Jean Sauvagnargues, 87, a former foreign minister who helped shape France's European policy in the 1970s and advocated strong ties with Germany, died Tuesday, the French Foreign Ministry announced. The cause and place of death were not reported.
Born in Paris, Sauvagnargues graduated from one of France's top colleges, the Ecole Normale Superieure, and did postgraduate studies in German language and literature.
He worked as a German teacher in high school when World War II broke out in 1939 and two years later joined the Vichy government that collaborated with Germany. He broke with it in 1943, however, and joined Gen. Charles DeGaulle's Free French Forces.
He served as foreign minister from 1974 to 1976 under President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Prime Minister Jacques Chirac. Chirac is now president of France.
A career diplomat, Sauvagnargues held ambassadorships in North Africa and Europe, including what was then West Germany, before being appointed foreign minister. He later served as ambassador to Britain. He retired in 1981.
Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin hailed Sauvagnargues as a "lucid and determined ... artisan of European policy."