Cherif Guellal

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Cherif Guellal
Cherif guellal identité.jpg
Algerian Ambassador to the United States
In office
1963 – 1967
Preceded byCreated
Succeeded byAbolished
Personal details
Born(1932-08-19)August 19, 1932
Constantine, Algeria
Died(2009-04-07)April 7, 2009
Domestic partnerYolande Fox
ResidenceGeorgetown (Washington, D.C.)
SignatureSignature of Cherif Guellal

Cherif Guellal (born 19 August 1932 in Constantine, Algeria – deceased 7 April 2009)[1] was an Algerian businessman and diplomat, who fought in the Algerian independence movement and who was a citizen of the United States.


Cherif Guellal attended the university at Aix-en-Provence in southern France, and graduated in 1956. Taking the lead from his mother, who was a leader in the Algerian anti-French resistance movement, he joined the government in exile. He worked to build support for the movement, mainly from India.

He served as a key aide to the resistance leader Ahmed Ben Bella, who became the first president of post-colonial Algeria. He was sent to Washington, D.C., as the new country's first Ambassador to the United States. His primary role was to protect the Algerian oil interests and handle the independence of Algeria in the cold-war era.[2] The US-Algeria relations were also tensed by the establishment of the Vietcongs' first mission outside of Vietnam, in Algeria.[3] Cherif Guellal also had to handle Algeria's official ties with Cuba and the tension it generated within the US diplomatic corps.[4] In a 1964 speech, he stated «We wish to be masters in our own house and not junior partners of the great powers».[1]

In May 1964, after Lyndon B. Johnson was named to the White House, his 12-room French chateau-style house (The Elms) was sold to the Algerian government and became the residence of Cherif Guellal.[5] According to the writer Barbara Howar in her 1973 memoir Laughing All The Way, Guellal and Johnson both originated from oil-rich states (Texas for Johnson) and shared a similar mentality towards politics.[1]

He outlasted his mentor, remaining in his post following the military coup that removed Ben Bella from power and installed Houari Boumedienne, the former National Liberation Front military chief, in his place.

In Washington, he successfully lobbied for the repeal of racially restrictive covenants on his ambassadorial residence, one impetus for the later, widespread repeal of such covenants.[1]

When the 1967 Arab-Israeli war broke, Cherif Guellal's term ended. He remained a representative of Algeria's national oil company Sonatrach.[1]

Ambassador Guellal died of leukemia in Algeria on April 7, 2009. He was buried at the El Alia Cemetery.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Guellal had a long-term relationship with Yolande Fox, who was Miss America in 1951 and later an opera singer. Guellal and Fox led an active social life, frequenting academic meetings and circulating among Washington's social and intellectual elite. His social secretary was Sally Quinn. Until his death, they raised Fox's grandchild, Yolande Paris Campbell, together.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bernstein, Adam (April 13, 2009). "Cherif Guellal dies at 76; Algerian resistance fighter and diplomat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
  2. ^ Mohammed Lakhdar Ghettas, Algeria and the Cold War: International Relations and the Struggle for Autonomy, IB Tauris, 24 November 2017 (ISBN 9781786722591)
  3. ^ Richard B. Stolley, Hertz's unfinished bike race, Ĺife Magazine, 21 July 1967
  4. ^ Federico Vélez, Latin American Revolutionaries and the Arab World: From the Suez Canal to the Arab Spring, Taylor & Francis, 15 May 2017 (ISBN 9781134804535)
  5. ^ Johnson House Is Bought For Algerian Ambassador,, 9 May 1964
  6. ^ "Washington Social Diary: The Last of the Georgetown Dames". 29 February 2016.

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