Félix Gaillard

Félix Gaillard d'Aimé (French: [feliks ɡajaʁ]; 5 November 1919 – 10 July 1970) was a French Radical politician who served as Prime Minister under the Fourth Republic from 1957 to 1958. He was the youngest head of a French government since Napoleon.[1]

Félix Gaillard
96th Prime Minister of France
In office
6 November 1957  14 May 1958
Preceded byMaurice Bourgès-Maunoury
Succeeded byPierre Pflimlin
Personal details
Born5 November 1919
Died10 July 1970(1970-07-10) (aged 50)
near Jersey
Political partyRadical


A senior civil servant in the Inland Revenue Service, Gaillard joined the Resistance and served on its Finance committee. As a member of the Radical Party, he was elected deputy of Charente département in 1946. During the Fourth Republic, he held a number of governmental offices, notably as Minister of Economy and Finance in 1957.

Prime minister

He became Prime Minister in 1957, but, not unusually for the French Fourth Republic, his term of office lasted only a few months. Gaillard was defeated in a vote of no confidence by the French National Assembly, in March 1958, after the bombing of Sakiet-Sidi-Youssef, a Tunisian village.

Later political career

President of the Radical Party from 1958 to 1961, he advocated an alliance of the center-left and the center-right parties. He represented a generation of young politicians whose careers were blighted by the advent of the Fifth Republic.


  • Gaillard was last seen alive on July 9, 1970, when he and two passengers boarded his yacht, the Marie Grillon and departed the island of Jersey to return to the French mainland after a brief stay. The next day, bits of the wreckage of the yacht were found at the Minquiers reefs, along with the bodies of the two passengers [2]. Gaillard's body was found, along with that of another passenger, floating in the English Channel on July 12 [3].

Gaillard's Ministry, 6 November 1957 – 14 May 1958

Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Ramadier
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs
Succeeded by
Pierre Pflimlin
Preceded by
Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Pierre Pflimlin
Party political offices
Preceded by
Édouard Daladier
President of the Radical Party
Succeeded by
Maurice Faure


  1. Biography in French on the Assemblée Nationale Web Site
  2. "Ex-French Premier Missing in Channel", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 11, 1970, p2
  3. "Yacht Blast Yields Ex-Premier's Body", Atlanta Constitution, July 11, 1970, p2

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