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Roland Dumas

Roland Dumas
Roland Dumas in the 1980s
French Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
10 May 1988 – 28 March 1993
President François Mitterrand
Prime Minister Michel Rocard
Édith Cresson
Pierre Bérégovoy
Preceded by Jean-Bernard Raimond
Succeeded by Alain Juppé
President of the Constitutional Council of France
In office
President Jacques Chirac
Preceded by Robert Badinter
Succeeded by Yves Guéna
Personal details
Born (1922-08-23) 23 August 1922
Limoges, France
Nationality French
Political party Socialist Party
Alma mater Sciences-Po Paris

Roland Dumas (born 23 August 1922 in Limoges, Haute-Vienne) is a lawyer and French Socialist politician who served notably as Foreign Minister under President François Mitterrand from 1984 to 1986 and from 1988 to 1993. He was also President of the Constitutional Council from 1995 to 1999.


  • Biography 1
    • Youth 1.1
    • Politics 1.2
    • Convictions 1.3
    • Controversial Comments on Valls 1.4
  • Legal Intervention in Concert with Libyan Government 2
  • Political career 3
  • References 4



Son of Georges Dumas, a civil servant in Limoges's region and Socialist resistant to the German Occupation during the Second World War, shot at by the Gestapo, he conveyed weapons for the Resistance. He was arrested after the boycott of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra by French students. After the war, he completed his law and political science studies in the Ecole libre des sciences politiques and the London School of Economics.

Journalist and lawyer, he defended Jean Mons, Secretary-General of the Defense Committee, from charges of negligence in a case where Mons's assistant was accused of passing secrets of national security to communists. In this, he became close to François Mitterrand, president of the Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance (UDSR) party, himself suspected in the same scandal.


In 1956, he was elected deputy for Haute-Vienne département, under the UDSR banner, but he lost his seat in the 1958 legislative election, which followed the return of General Charles de Gaulle to power. He came back into the French National Assembly between 1967 and 1968 as representative of Corrèze département. Member of the renewed Socialist Party (PS) led by Mitterrand, he became deputy for Gironde département in 1973, then for Dordogne département on the occasion of the "pink wave" of 1981.

When President Mitterrand appointed Laurent Fabius as Prime Minister in July 1984, he joined the cabinet as Minister of European Affairs. Five months later, he replaced Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson. He remained in this function until the Socialist defeat in the March 1986 legislative election. Nevertheless, he returned to the Quai d'Orsay after the re-election of Mitterrand in May 1988, until the PS defeat in the March 1993 legislative elections. Indeed, he was the French Foreign Minister during the collapse of the Soviet Block, the Gulf War, and the negotiations of the Maastricht Treaty.


Not re-elected to the French National Assembly in 1993, he was nominated President of the Constitutional Council in 1995. This was one of the last decisions of President Mitterrand. Under his presidency, the body argued in favour of complete judicial immunity for the French President--a controversial decision given both Jacques Chirac and Dumas's numerous scandals. Accused in the Elf affair, he resigned in January 1999.

Dumas' conviction for criticising a public prosecutor in his book was found unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights in 2010, by five votes to two.[1]

In May 2007, Dumas received a 12-month jail sentence (suspended) for funds he mis-appropriated acting as executor of the will of the widow of Alberto Giacometti.

M. Dumas is a member of the Emergency Committee for Iraq.

Controversial Comments on Valls

In February 2015, Dumas suggested Prime Minister Manuel Valls was probably acting under Jewish "influence". During an interview on BFM-TV, Dumas stated that the prime minister "has personal alliances that mean he has prejudices...Everyone knows he is married to someone really good but who has an influence on him," an apparent reference to Valls' wife, Anne Gravoin, who is Jewish. When directly asked by a reporter if Valls "[was] under a Jewish influence?" Dumas responded, "Probably, I would think so." The French Socialist party subsequently released a statement declaring that Dumas' claims were "unworthy of a Socialist decorated by the Republic". Valls declined to comment on Dumas's claims, except to say that Dumas was "a man with a known past and his remarks which have done no credit to the Republic for a long time."[2]

Legal Intervention in Concert with Libyan Government

On 29 May 2011, along with attorney Jacques Vergès, Dumas announced plans to sue French President Nicholas Sarkozy for crimes against humanity in relation to the NATO bombing campaign against the Gaddafi government as part of the 2011 Libyan civil war. A Gaddafi government spokesman made a concurrent announcement, seeming to endorse the legal action.[3]

In a program which aired on Libya's Al-Jamahiriya TV on May 29, 2011 (as translated by MEMRI), Dumas sharply criticised Sarkozy, stating that "the only thing I know [about French Leaders] is that they have gone crazy. President Sarkozy hosted Qadhafi a few months ago at the Élysée Palace, with a red carpet and all the grandiose honors. Two months later, Sarkozy is leading a crusader war, at the head of NATO, which has become a pawn serving international politics. This has been going on for a long time." He further stated that "I regret to see my country, to which I belong with spirit, blood, and life, leading an instrument such as NATO to come and destroy an entire people and attack its leaders."[4]

Political career

Governmental functions

President of the Constitutional Council of France : 1995–2000 (Resignation).

Governmental functions

Minister for European Affairs : 1983–1984.

Minister of External Relations : 1984–1986.

Government spokesman : June–December 1984.

Minister of Foreign Affairs : 1988–1993.

Electoral mandates

National Assembly of France

Member of the National Assembly of France for Haute-Vienne : 1956–1958. Elected in 1956.

Member of the National Assembly of France for Corrèze : 1967–1968. Elected in 1967.

Member of the National Assembly of France for Dordogne : 1981–1983 (Became minister in 1983) / 1986–1988 (Became minister in 1988). Elected in 1981, reelected in 1986, 1988.


  1. ^ ECtHR judgment in case Dumas v. France, 34875/07(French)
  2. ^ French Socialists condemn ex-minister's Jewish remark, Reuters, February 16, 2015.
  3. ^ Reuters: French ex-Minister in Libya, would defend Gaddafi
  4. ^ On Libyan TV, Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas and Lawyer Jacques Verges Accuse Sarkozy of War Crimes and WW II-Style Crimes against Humanity, MEMRITV, Clip No. 2956 (transcript), May 29, 2011 (video clip available here).
Political offices
Preceded by
Minister of European Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Claude Cheysson
Minister of External Affairs
Succeeded by
Jean-Bernard Raimond
Preceded by
Jean-Bernard Raimond
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Alain Juppé
Preceded by
Robert Badinter
President of the Constitutional Council
Succeeded by
Yves Guéna
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