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Le ministre des Affaires étrangères : naissance et évolution d’un représentant de l’État

Abstract : The evolution over time of the role of the Foreign Secretary in France shows that the principal conditions of his autonomy lie in the progressive distancing of the French political regime from a personalized conception of State sovereignty. It is precisely because he has always been an instrument of the Supreme executive power without being really a member of it that the French juridical doctrine defines him but in very rare instances as a decision-making entity. In the wake of an increasing globalisation of exchanges between states, international positive law unexpectedly puts an end to his internal debate by widening the field of state representation –hitherto reserved to the supreme executives of states – to the Foreign Office, or the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. In the eyes of international diplomatic practice, the role of the French chief of the “Quai d’Orsay” could then be understood in two ways : whether they are considered in the light of French constitutional law or in that of international public law, his status and his function are defined either restrictively or extensively. This variation places the French Foreign Secretary in a framework of action in which diverse juridical sources coexist in their richness as well as in their evanescent nature : the habitual practices of French diplomacy contend with those that stem from the requirements of international relations. At the same time, the difficulty of pinning down the function of the French Secretary for Foreign Affairs gives him more strategic leeway in his relations with other countries, but is also his main weakness at the level of domestic political power. Indeed, whatever the regime, the scope of a minister’s role has always been dependent on the powers that vie for influence at the head of the state. The secondary role played by the Secretary within the Executive is consequently a legacy of monarchical times with which France still has strong constitutional ties. However, republican practice, seen in the perspective of international positive law, tends to transcend the instrumental role of the Secretary, by giving him, in the absence of Constitutional guidance, the status of a fully-fledged political representative of the State
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Contributor : Laëtitia Pierry <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 23, 2012 - 12:06:44 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 4:40:30 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00604011, version 1



Laëtitia Pierry. Le ministre des Affaires étrangères : naissance et évolution d’un représentant de l’État. Droit. Université d'Avignon, 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011AVIG2025⟩. ⟨tel-00604011v1⟩



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