Jean-David Levitte (born June 14, 1946) is a French diplomat, formerly the French ambassador to the United States, and former diplomatic advisor and sherpa to former Presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy. He has also been named head of the future National Security Council.
Levitte was born in Moissac, in the south of France. He is a graduate of Sciences Po and of the French National School of Oriental Languages, where he studied Chinese and Indonesian. He is married to Marie-Cécile Jonas and has two daughters.
A career in the French Foreign Affairs
His firsts posts were in Hong Kong in 1970 and in Beijing, China from 1972 to 1974. In the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself, he has served as Director of Economic Affairs (1974–1975), Assistant Director of West Africa (1984–1986), Assistant Director of the Cabinet (1986–1988), Director of Asia and Oceania (1990–1993), and General Director of Cultural, Scientific, and Technical Relations (1993–1995).
Ambassador to United Nations in Geneva
Between 1981 and 1984 he was the Adviser to the Permanent Mission of France at the United Nations in New York.
In 1988, he was designated to his first position as Ambassador and served as the French Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva from 1988 to 1990.
Between 1975 and 1981, he was the chargé de mission at the General Secretariat of the President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
Ambassador to the UN and Security Council
From 2000 to 2002, he was Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, representing France at the Security Council before and during the negotiation that lead to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 on Iraq. He was president of the Security Council in September 2001 and presiding over the Council's deliberations following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Ambassador to the US
From late 2002 to 2007, he was Ambassador to U.S. J. D. Levitte presented his ambassadorial credentials to George W. Bush in Washington on December 9, 2002. He was succeeded by Pierre Vimont, who was appointed on August 1, 2007.
Back to the Élysée
On May 16, 2007, he was appointed diplomatic advisor and sherpa to President Nicolas Sarkozy, and the head of a future American-style National Security Council. The nature and extent of his new role is not yet clear. While some commentators have suggested he will not eclipse Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner, Levitte has elsewhere been referred to as "seemingly the true Minister of Foreign Affairs." Despite assertions made while campaigning, it remains to be seen to what extent President Sarkozy will treat national security and foreign affairs as the "reserved domain" of the presidency. He left office on May 15, 2012 following Nicolas Sarkozys defeat in the 2012 presidential election.
- http://www.lefigaro.fr/debats/20070530.FIG000000029_un_conseil_de_securite_nationale_oui_mais_a_la_francaise.html [Un Conseil de sécurité nationale ? Oui, mais à la française !], "Le Figaro", May 30, 2007, "Mais l'idée qu'il veuille - ou puisse - éclipser un chef de la diplomatie comme Bernard Kouchner n'est pas concevable." (French)
- http://fr.novopress.info/?p=8299 [Sarkozy et ses ministres], Novopress, May 31, 2007, "celui qui est semble-t-il le vrai ministre des Affaires étrangères." (French)
- http://www.vie-publique.fr/decouverte-institutions/institutions/approfondissements/qu-est-ce-que-domaine-reserve.html [Qu'est-ce que c'est le domaine réservé?] (French)
- http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-823448,36-911881,0.html [Défense : M. Morin devra tenir compte du "domaine réservé" du chef de l'Etat], "Le Monde", May 18, 2007, "M. Sarkozy ayant estimé pendant la campagne électorale qu'il ne devait pas y avoir de "domaine réservé" du président de la République, il reste à voir si ce souhait va se concrétiser." (French)