Introduction to Part One
Under the socialists, France's Algeria policy could best be understood in terms of some distinct periods corresponding to changed circumstances in Algeria. The discrepancy between the French president's discourse, emphasising France's strong reservations about the coup, and the foreign affairs minister's, stressing non interference, should not be understood as a mere double-talk that allowed France to save face while effectively supporting the coup. It was a deliberate double-act meant to show France's dissatisfaction while at the same time maintaining the lines of communication open between Paris and Algiers. The minister for foreign affairs went to Algiers and invited the Algerian prime minister to Paris. It is possible that the change in French Ambassadors to Algiers played a role in the redefinition of French policy and that a reassessment of the power struggle between the Islamist armed groups and the authorities led Paris to alter its views.