Louis Alexis Étienne Bonvin

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Louis Alexis Étienne Bonvin (November 6, 1886 in Montluçon (Allier) – February 23, 1946, Montluçon (Allier)) was a French diplomat and Colonial Governor of the French Third Republic, Who served as Governor General of French India between 1938 and 1946.

Early life[edit]

Louis Bonvin was born on November 6, 1886 in Montluçon (Allier) to a family of shopkeepers. He studied in Paris where he graduated from Hautes études commerciales (HEC) and in 1912, joined the colonial administration in French Equatorial Africa. Promoted to deputy director of the colonies in 1914, he served successively in Chad and the Middle Congo and thence Gabon where he served as Inspector of Administrative Affairs in 1933, becoming acting governor in 1933 and finally Incumbent Governor in 1936 serving till December 1937.

French India[edit]

In 1938, the Metropolitan Government entrusted the French Establishments in India, a region shaken by unrest in the textile mills, to Louis Bonvin who successfully restored social peace and earned the trust of his constituents in the five regions of French India: Pondichéry, Kârikâl, Mahé, Yanaon and Chandernagore.

At the announcement of the armistice between France and Germany, his reaction was immediate. On 20 June he telegraphed to the Government of Bordeaux to declare the will of the people of French India to continue the war on the side of the British.

After the signing of the armistice, Bonvin announced, in an appeal to the people of 27 June 1940, that the French Empire (and therefore the French Establishments in India) "will remain on the British side until the final victory." On 12 July, Governor Bonvin, through the British, assured General de Gaulle of the cooperation of the French establishments in India.

On 9 September 1940, two days after having informed the authorities and officers of the colony of his decision, Louis Bonvin proclaimed the official rally of Free France. In response, he was immediately confirmed in his position in the French settlements in India by General de Gaulle.

For "delivery to a foreign power of territory belonging to France," Louis Bonvin was sentenced to death by the order of 14 January 1942 issued by the Permanent Military Tribunal of Saigon, his wife, Marcelle Bonvin, being sentenced to penal servitude for life.

For the duration of hostilities, Bonvin was at the forefront as a representative of General de Gaulle for India and the East from 1940 to 1944.

He was a member of the Defense Council of the Empire and worked to provide all possible assistance to the Free French Forces including those under the command of General Kœnig in Libya. This aid is intended for the Red Cross that the committee is headed by his wife, the soldiers of the FFL in the form of subscriptions and also remittances.

Before he left India in September 1945, the British government, because of services rendered to the Allied cause, the Viceroy of India awarded him the dignity of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Louis Bonvin died on 23 February 1946, as a result of an illness contracted in India, three months after his return to Montluçon, his hometown, where he is buried.

Titles Held[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Étienne Charles Deschanel
Governor General of Gabon
24 October 1936–11 September 1937
Succeeded by
Georges Hubert Parisot
Preceded by
Horace Valentin Crocicchia
Governor General of Pondichéry
26 September 1938–1945
Succeeded by
Nicolas Ernest Marie Maurice Jeandin

See also[edit]