1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ribot, Alexandre Félix Joseph

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RIBOT, ALEXANDRE FELIX JOSEPH (1842-), French statesman (see 23.285). On Jan. 3 1909 M. Ribot was elected a member of the French Senate, and in Feb. of the following year was offered, but refused, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in the Monis Cabinet. After the formation of M. Poincaré's Government on Jan. 14 1912 he took the place of M. Léon Bourgeois as president of the committee appointed to deal with the Franco-German treaty, the necessity for the ratification of which he demonstrated. In 1913 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of the Republic, and on the fall of M. Barthou's Government was invited by President Poincaré to form a Cabinet, but refused. In 1914 he became, with M. Jean Dupuy, leader of the Left Republican group which refused to accept the decisions of the Radical Socialist congress at Pau in Oct. 1913. On June 9 1914 he became prime minister and Minister of Justice, but his Government was bitterly assailed by the Radical Socialists as well as other groups, and only lasted one day.

With the outbreak of the World War M. Ribot's great reputation as an expert in finance and foreign affairs brought him effectively into office. On Aug. 27 1914 he became Minister of Finance in M. Viviani's Ministry of National Defence, an office which he retained when, on Oct. 28 1915, M. Briand succeeded M. Viviani as prime minister. On Feb. 7 1916 he visited London and held a conference with the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the Treasury. When Briand reconstituted his Cabinet, in Dec. 1916, Ribot retained the portfolio of Finance. On the fall of the Briand Ministry (March 17 1917) President Poincaré again called upon M. Ribot to form a Government, and this time he consented, himself taking the portfolio of Foreign Affairs in addition to the premiership (March 19). In the statement of his policy made to the Chamber on March 21 he declared this to be “to recover the provinces torn from us in the past, to obtain the reparations and guarantees due to France, and to prepare a durable peace based on respect for the rights and liberty of peoples.” On July 31, in a reply to the German Chancellor Michaelis, he admitted that in 1917 an agreement had been made with the Tsar to erect the German territories on the left bank of the Rhine into an autonomous state, but denied that there had been any question of their annexation to France. His Government resigned office on Sept. 7; but he accepted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Painlevé Cabinet constituted six days later. He resigned office finally on Oct. 16, owing to the violent criticism of his refusal to fall into the “trap” of the German peace offers.