Kuwaiti Crown Prince and Prime Minister received by General de Gaulle

Kuwait had become independent in 1961, and France recognised its sovereignty just a couple of months later. Diplomatic relations progressed rather slowly, however, and it was only in 1968, that embassy-level representation by France in Kuwait was established.

In April 1969, a Kuwaiti delegation visited France on an official state visit, led by the Crown Prince and Prime Minister H.H. Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The French Prime Minister, Maurice Couve de Murville, first received the Crown Prince at a meeting on 15 April, and this was followed by a lunch to which Bernard de Margerie38 was invited. On 18 April, the President of the French Republic, Charles de Gaulle, received H.H. Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

H.H. Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain, visits Paris, September 1969

The visit in September 1969 of H.H. Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain, was politically significant. During this trip, his first official visit to France, he was received by the Prime Minister, Jacques Chaban-Delmas. Whilst in France, he was welcomed to Paribas headquarters and met the Bank s senior management. During this encounter, the Emir expressed his wish to see commercial and financial relations between France and Bahrain grow, and invited representatives of the Bank to visit Bahrain at their earliest convenience.

Jacques de Fouchier in the Gulf States in 1974 and 1975

Paribas President Jacques de Fouchier first visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in February 1974, and although there were no plans at that time to establish a branch there, the purpose of the visit was to develop contacts with the country s highest authorities. A month earlier, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Michel Jobert, had made an official three-day visit to the Kingdom to create the basis for economic co-operation between France and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, responding to pressing demands for a major industrialisation effort envisaged both by H.H. King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwaiti Emir H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. As a result, an agreement was signed between the French company ELF-Erap and the Saudi Arabian Petromin Corporation, to deliver 30 million tonnes of oil over three years.

De Fouchier next went to Sharjah to meet the Ruler and visit the premises of the brand new Bank of Sharjah, a bank set up at the request of the Ruler in which Paribas held a 20 percent stake.

38. Paribas Deputy General Manager, in charge of foreign affairs.

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