Jean-David Levitte

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Jean-David Levitte
Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
In office
President Jacques Chirac
Secretary General Kofi Annan
Preceded by Alain Dejammet
Succeeded by Jean-Marc de La Sablière
Ambassador of France to the United States
In office
President Jacques Chirac
Preceded by François Bujon de l'Estang
Succeeded by Pierre Vimont
Personal details
Born (1946-06-14) 14 June 1946 (age 71)
Moissac, France
Nationality French
Alma mater Sciences Po
Profession Diplomat

Jean-David Levitte (born 14 June 1946) is a French diplomat who was France's Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2000 to 2002 and Ambassador to the United States from 2002 to 2007. He was also diplomatic advisor and sherpa to presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy.

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.

Diplomatic career[edit]

His first 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).

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 at Geneva from 1988 to 1990.

Between 1975 and 1981, he was the chargé de mission at the General Secretariat of President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. Between 1995 and 2000 he was a diplomatic adviser and sherpa to President Jacques Chirac, a position to which he returned in 2007, under President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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.

From late 2002 to 2007, he was Ambassador to the United States. J. D. Levitte presented his ambassadorial credentials to President 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[edit]

On May 16, 2007, he was appointed as 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 was not immediately clear. While some commentators suggested he would not eclipse[1] Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner, Levitte was elsewhere referred to as "seemingly the true Minister of Foreign Affairs."[2] Despite assertions made while campaigning, it was still unclear to what extent President Sarkozy would treat national security and foreign affairs as the "reserved domain"[3] of the presidency.[4]

He left office on May 15, 2012 following Sarkozy's defeat in the 2012 presidential election.


  1. ^ "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." (in French)
  2. ^ "Sarkozy et ses ministres", Novopress, May 31, 2007, "celui qui est semble-t-il le vrai ministre des Affaires étrangères." (in French)
  3. ^ "Qu'est-ce que c'est le domaine réservé?" (in French)
  4. ^ "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." (in French)

External links[edit]