Cherif Guellal

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Cherif Guellal

Cherif Guellal (born Aug. 19, 1932, died April 7, 2009) was an Algerian resistance fighter and the the first post-colonial Algerian ambassador to the United States.

Early Life

Guellal's mother, Fatima, became a leader in anti-French resistance groups. She was imprisoned and tortured by the French, as were many other members of the family. He graduated in 1956 from a university in Aix-en-Provence, France, before joining the Algerian provisional government in exile. He mostly worked from India for the independence movement, trying to build international support for the resistance. He fought for the bloody independence movement that in 1962 secured freedom for his North African country from French rule. After serving as a top lieutenant to Ahmed Ben Bella, the rebel leader-turned-president, Guellal arrived in Washington, D.C., as post-colonial Algeria's first ambassador to the United States.[1]

Personal Life

Guellal (center), with Yolande Fox at his left

In her 1973 memoir, "Laughing All the Way", Barbara Howar described Guellal as a "handsome and brilliant young freedom fighter" and a "roving intellectual" who became much in demand among the Embassy Row elite and local society "Swing Set". Guellal and IPS-member, Yolande Fox met in this "Swing Set", and began a relationship which was to last until Guellal's death in 2009.[1]

After the death of her husband, movie tycoon Matthew Fox, Yolande moved to Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Here she met and began a relationship with Cherif Guellal who had formerly been the Algerian ambassador to the United States. Guellal never married Fox, but they considered each other spouses, and he helped raise her daughter, Dolly Fox.[1]

Fabian connection

The British Fabian Society's 79th annual report of July 1 1961 to June 1962 lists Fabian Society events convened in that year, including the Annual Easter School; According to the report the Easter School was held at Beatrice Webb House and was directed by Anthony Wedgwood Benn. The lecturers were Cherif Guellal, Colin Legum, David Marquand, Hella Pick, Leonard Shapiro and Benn. [2]

Algerian Ambassador

Guellal remained his country's chief envoy in Washington after military leader Houari Boumedienne toppled Ahmed Ben Bella's government in a 1965 coup. Following this event, Guellal told President Lyndon B. Johnson that he hoped relations would improve between the two countries. The 1967 Arab-Israeli War severed diplomatic ties between the United States and Algeria and ended Guellal's term as ambassador. He remained Algeria's unofficial representative in Washington while shuttling between homes in Georgetown, Algiers and Paris and consulting for U.S. companies hoping to conduct business in the Arab world.[1]

Compared with others, Barbara Howar wrote, Guellal "entertained less often and less lavishly but in a certain swashbuckling style that drew together the keener political minds, celebrated academicians, international radicals and showbiz luminaries who were the residuals of Mrs. Fox's years of salon-keeping in New York and Los Angeles."

Guellal became a fixture of society columns. His social secretary was Sally Quinn, who became a Washington Post reporter and chronicler of the city's power elite.[3]

Institute for Policy Studies

Guellal has served as a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. In his paper entitled "Communophilism" and the Institute for Policy Studies, Joshua Muravchik writes that circa 1980,

"During the Six-Day War, Algeria severed diplomatic relations to protest United States support for Israel. Instead of returning to Algeria, Guellal became a Fellow at IPS."[4]

Cherif Guellal was a member of the Institute for Policy Studies 20th Anniversary Committee, which organized an April 5, 1983, reception at the National Building Museum, Washington DC attended by approximately 1,000 IPS staffers and former staff.[5]

Jamie Raskin Book Launch

On March 10, 2006, IPS member, Yolande Fox and former Algerian Ambassador, Cherif Guellal hosted a book launch for Jamin B. Raskin's most recent book entitled "Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court Versus the American People" at their home in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Among those in attendance were , Jamie's father and IPS-founder, Marcus Raskin; Jim Hudson; Carol Blitzer; Dennis Campbell; Hisham Khalid; Mark Plotkin; Ira Lowe; Michelle Carhart; Steve Wermiel; Former Senator Mike Gravel and his wife, Whitney Gravel; Owen Lombardi; Zeus Yiamouyhannis; Douglass McGray; Lisa Richards and David Toney.

Of the book, Barbara Ehrenreich has stated, "This brilliantly argued and meticulously researched book both alarms and inspires".[6]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 L.A. Times: Cherif Guellal dies at 76; Algerian resistance fighter and diplomat, April 13, 2009 (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  2. [1] Fabian Society's 79th annual report of July 1 1961 to June 1962, page 6
  3. [2] Cherif Guellal dies at 76; Algerian resistance fighter and diplomat, LA times April 13, 2009
  4. 2001 "Communophilism" and the Institute for Policy Studies, by Joshua Muravchik (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  5. Information Digest April l5, 1983 p77-79
  6. Washington Life website: Yolande Fox's Book Party for Jamie Raskin, April 3, 2006 (accessed on April 30, 2010)