soon after the June 1940 defeat, he and his brothers-in-law made efforts both to get the badly damaged Lesieur plant at Coudekerque-Branche, near Dunkirk, back into operation and to begin the transfer of much it to Dakar, Casablanca, and Algiers to move the business to safe locations and to strengthen the French Empire economically as a counterweight to occupied France. Because the transfer, authorized by the Vichy authorities, was to a great extent successful, and the company continued, despite wartime constraints, to be profitable, Lemaigre Dubreuil and Lesieur Oils as a whole were accused after the war of having collaborated unduly with Vichy and with the Germans. The company and its owner/managers later proved their innocence. 

The first chapter, titled “Taxpayer Revolt,” introduces Lemaigre Dubreuil. He emerged on the political scene in France in 1935 through his election to the presidency of the controversial and reputedly very right-wing Taxpayers’ Federation, an organization that is often remembered as one of the “fascist leagues” of pre-World War II France. In both linguistic versions, the chapter opens with a subchapter titled “Toward 6 February” that gives a short historical apercu of the Taxpayers’ Federation. The opening paragraph of this subchapter that appears in the French but not in the English version cites Lemaigre Dubreuil’s election in March 1935 to the presidency of the Taxpayers’ Federation as “a turning point in the complex and poorly understood history of an organization that has remained associated, in the collective memory, with the [Stavisky] riots of 6 February 1934” (p. 19). In both versions, the subchapter outlines the history of the anti-tax movement in interwar France, tracing it back to the 1921 founding of the Ligue de défense des contribuables by Louis-Alphonse Large, a certified public accountant.

The subchapter that follows, “Lemaigre Dubreuil and the Taxpayers’ Federation,” opens with information about Lemaigre Dubreuil’s family background, education, and service in the French Army during and immediately after World War I. Following the armistice, Lemaigre Dubreuil was assigned to the staff of General Louis Franchet d’Espèrey, the newly appointed French high commissioner in Constantinople. At this point, some kind of relationship may have developed between the young lieutenant and the future marshal of France, for at the reception in March 1935 that followed Lemaigre Dubreuil’s election to the presidency of the Taxpayers’ Federation, this same body named Franchet d’Espèrey as a member of its Consultative Committee. Both men allegedly contributed financially to La Cagoule, a fascist terrorist organization founded in France in 1935.[6]

The person who proposed Lemaigre Dubreuil for the presidency of the Taxpayers’ Federation was the Parisian businessman Charles Kula, who himself had founded a separate anti-tax association, the Confédération générale des contribuables. Kula, who had recently rejoined the Taxpayers’ Federation, having been expelled from it in 1930 because of remarks that he had made regarding the responsibility of labor unions, the Radical Party, and the Free Masons for the alleged decline of France, suggested that Lemaigre Dubreuil “could do for the Federation what [Louis Hubert Gonçalve] Lyautey had done for Morocco.”[7] Thus, in addition to presenting the protagonist of the story in a favorable light on the first page of the first chapter of the French version before detailing the history of the taxpayer protest movements in France in the 1920s and 1930s, Professor Hoisington links Lemaigre Dubreuil to the Morocco of Lyautey. Although the latter was an arch conservative, he was certainly not somebody who would have condoned street riots and tax strikes by his supporters not to mention home invasions of the sort directed by Large in March 1933 against Paul Jacquier, the budget reporter of the Chamber of Deputies.

The French version also includes a subtle attempt to de-radicalize Henri Dorgères, leader of Défense paysanne, the so-called Green Shirts, an organization often described as a rural fascist movement. A quotation found here but not in the English version derived from Le Journal of September 19, 1935, and La Liberté of September 20, 1935, suggests that the leader of the Green Shirts was “‘uncontestably a force of nature. But this force [was] national, it [was] French, it [was] ours’” (p. 44), thus presumably not linked to any “foreign” fascist movement. Soon after his election as president of the Taxpayers’ Federation, Lemaigre Dubreuil eased Dorgères out of its administrative council.

While serving as president of the Taxpayers’ Federation, Lemaigre Dubreuil argued that it should do more than occupy itself with questions of taxation. Among his actions in his new position was to propose a corporatist plan for the reform of French society, arguing that “it would be impossible to reform the budget without reforming the State; and it seemed inconceivable to be able to reform the State and the economy without resolving the social question” (p. 45). This plan (that was no doubt unworkable) called for social and economic reforms that would simultaneously end the cut-throat winner-take-all competition of liberal capitalism and the relentless class struggle promoted by socialism. “Collaboration among the classes,” he argued, “would bring to the working class a level of prosperity that would surpass the wildest dreams of Marxists” (p. 49). Needless to say, Lemaigre Dubreuil and the Taxpayers’ Federation were opposed to the fiscal policies of the Popular Front government that came to power in June 1936, particularly the devaluation of the French franc intended to make French exports more competitive on the world market and moves to increase state control of the Bank of France. Lemaigre Dubreuil’s attempt to sue Premier Léon Blum and his minister of finance, Vincent Auriol, on behalf of the Taxpayers’ Federation because they had promoted this devaluation contributed to his appointment by angry stockholders of the Bank of France to a three-year term as one of the bank’s councilors. In this position, he promoted the re-privatization of the bank and denounced various aspects of bank policies that deviated from his ideas of economic orthodoxy. At the end of his term of office, Lemaigre Dubreuil was elected to serve as an advisor to the bank. During the few months that remained before war was declared, he continued to pursue the same objectives for the bank. He then suspended his activities in the Taxpayers’ Federation and the Bank of France and rejoined his army reserve unit.

Chapter 2, titled “Defeat and the Vichy Regime,” details Lemaigre Dubreuil’s reaction to the outbreak of World War II and the French defeat of June 1940. Although devastated, he was initially willing to lend his support to the Vichy regime expecting it to eventually reenter the war against Nazi Germany but in the meantime take steps to reform French society and politics. The chapter devotes three subchapters to Lemaigre Dubreuil’s three major undertakings before and after the fall of France: his participation during February and March 1940 in a military mission detailed to Bucharest, Romania, intended to shore up Romanian opposition to the Axis powers; his efforts to continue publishing the right-wing Parisian newspaper, Le Jour-Echo de Paris, that he had purchased in September 1939 as part of an effort to enhance public support for the Taxpayers’ Federation; and finally, after the fighting had begun in France and he, early on, had been able to escape from German captivity, the steps that he and his brothers-in-law took to move much of the operations of Lesieur Oils to Dakar, Casablanca, and Algiers.

Lemaigre Dubreuil’s specific assignment while in Bucharest in February and March 1940 was to report on the economic situation of the country, particularly its sales of oil to Germany. He became very critical of the French ambassador, Adrien Thierry, for doing little to hold Romania to a pro-French, pro-British line and of both the commercial attaché, Roger Sarret, and the special delegate for the purchasing of Romanian oil, Léon Wenger, for not doing more to prevent Romanian sales of oil to Germany. Using his connections in Paris, he attempted to have Ambassador Thierry recalled. Although Lemaigre Dubreuil was the one who would be recalled, he made use of a relationship that he had established with General Maxime Weygand to press for a much stronger French Balkan policy to counter the Germans.[8]

Chapter 3, titled “African Resistance,” describes Lemaigre Dubreuil’s efforts in Algiers where he and his family settled at the end of 1940, ostensibly to manage the international and colonial operations of Lesieur Oils, to support the creation of an effective resistance movement. While making use of his political and business connections to keep abreast of developments at Vichy where, prior to November 1942, he was a frequent visitor, he took a dominant role in creating a network of anti-Axis French military and civilian officials in Algeria who believed that French forces in North Africa should reject the armistice and reenter the war on the side of the Allies. They hoped to find a leader in the person of General Weygand who served as the Vichy proconsul in North Africa from September 1940 to November 1941. Although Weygand had pledged to support the Vichy regime and its head of state, Marshal Henri-Philippe Pétain, he was reputed to be anti-Nazi and determined to defend French North Africa against any invaders. Lemaigre Dubreuil initially assumed that Weygand would break with Pétain and, with the support of the United States, lead France or at least French North Africa back into the war on the side of the Allies. Even though the United States remained neutral in World War II until December 1941 and maintained diplomatic relations with the Vichy regime until November 1942, it tacitly encouraged French resistance to the Axis powers. The trade and aid agreement worked out in March 1941 between Robert Murphy, President Franklin Roosevelt’s special representative in North Africa, and General Weygand seemed to be a step in this direction.

Weygand, however, proved to be a disappointment. He purged a number of officers stationed in North Africa who were too openly opposed to the Vichy regime but was himself recalled to France in November 1941. In the meantime, however, Lemaigre Dubreuil had developed contacts with Murphy whom he kept well supplied with information from his contacts in the Vichy government, and he also formed the so-called Committee of Five consisting of himself and four other well-placed patriotic Frenchmen of diverse but conservative backgrounds: Jean Rigault, Jacques Tarbé de Saint-Hardouin, Alphonse-Sylvestre van Hecke, and Lieutenant Henri d’Astier de la Vigerie (whose younger brother, François d’Astier de la Vigerie, had chosen to support General de Gaulle’s Free French movement), all of whom were committed to the liberation of France starting with French North Africa. They looked to the United States for assistance in setting up an American-backed provisional French government in North Africa and collaborated closely with Murphy who relayed various proposals of theirs to the State Department in Washington and to the American military leadership.

Disappointed by General Weygand, the Committee of Five sought out another French military leader who could lead a successful coup in North Africa that would bring France back into the war as an ally of the United States. A godsend for them was the spectacular escape from German captivity in April 1942 of five-star General Henri Giraud who for Lemaigre Dubreuil and the other members of the Committee of Five seemed to be the perfect candidate for the task. Thus, led by Lemaigre Dubreuil, they went to great efforts to recruit Giraud and to persuade the American authorities, via Murphy, to support him. When they were informed in October 1942 that Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa, was in the making, they reluctantly agreed that General Dwight Eisenhower would lead the overall invasion but that Giraud should take command once the Allied forces had landed in North Africa.

At this point, Lemaigre Dubreuil brokered an exchange of letters, the final one dated November 2, 1942, between Murphy and Giraud that collectively constituted the Giraud-Murphy agreement. By its terms, Murphy assured Giraud that one of the objectives of the Allies and of the United States in particular was to restore France to full independence “‘in all its grandeur and in the full extent of its pre-war possessions in Europe and ... overseas.”’ The agreement further stated that “‘the government of the United States considers that the French nation is an ally and will treat it as such’” (p. 122). For Lemaigre Dubreuil this agreement should have been the keystone of all future dealings between France, the United States, and the Allies in general and would have led, had it been concretized, to French participation in the Tehran, Cairo, Yalta, and Potsdam Conferences. He viewed it as conferring on Giraud and the administration that he expected Giraud to form the status of a sovereign provisional government. But the United States was not prepared to recognize any provisional government, Roosevelt insisting repeatedly that the United States would only recognize a government freely chosen by the French people after France had been liberated. The best that the United States would do in the meantime was to grant de facto recognition to local administrations. For instance, the United States recognized General de Gaulle’s de facto control of French Equatorial Africa in March 1942 but would not grant sovereign recognition to the French Committee of National Liberation, led by General de Gaulle, until September 1944. Nevertheless, Lemaigre Dubreuil continued to insist that the Murphy-Giraud agreement be recognized as the defining link between the French authorities and the United States.

The chapter highlights the difficulties and the failures involved in bringing about effective cooperation between the French forces in North Africa and the Allied forces, particularly those of the United States. There was a lack of trust on both sides as well as conflicts of authority. Murphy failed to keep the Committee of Five fully informed about American plans and did not inform his French partners that Operation Torch, conceived in July 1942, was imminent until less than a month before it began on November 8, 1942. It seems that in drawing up the Murphy-Giraud agreement, Murphy exceeded his instructions, and an American intelligence agent employed by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), Robert Solborg, a prewar business associate of Lemaigre Dubreuil, made commitments that he had not been authorized to make.

Hoisington adopts the traditional view of Giraud that he was politically inept, but Giraud may have had a better understanding than Lemaigre Dubreuil of the factors limiting his possible actions. Certainly Giraud, who initially expected to assume overall command of Operation Torch, would not have been able to persuade Eisenhower, at their meeting in Gibraltar on November 7, 1942, to cede overall command to him. Better, Giraud thought, to accept Eisenhower’s offer that he assume full command of French forces in North Africa once Operation Torch had gotten underway and be recognized by the Allies as “Governor of North Africa.” On the other hand, if, as Lemaigre Dubreuil and the other members of the Committee of Five had planned, Giraud had landed at the Blida military airport in Algeria in the early hours of November 8, 1942, rather than traveling to Gibraltar to meet with Eisenhower, proclaiming himself commander in chief in North Africa and ordering the French forces not to resist the Allied landing, would General Charles Noguès, French resident general of Morocco, and Admiral François Darlan, at the time commander in chief of the Vichy military forces who had appeared unexpectedly in Algiers three days earlier, have acquiesced? Most likely not. When Giraud reached Algiers a day later on November 9, missing, as Lemaigre Dubreuil believed, his moment of destiny, he was unable to end the fighting. It would be Admiral Darlan, prodded and threatened by General Mark Clark, who would declare a cease fire for all of North Africa and emerge as high commissioner for French Africa, signing the Darlan-Clark agreement of November 22, 1942, and arguing that Marshal Pétain who had disavowed his actions was a moral prisoner of Germany leaving him free to make the best arrangement possible with the Americans. Lemaigre Dubreuil was devastated first by Giraud’s late arrival at the Blida military airport and then by his initial willingness to play a secondary role in Darlan’s administration rather than to seize the top position for himself. In frustration, Lemaigre Dubreuil exclaimed, “‘I thought I had found an eagle, but it was only a sparrow’” (p. 133). Nevertheless, he continued to support Giraud for the top position and to press his candidacy on the Americans.

Chapter 4, titled “Working for Giraud” (“Aux côtés de Giraud”), details Lemaigre Dubreuil’s efforts to serve as General Giraud’s political advisor following ratification of the Darlan-Clark agreement by which the American authorities recognized Admiral Darlan, not General Giraud, as the representative of French interests in North and West Africa. Lemaigre Dubreuil, who continued to believe that Giraud would have been a better choice, continued to promote him for the top position and to argue that the American authorities should recognize Giraud as the head of a provisional French government in North Africa. Although the assassination of Darlan on December 24, 1942, enabled Generals Clark and Eisenhower to pressure the Imperial Council that Darlan had created into naming Giraud as Darlan's successor, the upcoming Casablanca (Anfa) Conference (January 14-24, 1943) enabled Prime Minister Winston Churchill to bring de Gaulle into the North African picture and to insist that his role as the man of June 18, 1940, be recognized. All the while Lemaigre Dubreuil continued to promote Giraud for the top French position—high commissioner for French Africa—including recognition of the Imperial Council that he now headed as the provisional government of France. But Roosevelt continued to insist that the United States would not recognize any provisional French government until France was liberated and the French people were free to choose their own government. At the same time, Lemaigre Dubreuil was unable to persuade Giraud to adopt tough political stances in regard to the American and the British authorities as well as toward his rival, General de Gaulle. But could Giraud have adopted the stances that Lemaigre Dubreuil had wanted him to adopt with any chance of success?

Although at one point Lemaigre Dubreuil claimed to be the “inventor” of Giraud and tried hard to steer him politically, he was not very successful in doing so. Giraud insisted on being his own man and probably distrusted Lemaigre Dubreuil. A major frustration for Lemaigre Dubreuil was the fact that Giraud accepted the invitation to attend the Casablanca Conference without informing him. In the meantime, Lemaigre Dubreuil had traveled to Washington DC as a member of a military mission led by General Antoine-Emile Béthouart, his specific task being to resolve questions of lend-lease, currency exchange rates, and the delivery of equipment. But he also undertook to promote the full implications of the Giraud-Murphy agreement. He did not know while discussing these matters with State Department officials, including Secretary of State Cordell Hull, that President Roosevelt was preparing to attend the Casablanca Conference. When Lemaigre Dubreuil returned to Algiers he discovered that Giraud was in Casablanca. Angry but still loyal to Giraud, Lemaigre Dubreuil managed to get to Casablanca on January 21 but was more or less ostracized there by Giraud. On the other hand, as suggested by Hoisington, Giraud made a good impression on President Roosevelt who seemingly preferred him to de Gaulle but was still refusing to grant sovereign recognition to any French provisional government.

Despite Roosevelt’s stance and Giraud’s standoffishness, Lemaigre Dubreuil was able to persuade the latter to present to Roosevelt a memorandum for his approval stating that Operation Torch had been initiated “‘at the request’ of Frenchmen who ‘since 1940’ had wanted to continue the war against Germany.” Thus Operation Torch, according to the memorandum, should be perceived as the “‘first act of liberation’ by the United Nations ‘of an oppressed nation.’” The memorandum declared that the letters constituting the Giraud-Murphy agreement were still valid and that “until the French people were free to choose their own government, the United States and Great Britain would recognize ‘the French commander-in-chief headquartered in Algiers as having the right and the duty to hold overall responsibility for all the military, economic, financial, and moral interests of France.’” The memorandum came back to Lemaigre Dubreuil with “‘approved’” written on it followed by Roosevelt’s signature (p. 149).

Lemaigre Dubreuil who was overjoyed by this turn of events concluded that the American and British authorities had finally recognized Giraud as the provisional and sovereign leader of France. But such would not be the case. Churchill upon reading the document immediately realized that it undercut agreements that Great Britain had made with de Gaulle, and then Roosevelt admitted that he had signed the document “autour d’un verre” (“over a drink”) (p. 151). So while transiting through Algiers on his way to Ankara, Churchill reached an agreement with Murphy to modify the document to read that Giraud’s area of responsibility was limited to North Africa and to drop the statement that the letters constituting the Giraud-Murphy agreement were still valid. Giraud readily agreed to these changes. Shortly thereafter a very disappointed Lemaigre Dubreuil resigned from Giraud’s staff, and in November 1943, de Gaulle succeeded in removing Giraud from the co-chairmanship of the French Committee of National Liberation.

The chapter ends with Lemaigre Dubreuil leaving Algiers, fearful of what a purge commission set up by the French Committee of National Liberation, now headed by de Gaulle alone, might do to him given that he had never and would never support de Gaulle. He returned, via Morocco and Spain, to a liberated Paris in August 1944. In the meantime, because Lemaigre Dubreuil’s name had been placed on a list of persons whose property could be confiscated because they were alleged to have had contacts with enemy agents, the French government transferred Lesieur properties in Morocco to the rival Société des Huileries Marocaines. Then, Lemaigre Dubreuil was arrested on December 29, 1944, and accused of treason, flight overseas, and irregular crossing of international frontiers. In May 1945, however, he was acquitted of all charges, and the confiscated Lesieur properties were returned to Lesieur Oils. It seems, however, that Lemaigre Dubreuil’s exoneration and release were contingent on his written promise to de Gaulle that he would not engage in political activities.[9]

For the next few years, while heading Lesieur Oils in France, Lemaigre Dubreuil wrote articles and letters to the editors of various publications in order to defend his reputation and the actions of his collaborators and himself in North Africa prior to and following the Allied landings. He also initiated law suits against writers and the publishers of writers whose comments about his war record he found defamatory. In 1946, when he published Vicissitudes d’une victoire in which he detailed his support for General Giraud, he adopted “Crusoe” as his pen name. The French-language version of the biography explains that Murphy had given Lemaigre Dubreuil the code name, “‘Robinson Crusoe’ because although he [could] survive alone he [was] impatiently waiting for help to arrive” (pp. 104-105). The English and the French versions both explain that Rigault, one of the members of the Committee of Five who had been a close associate of Lemaigre Dubreuil going back to their days in the Taxpayers’ Federation, was appropriately code named “Friday.” Although the book stresses Lemaigre Dubreuil’s efforts to work with the Americans to bring about the reentry of France into the war on the side of the Allies, particularly the United States, the pen name chosen may have been an ironic reminder that American help, when it came, did not play out the way he had hoped.

The fifth chapter of the biography, titled “Death in Casablanca,” is dedicated to Lemaigre Dubreuil’s final and fatal engagement in Morocco. It opens with Lemaigre Dubreuil’s decision to settle in Morocco to manage Lesieur Afrique headquartered in Casablanca. He purchased a villa in Rabat, the political capital of the country, and then an apartment in the futuristic Liberté building in Casablanca, the commercial capital. He devoted most of his time over the next three years to building up Lesieur’s commercial and industrial activities throughout the French Union. He made a decision, considered unorthodox for the period, to encourage Moroccan investors to purchase up to 50 percent of the stock of Lesieur Afrique and to hire qualified Moroccans to serve in senior management positions.[10] He also put together a consortium, Huileries Réunies, which associated all the French vegetable oil refineries in Morocco. Lemaigre Dubreuil’s business interests in France and in Morocco and the fact that he encouraged members of the modernizing Moroccan elite to work for and to invest in Lesieur Afrique and in other French enterprises were no doubt stimuli for him to become a strong supporter of a moderate path to Moroccan independence, one that would not threaten these interests. His pursuit of such a path in the face of growing and sometimes violent Moroccan demands for full independence, on the one hand, and increasingly violent intransigence on the part of French settlers and officials, on the other, perforce led Lemaigre Dubreuil to intervene in the politics of the increasingly challenged French protectoral regime in Morocco—despite his 1945 promise to de Gaulle that he would not involve himself in political activities. 

Hoisington bases much of chapter 5 on an analysis of a number of articles that Lemaigre Dubreuil wrote between November 1952 and April 1955 for various French newspapers: Le MondeCombatL’Information politique, économique et financièreLe FigaroLa Revue politique et parlementaire, and Evidences, and a Moroccan newspaper, Maroc Presse, that he purchased in 1955. Hoisington’s analysis presents Lemaigre Dubreuil’s evolving thoughts and actions regarding Moroccan demands for a reform of the French protectoral regime, for autonomy, and eventually for full independence and shows how he used the press to gain support in France and Morocco for his ideas. While Lemaigre Dubreuil had initially been a strong defender of French rule in Morocco praising what he believed were its many achievements, he became increasingly disillusioned with what he viewed as the stagnation of the protectoral administration and successive Fourth Republic governments that refused to engage with the Moroccan national movement and Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef in constructive ways.

But also Lemaigre Dubreuil’s initial feelings about the sultan were negative. Although Hoisington does not mention it, it seems that Lemaigre Dubreuil’s first political stance in Morocco was one of support for two failed efforts made in 1951 by Resident General Alphonse Juin (May 1947-August 1951) and the pasha of Marrakech, Thami El-Glaoui, to dethrone Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef.[11] One accusation that Juin and other French officials made regarding the sultan was that he was obstructing the democratic reforms that they were trying to introduce. Another accusation was that the sultan and the Istiqlal Party were promoting pan-Arabism and communism.

Lemaigre Dubreuil also became increasingly concerned about American criticisms of French colonial policy, particularly as they related to Morocco. In an article published in L’Information politique, économique et financière in November 1952, just as General Eisenhower was being elected president of the United States, he reminded his readers of the inconsistencies of American actions in North Africa particularly in regard to the execution of and the follow-up to Operation Torch as well as earlier American pledges to respect French sovereignty over the whole French Empire. He reminded his readers that the Murphy-Giraud agreement had stipulated that France would retain “sole responsibility for the ‘natives’”; yet, during the Casablanca Conference, Roosevelt had not only met with the sultan but had also encouraged him to seek independence for Morocco (p. 116).

By chance, just after this article was published, Casablanca exploded in anti-French riots in reaction to the December 5, 1952, assassination by French security services of the Tunisian Labor leader Ferhat Hached. The resulting French repression led to numerous Moroccan deaths. The sultan’s apparent do-nothing attitude even though he was present in Casablanca at the time increased opposition to him on the part of French officials, intransigent settlers who would become known as “ultras,” and certain members of the traditional Moroccan elite led by the pasha of Marrakech. At the same time, the crisis pushed Lemaigre Dubreuil into calling for a vast reform of the protectoral administration that would lead to the appointment of qualified Moroccans to senior positions in it and increased Franco-Moroccan dialogue, including negotiations between the Residence and the sultan as well as the leadership of the nationalist parties, Istiqlal and the Parti Démocratique de l’Indépendence. He created a Franco-Moroccan Association to promote dialogue and a study group on Moroccan problems intended to bring together ranking Moroccan and French officials and business leaders in favor of reform to discuss their respective ideas and points of view. At the time, Lemaigre Dubreuil believed that the “Moroccan elites wanted fundamental reforms but not a revolutionary rupture with France” (p. 170). As Hoisington points out, several of the original members of the study group would occupy senior positions in the Moroccan government with the coming of independence.

As relations between the Residence and Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef deteriorated over the first half of 1953, Lemaigre Dubreuil’s position with regard to the sultan was ambivalent at best. He argued that if the French authorities dethroned the sultan they would be violating the Treaty of Fez of 1912 that had established the Protectorate. If in order to do so they were to enlist the support of traditional Moroccan authorities like El-Glaoui, the pasha of Marrakech, who was willing to circulate a petition calling for the dethronement of Mohammed Ben Youssef, such an action would not only contradict the very idea of protection of the ruler as embedded in the idea of a protectorate but would damage the reputation of France in the eyes of most Moroccans. Yet, when the dethronement of the sultan actually took place in August 1953, he being replaced by an elderly uncle, Moulay Ben Arafa, Lemaigre Dubreuil accepted the change while arguing that it was not good policy. Nevertheless, in an article appearing in Le Monde on October 30, 1953, Lemaigre Dubreuil wrote that the “dethronement of the sultan was possibly ‘inevitable’ because he had proven to be an ‘enemy’ of France.” But Lemaigre Dubreuil also recognized that the sultan had become “the heart and soul” of the anti-French opposition (p. 174). He held the French government responsible for this situation because it had failed to come up with viable responses to Moroccan demands for increased autonomy.

The period of Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef’s exile, August 1953-November 1955, was a period of increasing violence, particularly in Casablanca. The result was the hardening of French attitudes toward Moroccans and the imposition by the French authorities of various restrictive measures and an increase in counterterrorist incidents perpetrated by French “ultras,” both civilian and governmental, particularly acts by military or police personnel, some of them apparently ordered by officials in France. Lemaigre Dubreuil himself was particularly shaken and saddened by the murder, on January 2, 1955, of Si Tahar Sebti, a member of the Franco-Moroccan study group that he had founded as well as a director of Lesieur Afrique. Si Tahar Sebti had been the sort of French-educated Moroccan technocrat whose ascension Lemaigre Dubreuil had wished to promote. In an article published in Le Monde in February 1955, Lemaigre Dubreuil compared the treatment of Moroccans by the French police to the treatment of many French people by the Vichy police during the German occupation of France.

The repressive measures taken by the French authorities in response to the deteriorating situation in Morocco pushed Lemaigre Dubreuil into increased support for the Moroccan nationalists and hostility toward the “ultras.” He used his contacts with the media and the business and political worlds in France to press for reforms, arguing that Moroccan nationalism was legitimate and that France should come to terms with it in order to guarantee good Franco-Moroccan relations in the future and the safety of the considerable French investments in Morocco. Although he was never enthusiastic in regard to a restoration of Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef, he came to recognize that the exiled sultan had become a powerful nationalist symbol for all Moroccans. A year before his assassination, Lemaigre Dubreuil was insisting that the French authorities admit publicly that they were the ones who had brought about the sultan’s exile, even if the idea of doing so had been broached by El-Glaoui and other refractory members of the Moroccan traditional elite.

Following the sultan’s dethronement and exile first to Corsica and then to Madagascar, Lemaigre Dubreuil penned several proposals detailed in Le Monde and in Combat for solving the dynastic crisis (which, according to him, the French authorities had provoked) and for democratizing Moroccan institutions in preparation for discussions with France on the question of independence. Among the proposals was one that both sultans, Mohammed Ben Youssef and Moulay Ben Arafa, formally abdicate and that a regency council be formed that might recall Mohammed Ben Youssef or offer the throne to somebody else. He made several proposals as to how such a council might be formed.

In February 1955, Lemaigre Dubreuil took the unusual step of having his extended article, “Comment régler le problème marocain,” which he had published in three successive issues of Combat in November 1954, reproduced as an off-print and distributed to thirty-five influential Frenchmen and twenty-nine influential Moroccans along with a detailed questionnaire about the course of action that France and Morocco should follow. Two copies of the questionnaire were given to the administrative councils of the two principal Moroccan parties. Lemaigre Dubreuil would eventually publish some of the responses that he received. The Moroccan responses clearly established the desire to have the sultan restored to his throne and independence granted. Both political parties accepted Lemaigre Dubreuil’s proposals to create a regency council as a workable but temporary expedient.

Later that year, in an effort to further publicize his proposals in favor of a peaceful solution to outstanding Franco-Moroccan problems, Lemaigre Dubreuil purchased the liberal-leaning French-language newspaper, Maroc Presse. Its owner, Jacques Walter, a wealthy French businessman/industrialist wished to close or sell it because it was losing money and because an editorial that had appeared in its February 4, 1955, edition detailing and denouncing “European Terrorism” had elicited a reprimand and a warning by the office of the resident general. Given that Maroc Presse was the only liberal French-language newspaper still being published in Morocco, Lemaigre Dubreuil did not want it to die. Before signing off on the deal, however, he requested and obtained the approval of the incoming premier of France, Edgar Faure, and his minister for Tunisian and Moroccan affairs, Pierre July, regarding editorial freedom for the newspaper. In a March 1955 meeting with Faure, Lemaigre Dubreuil assured the latter that he wanted the newspaper to be successful and would be spending a great deal of money to make the venture succeed. He then informed Faure that he would probably be assassinated: “‘Je n’ai pas peur,’” he declared, “‘mais je serai assassiné.’”[12]

In what would be Lemaigre Dubreuil’s last public act in favor of Franco-Moroccan dialogue, he designated a section of Maroc Presse to serve as a “free tribune.” It would publish letters to the editor by readers on how to resolve the Moroccan crisis. The outpouring of constructive suggestions engendered by this “free tribune,” particularly from the Moroccan readership, led to a two-day conference in Paris titled “The Franco-Moroccan Problem” held on May 7 and 8, 1955.

Following another meeting with Premier Faure in Paris on June 10, 1955, Lemaigre Dubreuil was assassinated by machine gun fire in front of the Liberté building in Casablanca late in the evening of June 11. Hoisington strongly suggests that the assassination of Lemaigre Dubreuil, more than anything else, pushed the French government into initiating a pro-independence policy but not before a series of riots in Casablanca and uprisings in the countryside had presented challenges to the final residents general. The governments of Faure and then of Guy Mollet proceeded with the Aix-les-Bains negotiations followed by the abrogation of the protectorate treaty on March 2, 1956, and the signature of a Franco-Moroccan treaty recognizing the full independence of Morocco on May 28, 1956.

As has been suggested, this book is more than simply a French translation of the original English version, a reality that is underscored by the inclusion of the preface by de Peretti which gives a very clear imprimatur to Lemaigre Dubreuil’s posthumous reputation as a major contributor to and martyr of Moroccan independence. Other subtle revisions by Hoisington continue the effort begun in the English version to deemphasize perceptions of Lemaigre Dubreuil as having been extremely right wing. Neither version of the book, for instance, mentions that some writers have accused Lemaigre Dubreuil of having contributed financially to La Cagoule. As one of its founders, Dr. Henri Martin, had been an advisor to Dorgères, whose organization, Défense paysanne, would collaborate with the Taxpayers’ Federation until 1936, it seems possible that Lemaigre Dubreuil might at one point have offered some financial assistance to La Cagoule in order to win Dorgères’s support. But given Lemaigre Dubreuil’s efforts to present the Taxpayers’ Federation as a “respectable” if right-wing organization, it seems doubtful that he would have established any kind of long-term relationship with La Cagoule particularly after he had become the president of the Taxpayers’ Federation, and as mentioned above, he eased Dorgères out of the administrative council of the federation very soon after he took over its presidency. 

Although both linguistic versions of the biography discuss the political repercussions of Lemaigre Dubreuil’s assassination, neither one goes into any detail as to who the assassins were and why they wanted Lemaigre Dubreuil dead. Clotilde de Gastines who does to some extent pursue this question asks rhetorically whether the event was “un règlement de comptes, assassinat politique ou affaire de moeurs?”[13]. While it seems clear that the second choice is the correct one, de Gastines’s third choice is a reminder to the reader that neither version of the book says much of anything about Lemaigre Dubreuil’s personal and family life. Both versions are very circumspect with regard to the participation of members of his family in his various engagements. Yet they seem to have been substantial. The reader is left in the dark as to what in Lemaigre Dubreuil’s background, if anything, might have led to an “affaire de moeurs.” Still, the reader can legitimately ask where Lemaigre Dubreuil’s wife and children were while he was moving back and forth between France, Algeria, and Morocco, as well as Romania. He seems to have had a good deal of money, and he owned a good deal of property in France, including a country residence near Fontainebleau and an apartment in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, and in Morocco, a villa in Rabat and an apartment in Casablanca. For short periods, he acquired ownership of three newspapers, l’Action contribuable and Le Jour-Echo de Paris in France and Maroc Presse in Morocco. He considered purchasing a second French-language newspaper in Casablanca, Le Petit Marocain. In 1946 he sponsored the production of a feature film that portrayed General Giraud as the potential savior of France. Was the money that he spent to support his various activities his own or Lesieur Oils funds, or did it come from other sources?

There clearly was family involvement in Lemaigre Dubreuil’s efforts to promote Franco-Moroccan dialogue and avoidance of bloodshed. When Lemaigre Dubreuil acquired Maroc Presse he appointed his son-in-law, Baudouin de Moustier, who at the time was the CEO of Publications-Elysees, to the position of president of the administrative council of this newspaper. A footnote (p. 252n82) indicates that a year earlier Lemaigre Dubreuil had assisted Baudouin de Moustier’s brother, the Marquis Roland de Moustier, a French Independent Republican deputy, in shepherding a parliamentary committee sent to Morocco to report on the political situation there. Lemaigre Dubreuil arranged for committee members to meet with Moroccan leaders even those in prison or operating clandestinely in the countryside. To what extent did Lemaigre Dubreuil rely on family connections in furthering his earlier activities in the Taxpayers’ Federation and in World War II? Both versions could have told the reader more than they do about Lemaigre Dubreuil’s networks of family, friends, and associates, as well as his enemies. But Hoisington clearly informs his readers that he has written a political biography, not a family saga.

As to which linguistic version of the book is the most complete given the subtle ways in which they vary, the French version published four years after the original English version perforce reflects four years of additional research. Its bibliography lists new work, including Douglas Porch, The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in World War II (2004), André de Peretti, L’indépendance du Maroc et la France: 1946-1956, Mémoires et Témoinages (2006), and the 2006 master’s degree thesis by Clotilde de Gastines, “Chronique d’une décolonisation: Le rôle de Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil, industriel et journaliste au Maroc, 1950-1955” (University of Provence Aix-Marseille I and University of Tübingen) from which the article “La conversion libérale de Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil au Maroc (1950-1955)” (2009) is derived. It also reproduces the list of persons with whom Hoisington corresponded and/or interviewed, seventy altogether, when writing his original PhD dissertation, also on Lemaigre Dubreuil, completed in 1968.[14] And the French version, with its preface by de Peretti, goes further than the English version in suggesting that at the end of his life Lemaigre Dubreuil was committed to unconditional Moroccan independence from France, which he probably was not. A caveat appearing in footnote 112 on page 254 of the French version and footnote 113 on page 168 of the English version indicates that the Franco-Moroccan protocol of March 2, 1956, which abrogated the Treaty of Fez of 1912 that had established the Protectorate, did not include any of the guarantees regarding a continued French presence in Morocco that Lemaigre Dubreuil had wanted to have reflected in any final Franco-Moroccan settlement; neither did the Franco-Moroccan treaty of May 28, 1956, by which France recognized the full independence of Morocco. Also, the French version omits the sentence appearing in the English version to the effect that Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef’s expression of regret that he had not been present in Casablanca at Lemaigre Dubreuil’s funeral came “in spite of the fact that Lemaigre Dubreuil had supported his restoration only indirectly!” (p. 137).[15] Finally, although both versions indicate that after Lemaigre Dubreuil’s death the Place de la Révolution Française in Casablanca where the assassination took place was renamed Place Lemaigre Dubreuil, this change of name was brought about by one of the leaders of the French liberals, Guy Delanoë, not by the Moroccan authorities; they, it seems, having chosen much later to honor the memory of Lemaigre Dubreuil by placing his green Studebaker with its right fender riddled with bullet holes in the National Museum of the Resistance in Rabat.[16]

In short, Lemaigre Dubreuil—who had worked so hard and had expended so much energy in support of lost causes including his attempt to sue Premier Blum and his minister of finance, Auriol, his efforts to strengthen Franco-Romanian relations at the start of World War II and to obtain the support of the Vichy regime in North Africa in favor of an alliance with the United States against Nazi Germany, his support for General Giraud and the Giraud-Murphy agreement in all its implications, his opposition to General de Gaulle, and even his support of a Franco-Moroccan independence agreement that would have given France a great deal of residual control over Morocco—experienced his greatest personal success when his assassination made of him a Franco-Moroccan martyr.

It is unfortunate that the French version eliminates Hoisington’s preface to the original English version. It links the life of Lemaigre Dubreuil to protectorate Morocco as solidly as de Peretti’s preface to the French version does, but in a different way. The first preface evokes an earlier assassination, that of the French medical doctor, Emile Mauchamp, in Marrakech on March 19, 1907. Hoisington views both assassinations as turning points in Franco-Moroccan history, the first one contributing strongly to the French decision to occupy Morocco, the second speeding up the decision of the French government to end the Protectorate.

The preface to the English version should have been translated into French and included in the French version not only because of the parallels Hoisington draws between the two assassinations but also because of the incisive rhetorical question he asks about Lemaigre Dubreuil’s life and career as a whole: “Was he a rabble-rouser, a demagogue, a betrayer of French interests at home and overseas or a reformer, a patriot, a hero of the resistance, and a champion of Moroccan independence” who was assassinated in Casablanca by last ditch French “ultras” opposed to Moroccan independence (p. xii)? One could ask a parallel rhetorical question about Mauchamp. Was he an arrogant spy, an agent of French imperialism, who by his attitude and actions provoked his assassination at the hands of outraged Moroccan patriots, or a disinterested scientist and medical practitioner attempting to do good in Marrakech who was assassinated by ignorant, irrational, and xenophobic Moroccan “ultras?” As for Lemaigre Dubreuil, he was definitely “a reformer, a patriot, a hero of the resistance, and a champion of Moroccan independence,” realities that Hoisington has made very clear.

It is also unfortunate that the eleven illustrations included in the French version are grouped together at the end of the book rather than being distributed throughout the chapters to which they are relevant. In particular, seven photographs of propaganda posters printed by the Taxpayer’s Federation should have been placed in chapter 1, “Taxpayer Revolt,” the way they are placed in the English version. Both versions reproduce the photograph of Lemaigre Dubreuil that appeared after his assassination on the front cover of the June 18, 1955, edition of L’Express, including the question spelled out in capital letters: “Qui a tué Lemaigre-Dubreuil?” The French version goes further in that it includes a photograph of the whole front cover of the magazine including, at the bottom, a quotation from André Malraux: “La mort transforme la vie en destin.” 

Because of the continued widespread use of the French language in Morocco, the French version of this biography is probably the one that Moroccan historians will favor as they go about integrating the history of the Protectorate into their own national history narrative. This reviewer hopes that if ever a revised French version is published or an Arabic-language version is produced as was the case in 2002 with Hoisington’s The Casablanca Connection: French Colonial Policy, 1936-1943, the author’s original preface from the English-language version will be included.[17]

Given Hoisington’s access to the private archives of the Lemaigre Dubreuil family and to the family itself, he could probably have personalized his biography of Lemaigre Dubreuil more than he did and have provided answers to some if not all of the rhetorical questions posed by de Gastines. He could also have explained why Lemaigre Dubreuil rejected the World War II leadership of General de Gaulle. Nevertheless, Hoisington’s description of the many engagements of this enigmatic French businessman with several trends, events, and personalities of what was a particularly troubled period in French history brings a valuable personal apercu to the period. Lemaigre Dubreuil’s engagement with what one might call “the other Free French movement” is particularly well brought out however short and disappointing for him that engagement was. The French version of this political biography of Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil, a tribute to the scholarship of Professor William Hoisington, is well worth reading.


[1]. William A. Hoisington, Jr., The Assassination of Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil: A Frenchman between France and North Africa (London and New York: Routledge Curzon, 2005).

[2]. Clotilde de Gastines, “La conversion libérale de Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil au Maroc (1950-1955),” Outre-Mers 96 (2009): 363-365.

[3]. Hal Vaughan, FDR’s 12 Apostles: The Spies Who Paved the Way for the Invasion of North Africa (Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2006), 40.

[4]. Quotations from the French version that are expressed in English have been translated by the reviewer. 

[5]. A quotation attributed to General de Gaulle that serves as a brief introduction to chapter 4 of both linguistic versions evokes Lemaigre Dubreuil’s commitment to the success of Lesieur Oils and his poor relationship with de Gaulle. In the original French it reads: “Quelle scie, ce Lemaigre Dubreuil, avec les intérêts de sa firme d’huile. C’est le scieur de service” (p. 135), implying that Lemaigre Dubreuil’s commitment to Lesieur was so strong that he bored people with it (the terms, “scie” and “scieur,” in addition to playing on the name of the company and its founder, refer, according to the Dictionnaire alphabétique et analytique de la langue française [1961, vol. 5, p. 359], to a person who is tediously repetitive). De Gaulle’s words found in the English-language version of the biography (p. 82) deliver a far different message: “Lemaigre Dubreuil is such a slippery fellow: always looking to have his palm greased!”   

[6]. Annie Lacroix-Riz, “When the US Wanted to Take Over France,” Le Monde Diplomatique, May 2003.

[7]. This statement found on page 41 of the French text is reinforced by a statement in footnote 91, page 227, also in the French text, to the effect that Kula had told Lyautey that “la France ne se redressera moralement et économiquement qu’avec un grand Français comme vous, qu’avec un administrateur comme vous avez été l’administrateur du Maroc.” These statements do not appear in the English text.

[8]. Contrary to what Hoisington has suggested (p. 53, English version; p. 88, French version), neither the French nor the Romanian military took steps to destroy the Romanian oil installations in the Ploieşti area as recommended by Lemaigre Dubrueil and various French and British strategists to keep them from being exploited by the Germans. Although such a plan had been approved earlier by the pro-French Romanian prime minister, Armand Călinescu, it was not executed because Călinescu was assassinated by the Iron Guard on September 29, 1939, and his successors were reluctant to carry out the plan in part because the allies of Romania in World War I had failed to compensate Romania for the losses that it had incurred when the same installations were destroyed after 1916 and because, with the advent of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union appeared to be more threatening to Romania than Germany.

[9]. De Gastines, “La conversion libérale,” 347.

[10]. Ibid., 346.

[11]. Ibid., 348. From a note dated May 8, 1951, included in Vincent Auriol’s Journal du Septennat, 1947-1954, vol. 5 (Paris: Armand Colin, 1970), de Gastines quotes Lemaigre Dubreuil to the effect that “‘Tant que [Mohammed Ben Youssef] sera sur le trône, nous aurons un ennemi de la France.’” However, in the same note Lemaigre Dubreuil complains about the failure of the protectoral administration to initiate viable reforms and the “‘esprit incontestablement colonialist’” that characterized it.

[12]. Pierre July, Une république pour un roi (Paris: Fayard, 1974), cited by De Gastines, “La conversion libérale,” 360.

[13]. De Gastines, “La conversion libérale,” 345.

[14]. For Hoisington, both linguistic versions of this book represent the rounding of his career path that started in 1968 with the submission of his Stanford University PhD dissertation, “A Businessman in Politics in France, 1935-1955: The Career of Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil,” revised and published as Taxpayer Revolt in France: The National Taxpayers’ Federation, 1928-1939 (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1973). In the years that followed, Hoisington’s scholarly interests encompassed aspects of right-wing politics in France in the 1930s and Vichy rule and opposition to it in North Africa. Three years after the award of his doctorate, Hoisington published “The Struggle for Economic Influence in Southeastern Europe: The French Failure in Romania, 1940,” Journal of Modern History 43, no. 3 (September 1971): 468-482, which as he acknowledges (p. 235n1) served as the basis for much of chapter 2 of the book under review. It evokes Captain Lemaigre Dubreuil’s two-month assignment, February-March 1940, to the French Embassy in Bucharest as a member of the French military mission to Romania. The French version (but not the English version) acknowledges the patrimony of Hoisington’s PhD dissertation, “première et lointaine version du présent ouvrage,” and lists seventy persons of interest whom Hoisington corresponded with and/or interviewed. Most of these individuals, who include such personalities as General Mark Clark, Henri Dorgères, Jean Monnet, and Robert D. Murphy, had died before either version of the book had been published. Hoisington established his reputation as a specialist on French rule in Morocco with two award-winning books: The Casablanca Connection: French Colonial Policy, 1936-1943 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984) and Lyautey and the French Conquest of Morocco (New York and London: St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan, 1995). It would thus seem that the career trajectory of Lemaigre Dubreuil and the intellectual trajectory of the historian have paralleled each other. Both men, it seems, received their greatest kudos for their involvement with Morocco.

[15]. In fact, Lemaigre Dubreuil was assassinated a little less than five months prior to the sultan’s restoration.

[16]. De Gastines, “La conversion libérale,” 364.

[17]. Regarding the question of translation, the publisher of the French version states that it is translated from “the American” as if the primary language of the United States were not English. But when the same translator, Philippe Etienne Raviart, translated Irwin M. Wall’s France, the United States, and the Algerian War (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001) into French (Les Etats-Unis et la guerre d’Algérie [Paris:  Editions Soleb, 2006]), the French publisher clearly indicated that the book was translated from the English. Why the difference in language designation? The reviewer’s father, who loved to read mystery novels by Georges Simenon starring the detective Maigret, often asked himself how French fans of this author would react if the American versions of Simenon’s books were labeled “translated from the Belgian.”

Printable Version:

Citation: Leland Barrows. Review of Hoisington Jr., William A., Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil de Paris à Casablanca: Vingt ans d'engagements (1935-1955). H-French-Colonial, H-Net Reviews. November, 2016. URL:

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