Brazzaville Conference of 1944

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After the Fall of France during World War II, and the alignment of many West African French colonies with the Free French, Charles de Gaulle recognized the need to revise the relationship between France and its colonies in Africa. In January 1944, Free French politicians and high-ranking colonial officials from the French African colonies met in Brazzaville, the then capital of French Equatorial Africa. The Brazzaville Conference, as it came to be known, recommended political, social, and economic reforms.

The declaration from the conference (also referred to as the Brazzaville Declaration) included the following points:

  1. The French Empire would remain united.
  2. Semi-autonomous assemblies would be established in each colony.
  3. Citizens of France's colonies would share equal rights with French citizens.
  4. Citizens of French colonies would have the right to vote for the French parliament.
  5. The native population would be employed in public service positions within the colonies.
  6. Economic reforms would be made to diminish the exploitative nature of the relationship between France and its colonies.

However, the possibility of complete independence was soundly rejected. As de Gaulle stated:

The aims of France's civilizing mission preclude any thought of autonomy or any possibility of development outside the French empire. Self-government must be rejected - even in the more distant future.[1]


  1. ^ Low, Donald Anthony; Britain and Indian Nationalism: The Imprint of Amibiguity 1929-1942 Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 16

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