Charles Jonnart

Charles Jonnart

Charles Célestin Auguste Jonnart (27 December 1857 – 30 December 1927) was a French politician.

Early years

Born into a bourgeois family in Fléchin, Pas-de-Calais, Charles Jonnart was educated at Saint-Omer, then in Paris. Interested in the Algeria that he had visited as a young man, he was appointed in 1881 by Léon Gambetta to the office of Governor General of Algeria. In 1884, he was appointed director of the department's Algeria to the Ministry of Interior.

Political career

Beginning a political career as a liberal, he was elected in 1886 as General Counsel of Saint-Omer, then in 1889, member of Pas-de-Calais. He distinguished himself in the House by his frequent interventions on colonial issues including the organization of Algeria.

Chosen in 1893 by Casimir Périer for the post of Minister of Public Works, he was elected in 1894 as Senator Pas-de-Calais. The same year an automobile accident forced him to stop his ministry.

During 1900, he returned to Algeria, where he was appointed Governor-General. He resigned for health reasons but in 1903 again returned to his post. He helped promote the career of the future Marshal Hubert Lyautey. The latter, still colonel, was promoted to general and was entrusted by Jonnart with policy implementation in the region.

In 1911, Charles Jonnart was appointed as foreign minister in the cabinet of Aristide Briand. During the First World War, he was the Senate rapporteur of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was briefly Minister of Blockade in the government of Clemenceau. Then the Allied Powers chose him as the authorized representative of King Constantine of Greece, to force him to abdicate.

After the war, he became chairman of the Democratic Republican Party in 1920, and was then appointed ambassador of France to the Holy See, with the delicate mission to resume diplomatic relations with the Pope. He was elected to the Académie française on 19 April 1923.

There is an interesting account of Jonnart's (who as former Governor General of Algeria had come to Greece) ultimatum on 11 June 1917 by which King Constantine was forced to leave his country and to live in exile in Switzerland, composed by Despina Geroulanis-Streit, Erinnerungen, Athens: privately printed 1981, pp. 64–69.


Political offices
Preceded by
Jules Viette
Minister of Public Works
Succeeded by
Louis Barthou
Preceded by
Raymond Poincaré
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Stéphen Pichon
Preceded by
Henry Chéron
Minister of Labor and Social Welfare
Succeeded by
Jean-Baptiste Abel
Preceded by
Emile Métin
Minister of Blockade and Liberated Regions
Succeeded by
Albert Lebrun
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