Maurice Couve de Murville

Jacques-Maurice Couve de Murville (French: [mɔʁis kuv də myʁvil, moʁ-]; 24 January 1907 – 24 December 1999) was a French diplomat and politician who was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1958 to 1968 and Prime Minister from 1968 to 1969 under the presidency of General de Gaulle. As foreign minister He played the leading role in the critical Franco-German treaty of cooperation in 1963, He laid the foundation for the Paris-Bonn axis that was central in building a united Europe.

Maurice Couve de Murville
Prime Minister of France
In office
10 July 1968  20 June 1969
PresidentCharles de Gaulle
Alain Poher (Acting)
Preceded byGeorges Pompidou
Succeeded byJacques Chaban-Delmas
Minister of Economy and Finance
In office
31 May 1968  10 July 1968
PresidentCharles de Gaulle
Prime MinisterGeorge Pompidou
Preceded byMichel Debré
Succeeded byFrançois-Xavier Ortoli
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
1 June 1958  30 May 1968
PresidentRené Coty
Charles de Gaulle
Prime MinisterCharles de Gaulle
Michel Debre
Georges Pompidou
Preceded byRené Pleven
Succeeded byMichel Debre
Senator for Paris
In office
28 September 1986  1 October 1995
Member of the National Assembly
for Paris 6th constituency
In office
11 March 1973  1 April 1986
Preceded byRaymond Bousquet
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
In office
23 June 1968  10 August 1968
Preceded byRaymond Bousquet
Succeeded byRaymond Bousquet
Personal details
Maurice Couve

24 January 1907
Reims, France
Died24 December 1999(1999-12-24) (aged 92)
Paris, France
Political partyUDR
Spouse(s)Jacqueline Schweisguth
Civil Servant
Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville receiving David Ben-Gurion at Quai d'Orsay, June 1960


He was born Maurice Couve (his father acquired the name de Murville in 1925[1]) in Reims. Maurice Couve de Murville, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham (1929–2007), was his cousin.

Couve de Murville joined the corps of finance inspectors in 1930, and in 1940 became Director of External Finances of the Vichy régime, in which capacity he sat at the armistice council of Wiesbaden. In March 1943, after the American landing in North Africa, he was one of the few senior officials of Vichy to join the Free French. He left for Algiers, via Spain, where he joined General Henri Giraud. On 7 June 1943, he was named commissioner of finance of the French Committee of National Liberation (CFLN). A few months later, he joined General Charles de Gaulle. In February 1945, he became a member of the Provisional Government of the French Republic (GPRF) with the rank of ambassador attached to the Italian government.

After the war, he occupied several posts as French Ambassador, in Cairo (1950 to 1954), at NATO (1954), in Washington (1955 to 1956) and in Bonn (1956 to 1958). When General de Gaulle returned to power in 1958, he became Foreign Minister, a post he retained for ten years until the reshuffle that followed the events of May 1968 where he replaced Finance minister Michel Debré, keeping this post only a short time: very soon after the elections, he became a transitional Prime Minister, replacing Georges Pompidou. The following year he was succeeded by Jacques Chaban-Delmas.

Couve de Murville continued his political career first as a UDR deputy, then RPR deputy for Paris until 1986, then as a senator until 1995. He died in Paris at the age of 92 from natural causes.

Published works

  • Une politique étrangère, 1958–1969 (1971). ISBN unknown
  • Le Monde en face (1989). ISBN 2-259-02222-7

Political career

Governmental functions

Prime minister : 1968–1969

Minister of Foreign Affairs : 1958–1968

Minister of Economy and Finance : May–July 1968

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly 1973–1981.

Electoral mandates

Member of the National Assembly of France for Paris : June 1968 (He leaves his seat because he is minister) / 1973–1986

Senator of Paris : 1986–1995

Couve de Murville's Government

The cabinet from 10 July 1968 – 20 June 1969

On 28 April 1969 – Jean-Marcel Jeanneney succeeded Capitant as interim Minister of Justice.