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Raoul Aglion; French Author, Jurist, Government Official and Diplomat Was in His 90s

April 17, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

Raoul Aglion, an author, U.N. representative and diplomat who served as France's commercial counselor in Los Angeles in the 1960s and '70s, has died. He was in his 90s, said his daughter, Marie.

Aglion died of natural causes March 14 in Seattle.

Before World War II, Aglion was a professor at the Ecoles de Hautes Etudes in Paris.

He also was a jurist in Paris and wrote numerous books, including legal dictionaries and a book on Anglo-Saxon trust law.

In addition, Aglion held a variety of government posts, including appointments to the cabinets of ministries for Commerce and for Finance.

He was serving as attache to the French Legation at Cairo when World War II began, and he resigned his post in September 1940 in disagreement with the policy of the Vichy government.

During the war, Aglion served as a delegate of Gen. Charles de Gaulle in the United States, where he represented the Free French government in exile.

After the war, he was appointed to the French Embassy in Washington and, working with the U.S. secretary of state and others, helped coordinate postwar planning.

He also participated in drafting the charter of the United Nations, and he addressed the closing session of the U.N. General Assembly in 1945 in the name of France.

Aglion was director of the U.N.'s economic department from 1945 to 1955, and he was one of the first chiefs of mission sent to various countries to help establish peace and justice and to help the poor and dispossessed.

After his service to the U.N., his diplomatic career included counselor to the French embassies in Cuba and Venezuela, and charge de mission in the Cabinet of the prime minister of France. He was France's commercial counselor in Los Angeles from 1963 to the early 1970s.

Aglion's many medals and honors included Officier de la Legion d' Honneur of France. His books in English include "War in the Desert" (1941), "The Fighting French" (1943) and "Roosevelt and de Gaulle" (1988).

His earlier book in French, "De Gaulle et Roosevelt: la France libre aux Etats Unis," which was the basis for "Roosevelt and de Gaulle," was awarded the history prize of the Academie Francaise.

His wife, Suzette, a founding member of the Group, the support organization of the Otis Art Institute, died in 1975.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret; children Marie and Michael; stepdaughter Janice Burrill; and two granddaughters.

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