André Bettencourt

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André Bettencourt

Andre Bettencourt (1967).jpg

André Bettencourt in 1967
French Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
15 March 1973 2 April 1973
President Georges Pompidou
Prime Minister Pierre Messmer
Preceded by Maurice Schumann
Succeeded by Michel Jobert
Personal details
Born(1919-04-21)21 April 1919
Saint-Maurice-d'Ételan, France
Died 19 November 2007(2007-11-19) (aged 88)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Nationality French
Spouse(s) Liliane Bettencourt (m. 1950)
Children Françoise Bettencourt Meyers
Occupation Journalist, businessman

André Bettencourt (21 April 1919 19 November 2007) was a French politician. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre, and was a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

<i>Croix de Guerre</i> class of French military award

The Croix de Guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts. The Croix de Guerre was also commonly bestowed on foreign military forces allied to France.

Knight An award of an honorary title for past or future service with its roots in chivalry in the Middle Ages

A knight is a man granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch, bishop or other political or religious leader for service to the monarch or a Christian church, especially in a military capacity. Historically, in all Europe, knighthood was conferred upon mounted warriors. During the High Middle Ages, knighthood was considered a class of lower nobility. By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Often, a knight was a vassal who served as an elite fighter, a bodyguard or a mercenary for a lord, with payment in the form of land holdings. The lords trusted the knights, who were skilled in battle on horseback.


He had been a member of La Cagoule, a violent French fascist-leaning and anti-communist group, before and into the Second World War; he then joined the anti-German Resistance late in the war. [1] His earlier affiliation was not known when he later served as a cabinet minister under presidents Pierre Mendès France and Charles de Gaulle, and was awarded for his bravery in the Resistance against the Nazis.

La Cagoule, officially called Comité secret d'action révolutionnaire, was a French fascist-leaning and anti-communist terrorist group that used violence to promote its activities from 1935 to 1941.

Pierre Mendès France French politician

Pierre Isaac Isidore Mendès France, known as PMF, was a French politician who served as President of the Council of Ministers for eight months from 1954 to 1955. He represented the Radical Party, and his government had the support of the Communist party. His main priority was ending the war in Indochina, which had already cost 92,000 dead, 114,000 wounded and 28,000 captured on the French side. Public opinion polls showed that, in February 1954, only 7% of the French people wanted to continue the fight to regain Indochina out of the hands of the Communists, led by Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh movement. At the Geneva Conference of 1954 he negotiated a deal that gave the Viet Minh control of Vietnam north of the seventeenth parallel, and allowed him to pull out all French forces. The United States then provided large-scale financial, military and economic support to South Vietnam.

Charles de Gaulle 18th President of the French Republic

Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French army officer and statesman who led the French Resistance against Nazi Germany in World War II and chaired the Provisional Government of the French Republic from 1944 to 1946 in order to establish democracy in France. In 1958, he came out of retirement when appointed President of the Council of Ministers by President René Coty. He was asked to rewrite the Constitution of France and founded the Fifth Republic after approval by referendum. He was elected President of France later that year, a position he was reelected to in 1965 and held until his resignation in 1969. He was the dominant figure of France during the Cold War era, and his memory continues to influence French politics.


He was born in Saint-Maurice-d'Ételan (Seine-Maritime) in an old Catholic Norman noble family. He is a collateral descendant of navigator Jean de Béthencourt through his father Victor Béthencourt.

Saint-Maurice-dÉtelan Commune in Normandy, France

Saint-Maurice-d’Ételan is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region in northern France.

A lineal descendant, in legal usage, is a blood relative in the direct line of descent – the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. of a person. In a legal procedure sense, lineal descent refers to the acquisition of estate by inheritance from grandparent to parent and parent to child, whereas collateral descent refers to the acquisition of estate or real property by inheritance from sibling to sibling, and cousin to cousin.

Jean de Béthencourt French explorer

Jean de Béthencourt (1362–1425) was a French explorer who in 1402 led an expedition to the Canary Islands, landing first on the north side of Lanzarote. From there he conquered for Castile the islands of Fuerteventura (1405) and El Hierro, ousting their local chieftains. Béthencourt received the title King of the Canary Islands but he recognized King Henry III of Castile, who had provided aid during the conquest, as his overlord.

Béthencourt served in several posts in the government of France, most notably as interim minister of foreign affairs for two weeks in the spring of 1973. He also served as president of the regional council of Haute-Normandie from 1974 to 1981. In addition, he was the mayor of Saint-Maurice-d'Etelan from 1965 to 1989.


In his youth Bettencourt was a member of La Cagoule (The Hood), a violent French fascist-leaning and anti-communist group. Eugène Schueller, founder of L'Oréal, provided financial support and held meetings for La Cagoule at the company's headquarters. In the 1990s Jean Frydman, a shareholder and board member of L'Oréal's film and television subsidiary Paravision, alleged that he had been sacked in 1989 as the senior management at L'Oréal sought to avoid an Arab boycott of firms with Jewish links. Frydman held joint French and Israeli citizenship. Frydman also turned up the fact that Bettencourt had written several articles for a Nazi propaganda organ during World War II. From 1940 to 1942, Bettencourt wrote more than 60 articles for La Terre Française, [2] a newspaper that flourished with Nazi German financing during the occupation of France. In a special Easter issue in 1941, he described Jews as 'hypocritical Pharisees' whose 'race has been forever sullied by the blood of the righteous. They will be cursed'. Bettencourt attempted to dismiss the journalism as "errors of youth", claiming that his judgement was clouded by the propaganda of Vichy France. "I have repeatedly expressed my regrets concerning them in public and will always beg the Jewish community to forgive me for them". [3]

Anti-communism political position

Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and it reached global dimensions during the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in an intense rivalry. Anti-communism has been an element of movements holding many different political positions, including nationalist, social democratic, liberal, libertarian, conservative, fascist, capitalist, anarchist and even socialist viewpoints.

Eugène Paul Louis Schueller was a French pharmacist and entrepreneur who was the founder of L'Oréal, the world's leading company in cosmetics and beauty. He was one of the founders of modern advertising.

L'Oréal S.A. is a French personal care company headquartered in Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine with a registered office in Paris. It is the world's largest cosmetics company and has developed activities in the field concentrating on hair colour, skin care, sun protection, make-up, perfume, hair care and men's skincare.


He was elected a member of the Académie des beaux-arts , one of the five academies of the Institut de France, as an unattached member on 23 March 1988.

Institut de France French learned society, grouping five académies

The Institut de France is a French learned society, grouping five académies, the most famous of which is the Académie française.


In 1950, Bettencourt married Liliane, daughter of Eugène Schueller, the founder of L'Oréal, a leading cosmetics company. They had one daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, who is a member of L'Oréal's board of directors. Françoise Meyers is married to Jean-Pierre Meyers (*1948), who lost all his grandparents in Auschwitz concentration camp. He died on 19 November 2007 at the age of 88. [4]

See also

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  1. Veronica Horwell (24 September 2017). "Liliane Bettencourt". The Observer. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  2. fr:La Terre Française La Terre Française, in French Wikipédia
  3. André Bettencourt (obit.) The Telegraph. 22 November 2007
Political offices
Preceded by
Yves Guéna
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications
Succeeded by
Yves Guéna
Preceded by
Albin Chalandon
Minister of Industry
Succeeded by
François-Xavier Ortoli
Preceded by
Maurice Schumann
interim Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Michel Jobert