Jacques Chirac

Jacques Chirac archive, excellent content relating to election of future French President Georges Pompidou and May 1968

Archive comprised of eleven TLS dating between July 26, 1968 and December 13, 1973 signed by Jacques Chirac as J. Chiracin black or blue felt tip or fountain pen. Many on watermarked "French Republic" letterhead. Also includes eight annotated thank you cards and two envelopes from the period 1968-1974, two notes signed by Jacques Chirac as J. Chirac. (Total of eleven signatures.) In very good to near fine condition, with expected wear including paper folds, light toning, and isolated staple holes. Letters measure 8.5” x 11.625”.

Jacques Chirac (born 1932) was a French political rising star in the early 1960s. For almost ten years between 1961 and 1971, he served as the chief of staff of then Prime Minister and future French President Georges Pompidou (1911-1974). He was Pompidou’s protégé, nicknamed “le bulldozer” because of his frank and abrasive communication style. Of especial interest in this archive are two TLS dating from Georges Pompidou’s spring presidential campaign. Jacques Chirac, then Secretary of State, Economy, and Finance, along with Henri Belcour (1926-2003), Deputy of the Correze region, signed two form letters dated May 10, 1969 and June 4, 1969 urging the citizens of southwestern France to vote for Georges Pompidou.

See below for a complete translation of the first letter:

“May 10, 1969

Dear Compatriot,

It is in thinking of the confidence and the friendship that you have demonstrated to me on several occasions, and that are to me particularly valuable, that I come today to support the candidacy of Georges POMPIDOU for president of the Republic.

Georges POMPIDOU is a man of our kind. Elected from the Cantal and Auvergne, he is faithfully committed to our Region, one that he knows well.

Chief of the government during the last six years, he has proved his experience and capacities as a Statesman.

Georges POMPIDOU is also a man who honors me by his esteem and his friendship. It was close by him, in his Cabinet, that I completed my apprenticeship in public life. It was on his advice that I attended your regional vote. It was on his command that I entered Government. By his side I lived through the grave hours of May 1968, when his sang-froid, his courage, and his authority permitted us to avoid the worst and to safeguard the civil peace.

I have the firm conviction that Georges POMPIDOU is the only one capable of maintaining the stability and public liberties, of preserving the purchasing power of workers and of the retired, of giving to farmers, merchants and artisans their due from the fruits of expansion, of ensuring the social peace and economic progress. He is the only one to propose a coherent political policy and to dispose of a majority of Government, this last which will permit him to avoid a dissolution of the General Assembly, and that would be inevitable for any other candidate.

An advocate of our Region, I know that Georges POMPIDOU will have to fortitude to do the maximum, so that each commune has the means to respond to the legitimate aspirations of our fellow citizens.

It is in this confidence that along with your Deputy, my friend Henri BELCOUR, I turn to you to ask for your favorable support of one who has proved his attachment to our Province, to France, and to the Republic.

I beg you to accept, Dear Compatriot, the expression of my most cordial sentiments and the assurance of my entire devotion.

[Inscribed With all my feelings of friendship,

[signed J. Chirac”

Chirac thus characterized his mentor Georges Pompidou as a stable, authoritative, and competent leader. Chirac pointedly mentions the events of May 1968 in this letter. Just a year earlier, widespread public protests, strikes, and riots in Paris had paralyzed the city. Young people, especially students, recent graduates, and workers, were unhappy with educational and occupational opportunities in France. Not only had Pompidou ably handled this crisis, Chirac argued, but he could do so again as President, or better yet, his Presidency would prevent the circumstances leading up to May 1968 from reoccurring if elected.

In a follow-up letter dated almost a month later, Chirac triumphantly reported that roughly fifty percent of the Correze region had voted for Georges Pompidou in the first round, despite fierce competition from six other candidates. “The will of the people being thus clearly expressed, it is now time to consolidate these results by confirming on JUNE 15 our confidence in this Statesman … For you, for your children, for Correze, for France, refuse the confusion and choose efficiency, security, liberty, and progress. VOTE FOR GEORGES POMPIDOU! LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC! LONG LIVE FRANCE!” Pompidou seized the presidential election two weeks after this voter invocation; he served as President until his sudden death in 1974.

The archive represents a cross-section of Chirac’s early political career, in his role as Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister, Secretary of State, Economy, and Finance, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Minister of the Interior. In a series of letters discussing nominations of local Correze farmers for the Order of Agricultural Merit, for example, Chirac demonstrates his responsiveness to constituents. Between 1986 and 1988, Chirac would serve as Prime Minister of France; between 1995 and 2007, he followed in his mentor Georges Pompidou’s footsteps by serving as President of France.

Item: 62755

Price: $500.00
Jacques Chirac
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