The World at War


Joseph Paul-Boncour

French Statesman

Born: August 4, 1873 at Saint-Aignan
Died: March 28, 1972 at Paris

Premier of France: December 18, 1932 - January 28, 1933

     Paul-Boncour began his career as a lawyer for the Bourses du Travail (union workers' association). His political career was sporadic prior to World War I. He served brief terms as secretary to Premier Waldeck-Rousseau and Minister of Labour.

     He was returned to Chamber of Deputies after the war as a member of the Socialist SFIO but left that party in 1931 to lead L'Union socialiste republicaine. He became Premier in December 1932. His government was overthrown six weeks later when it called for increased taxes and reduced expenditures to close the deficit and make payment on the war debt.

     He served as Permanent Delegate to the League of Nations from 1932 to '36 and as Foreign Minister in several cabinets including both of Leon Blum's Popular Front administrations. He insisted on fulfilling French obligations to Czechoslovakia and was replaced at the Quai d'Orsay when Daladier returned to power in April 1938.

     He originally opposed granting power to Marshal Petain then led a group of Senators in proposing a grant of limited powers. Laval rejected the proposal and Paul-Boncour joined the 80 parliamentarians who voted against the Marshal on July 10, 1940.

     Paul-Boncour represented France to the San Francisco Conference and signed the United Nations Charter in 1945.

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