> Childhood and Youth (1902-1921)

Fouad Abdallah Chehab was born on 19 March 1902, in Ghazir (Kesrouan, Lebanon), to a Christian Maronite family. He was the eldest son of Emir Abdallah Chehab and Sheikha Badiaa Hbeich. His family was of noble ancestry - His great-grandfather is no other than the eldest brother of the Great Emir Bachir II, ruler of Mount Lebanon from 1788 to 1840. But in 1907, due to poverty, Emir Abdallah left the country like many Lebanese men looking for work opportunities abroad. The family never heard back from him. It is believed that he probably died on the ship transporting him from Marseille to North America. Fouad and his two younger brothers Farid and Chakib were thus raised by their mother and maternal uncles, in Jouniyeh.

In 1916, when Fouad Chehab was just 14, due to financial needs, he had to leave school and work at the Jounieh Court to help support his family.

In 1919, he enlisted for one year in the French Army as a soldier - before the French Mandate was proclaimed over Lebanon in 1920, following World War I.

> Early Military Career (1921-1946)

In December 1921, Fouad Chehab joined the French Military School in Damascus. His noble title of Emir helped him be selected, as per an old tradition that the French perpetuated for army officers. On 20 July 1923, he graduated from the Military School as a Lieutenant.

In 1926, he married Rose Renée Boittiaux (1904-1992), the daughter of a French officer in service in Lebanon. They lived together in harmony but did not have children.

In 1929, Fouad Chehab earned the grade of Captain, and was put in charge of the Rashaya casern from 1930 to 1936. In between, he also followed military courses in France and graduated from the École Supérieure de Guerre in Paris.

In 1937, he was named Lieutenant Colonel and served in many top military posts in the ‘Troupes du Territoire du Liban’ of the French Army. In 1942, as the French troops in Lebanon came under the Free French Government lead by General Charles De Gaulle, he was named Commander of the Lebanese Contingent part of the ‘Forces Françaises Libres au Levant’, which became the nucleus of the future Lebanese Army. In 1944, he became a Colonel and later a Brigadier General whose task was to organize all the Lebanese troops. In 1946, the Lebanese troops became the official Lebanese Army body, and the government chose him as Commander in Chief of the Army, giving him the title of Division General.

In 1949, he became the first Lebanese officer to earn the grade of Army General (Liwaa').

> Army Command (1946-1958)

From 1946 to 1958, Chehab dedicated himself to building the Army on high values of discipline, efficient organization, ethics and national belonging. He gradually reorganized and reinforced the various troops (Infantry, Artillery) and departments (Headquarters, Administration, Engineering, Communication and Intelligence), based on modern basis, and later created the Navy and Air Forces. He built Army caserns in all the parts of the country, raised the level of studies in the Military School and sent young officers to French and English Military Academies to enhance their experience and military knowledge.

General Chehab served as Army Commander with President Bechara El Khoury (1946-1952) and President Camille Chamoun (1952-1958), for a total of 13 years.

In 1952, a strong political opposition was pressurizing President Bechara El Khoury to resign after he had renewed his mandate. Chehab refused to let the Army get involved in this political confrontation and intervene for or against any party. When El Khoury was forced to resign, Chehab was appointed Prime Minister with the duty to organize and secure the election of a new president. Keeping a deaf ear to opinions that wanted to see him run for the Presidency, Chehab, strongly against any Army interference in public life, focused on assuming his emergency mission diligently and without delay. Four days later, Camille Chamoun was elected to succeed El Khoury.

In November 1956, he was named by President Chamoun as Minister of Defense, cumulatively with his Army Commander responsibilities. He resigned the ministerial post four months later, preferring to focus on his Army duties, away from the world of politics.

Towards the end of the Chamoun Mandate, following the stern Canal of Suez confrontation between Egypt’s Abdel Nasser and the Western world, the Lebanese politicians and public became severely divided between a pro-American camp headed by Chamoun, and a pro-Arab camp grouping the majority of Muslim politicians and leaders, waving a strong uprising movement against the re-election of Chamoun. This came to be known as the Crisis of 1958, in which armed clashes started on the streets and Chamoun called upon the US Marines to block the uprising of the pro-Nasser movement. Like in 1952, Chehab, as Commander of the Army, refused to allow the military to intervene, especially that this time foreign interferences were clearly manifesting. He simply prevented both the opposition and the government partisans from taking places of strategic importance, such as airports and government buildings, and kept the Army well united and unaffected by the severe political division that the country was enduring.

> Presidency (1958-1964)

As the 1958 crisis deepened and the Chamoun mandate neared its end, Chehab was chosen as the consensus presidential candidate to succeed Chamoun in a salvatory mission to bring back unity and peace to the country that was facing a threatening predicament. He was widely trusted by the Muslims for his impartiality and now accepted by both the US and Nasser for his integrity. He was elected by the Lebanese Parliament on 31 July 1958, for a 6-year presidential mandate.

During the first two years in office, Chehab strived to cool down the tensions. He gained the trust of both camps by ensuring that all the Lebanese fractions' doubts and fears are taken in consideration. He formed consensus governments in which all the country’s political components were represented, and followed the path of moderation, cooperating closely with the different confessional groups. He succeeded in his task and brought back a firm stability to the country.

In July 1960, two years into his mandate, following the June parliamentary elections, seeing that the country had been democratically stabilized and having paved the way for reforms, Chehab presented his resignation, believing that as a military man, he had accomplished his duty towards his country when it was facing an emergency situation and could now step down. He was persuaded by the Members of the Lebanese Parliament to remain in office, and decided to dedicate the rest of his term for administrative reforms and State modernization.

In 1961, the Army suppressed an attempted military coup by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. To hinder such future threats, Chehab strengthened the Lebanese intelligence and security services, to prevent similar threats and hinder foreign interferences in internal affairs.

Chehab’s rule was a delicate balancing act of maintaining harmony between the nation's Christian and Muslim components. He followed the path of dialogue and moderation coupled with public reforms and balanced Arab and international relations, which came to be known as Chehabism. Generally deeply respected for his honesty and integrity, Chehab is credited with a wide range of reform programs and regulations towards creating a modern administration, efficient public services and social justice. This eventually brought him into conflict with the traditional feudal, confessional, and clan-based politicians who felt that their grip on power as mediators between the state and the people was diminishing. Chehab's term in office also brought an era of economic prosperity, social development and infrastructure projects in healthcare and education across the country, especially in the neglected remote areas.

> Last Years (1964-1973)

In 1964, Chehab, whose continuing presence at the head of the country was seen by many as the best option for stability and future reforms, categorically refused to allow the Constitution to be amended to permit him to run for a second presidential term. He backed the candidacy of Charles Helou, a diplomatic figure, who was elected as President. Chehab later became dissatisfied with Helou's governing over the perceived mishandling of the armed presence of Palestinian guerrillas in Southern Lebanon and over Helou's maneuvers to pave the way for the traditional feudal politicians to regain power.

Chehab was expected to contest the presidential election of 1970 which the constitution allowed him for, but in a historical declaration he explained that his experience in office convinced him that the people of his country were not ready to put aside feudal traditional politics and support him in building a modern state. He chose instead to endorse his protégé Elias Sarkis for the elections which Sarkis eventually lost to the feudal leader Suleiman Frangiyeh by a single vote. This marked the end of the Chehabist era and reforms.

The first months of the Frangiyeh mandate saw the dismantling of the country’s intelligence and security services built by Chehab. They were feared, and accused of having kept a strong hold on political life during the Helou mandate. But the dismantling of the '2nd bureau' allowed increased foreign interferences in the internal affairs of the country, soon manifesting as a Palestinian military presence in 1973 and the start of the civil war in 1975.

Fouad Chehab died in Jouniyeh (Lebanon) on 25 April 1973 from a heart attack, at the age of 71.

> The 1958 Crisis

The first occasion for General Fouad Chehab to be elected as President presented itself in 1952. That year, following the uprising against President Bechara El Khoury which led him to resign, General Chehab, who was the Army Commander, was named Prime Minister heading a tripartite Cabinet to oversee the elections of a new president. Many politicians supported Chehab as an unchallenged candidate for the Presidency. Faithful to his deep democratic political education, he declined to even consider such a possibility. He believed that his highest duty as the Army Commander was to protect Lebanon's democratic regime and to stand against any military involvement in politics. He was very perceptive to not allowing Lebanon to be dragged into situations similar to those in the neighboring Arab countries, where army officers took over power, opening the door to a chain of successive military coups.

Four days into his mission as Prime Minister, Chehab had ensured the democratic election of a new president for the country: President Camille Chamoun. Chehab then diligently refocused on his military responsibilities.

In the summer of 1958, the serious division of the Lebanese parties and public between pro-Americans (headed by Chamoun) and pro-Nasser (grouping the majority of Muslim leaders), manifested in armed clashes in the streets creating a volatile situation and jeopardizing the future of the newly independent state and its unity. Like in 1952, during the uprising against President El Khoury, Chehab, still Commander of the Lebanese Army, refused to allow any military interference or intervention; especially that he knew that the Army ran the inevitable risk of becoming divided itself. Under his command, the Army simply protected the presidential palace, prevented any of the fighting parties from taking over places of strategic importance, and remained thus united and immune.

As the crisis deepened and the Chamoun mandate neared its end, Chehab represented the only chance to bring back peace to a country facing a threatening predicament. He was widely trusted for his patriotism and impartiality, and was now supported by both the US and Nasser for his integrity. He was therefore proposed as the consensus presidential candidate to succeed Chamoun. At first, Chehab refused to accept the job, for the same reasons that saw him refuse it six years earlier. But when he became convinced that his role would prevent the possible collapse of the country's unity, he finally accepted this mission. He was elected by the Lebanese Parliament on 31 July 1958.

> Rebuilding National Unity

When President Chehab took office on 23 September 1958, the country was still severely divided between a pro-Arab camp, favorable for a rapprochement with Egypt’s Nasser, and a pro-West camp, favoring a rapprochement with the West. Due to the authority and respect that he had gained in his wise leadership of the Army over the years, he succeeded in imposing himself as a judge for the rival parties (especially after the brief ‘counter-uprising’ by Christian groups in October 1958). He formed a National Unity consensus government grouping the main rival politicians. This was the famous four-Minister Cabinet that included Rachid Karame (Prime Minister), Hussein Oueini, Raymond Edde and Pierre Gemayel. It governed from 14 October 1958 to 14 May 1960 (It was modified and expanded in October 1959).

On the internal front, Chehab’s guiding principle was the spirit of the National Pact of 1943, the ‘non-written constitution’, which is founded on the art of constantly restructuring consensus at the national level, and ensuring everyone’s participation in government.

At the international level and regarding Lebanon’s delicate foreign policy challenge, Chehab’s wisdom was to keep healthy friendly ties with the Western world - most particularly De Gaulle’s France and the Vatican - while assuming Lebanon’s full Arab identity as an active member of the Arab League. He refused to let Lebanon take part in any inter-Arab conflict, encouraging solidarity and ‘brotherhood’ amongst all the Arab countries.

The neighboring United Arab Republic, grouping Egypt and Syria, and headed by Jamal Abdel Nasser, represented another delicate challenge. Abdel Nasser was the uncontested and highly charismatic Arab leader to whom the Muslim Lebanese public had a special affection, while the Christians looked at him with fear. Chehab succeeded in reassuring Nasser that no hostility against the United Arab Republic would be allowed to emerge from the Lebanese territory, and in return he got a clear undertaking from Nasser that Lebanon’s sovereignty, freedom and independence would be respected at all times. This was translated by the famous March 1959 Chehab-Nasser summit held under a tent, right at the Lebanese-Syrian border.

> The July 1960 Resignation

A needed step to reinforce stability and completely heal the wounds of the 1958 crisis was to hold new parliamentary elections on fair democratic basis (The controversial elections of 1957 having been a main reason for the 1958 uprising). In April 1960 a carefully balanced new electoral law was passed by the Parliament paving the way for a fair parliamentary representation. This law tactfully took into consideration all the particularities and needs of the various Lebanese political and confessional textures. (In 2009, almost 50 years later, it was still the fundamental basis used for a ‘fairest’ electoral law!)

In May 1960, a non-political government was formed to conduct the elections, which calmly took place in June.

On 20 July 1960, following these successful democratic parliamentary elections, seeing that the country had been stabilized and having paved the way for reforms, Chehab presented his resignation and called for new presidential elections. He believed that he had accomplished his duty when the country was facing an emergency situation, and that it could now be better lead by a civilian. (In her late years, President Chehab’s wife revealed to people close to her a long kept secret: When reluctantly accepting his candidature in 1958, the President had already clearly expressed to her his intention/condition of stepping down after bringing back stability to the country, and thus remain faithful towards the democratic culture that he believed in, which refused military involvement in politics. He had given himself two years to accomplish this deed!)

After a long day of intense debates, that saw the Members of Parliament rally to Chehab’s residence in Jounieh, the deputies succeeded in convincing him to remain in office. He then decided to dedicate the rest of his term to initiate and lead development projects, administrative reforms and State modernization.

In 1961, an attempted military coup by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party was suppressed by the Lebanese Army; and in order to prevent such future threats, Chehab strengthened the Lebanese Army's intelligence and security services, to forestall foreign interferences in internal affairs and secure the internal balances.

> Chehab’s Convictions Regarding the State

During his military career, Chehab had become aware of the poor economic conditions and rudimentary life-style that some of the citizens of his country had been enduring (notably in Akkar, Hermel and South Lebanon). His modest, yet noble native upbringing, his mature Christian faith, and his democratic western education gave him a human and compassioned approach to matters of life. This sensitivity to social matters was enhanced by the military culture based on values that he imbibed during his studies and trainings in the French Military. Therefore, in his firm conviction, public life had to be approached via its social aspect.

He also knew well from his personal experience part of the Lebanese society, that the toughest obstacle that would stand in the way of building respectable public institutions able to offer security, prosperity, protected rights, equal opportunities and dignity to the citizens, was the mentality inherited from the Ottoman era following which citizens were prone to rely on feudal and confessional leaders to ensure their needs rather on the state’s institutions.

President Chehab was convinced that in order to reduce the confessional belonging and strengthen the national identity, the citizens should have their rights and needs provided and protected by a righteous and efficient state apparatus. “First provide them with a strong and fair State, and in time they would naturally bond in a unified national identity.” This was President Chehab’s belief. After dedicating the first two years of his mandate to provide peace and security, he could now focus his work on building a state based on this belief.

During the second part of his mandate (1961-1964), President Chehab kept the same political balance for forming ministerial cabinets in which the confessional groups were all represented; with the introduction of a few new non-political figures into public life like Elias Sarkis and Fouad Boutros.
Saeeb Salam formed two successive cabinets from August 1960 till October 1961; Rachid Karame headed a long-lived Cabinet from October 1961 to February 1964; and the last Cabinet was Hussein Oueini’s election Cabinet (February to October 1964).

> A Prosperous Period for Lebanon

The Chehab mandate witnessed a restful period for Lebanon, with few scrimmages on the Israeli border, and a peaceful Lebanese-Syrian border. On the internal front, and aside from the attempted Coup d’Etat by the Syrian National party in 1961, very few security incidents occurred. This provided the country with the right setting, coupled with the many judicious reforms and nationwide development projects, to fuel prosperity on all fronts, and to encourage foreign investments from Arab and Western companies.

All the sectors of Lebanon’s economy flourished during this period, and the country established itself as the center of business and tourism in the Arab world, and the link between East and West.

> The IRFED Mission

As early as 1959, President Chehab had entrusted Father Lebret from the IRFED Mission (Institut de Recherches et de Formation en vue de Développement) to conduct a large survey on all the country’s human, natural, economic and social capacities and needs, and to propose plans, projects and solutions for the existing social and economic problems.

Father Lebret (French priest and economist) was the director of the IRFED Mission, a world leading institute adopted by the UNESCO and the Vatican for development studies in third world countries. By entrusting such a task to an international institute of experts, Chehab was freeing it from the expected influence of the traditional Lebanese sectarian power holders.

The extensive and wholesome report presented by IRFED in 1961 confirmed Chehab’s insight into the fact that underneath the deficiencies of the political system and the confessional conflicts laid serious economic and social problems. In fact the apparent prosperity in the capital Beirut was masking alarming under-development and poverty in other regions, such as the Bekaa, the Hermel, the North and the South, which strongly lacked basic infrastructure (electricity, water, roads). Villagers and citizens from the neglected rural areas were moving towards the suburbs of Beirut in search of a better income, creating thus a ‘belt of misery’ around the capital. Huge economic and social gaps were noticed in the society and between the regions, especially at the National Income level.

The IRFED Mission was asked to pursue its work and propose additional solutions to remedy the diagnosed problems and weaknesses. And President Chehab dedicated the remaining of his mandate to initiate various social and economic development projects nation-wide (Beyond Beirut), and to introduce fundamental reforms to the state’s administrative institutions.

> The Mandate’s Development and Reform Achievements

Chehab’s way of bringing change was evolutionary, not revolutionary. He knew that imposing radical changes in a country like Lebanon would simply pave the way to opposing reactions that would manifest sooner or later. He knew that in-depth change required time for the society to get used to it, enjoy its first benefits, and slowly imbibe its principles.

Here is a review of the most important projects and reforms achieved or initiated (as part of long-term plans) during Chehab’s mandate:

On the administrative level:

The Administration suffered from the following: Corruption, feudal alliances of employees, favoritism in nominations and in the services offered, lack of competence, lack of efficiency and primitive equipment.

To address this situation, the Central Inspection Council was created early during the mandate, with the mission to monitor and control the government employees’ work and improve the services provided to the citizens. This was followed by the creation of the Civil Service Board which handled the nominations, replacements and upgrading of employees on merit basis, imposing university qualifications, entry exams, and replacing the widely spread political favoritism with that of professional merit. The National Institute of Administration was also established to provide training to government employees, enhancing their education and competence. A Cooperative for government employees was also created.

The Central Department of Accounts (Diwan al muhasabat) was set, to scrutinize the legal and financial aspects of public procedures and proposed decisions.

A new Municipalities Law, established 380 new municipalities in the various regions; and the powers of the regions’ governors (muhafiz) was broadened to make administrative services less centralized.

On the judiciary level, the Higher Judicial Council, the State Court (Majliss Al Chura) and the Institute of Judicial Studies were restructured.

Chehab’s belief in democratic values and the freedom of the press was firm. To face the poor resistance of the private media to foreign interference, the Ministry of Information was reorganized, with the goal of strengthening the governmental media apparatus.

The Ministry of Planning was also reorganized to meet the requirements of the various development projects and reforms.

On the social and economic level:

Like mentioned earlier social development was perceived by Chehab as the most needed element to strengthen the national bonding and improve the citizens’ quality of life. The aim was to create social equality, through an equal and complementary nation-wide development.

As early as 1959, the Office of Planning and Social Development was established, followed soon after by the National Council for Planning and Development. In 1962, the first National Plan of Development was adopted. Many committees and specialized bodies were formed and other existing ones reorganized to enhance modernization and the various development projects and plans. They covered the areas of economy, finance, banking, education, agriculture, industry, construction, tourism, health, social welfare, police and administration. The National Council for Scientific Research was initiated, grouping the best experts in the country and prominent personalities; it was given like in European countries, an initial role of professional advice in all preparative studies.

The Executive Council for Major Projects was established in line with the one existing in France, and it’s first projects were not only great constructions (highways, bridges), but also bringing basic infrastructure to the less privileged regions and remote areas. About 1150 villages were thus equipped with water, electricity, roads, and schools were built. The Council undertook also major projects for the Industrial sector. (The number of employees in the Industry sector tripled between 1958 and 1964). The Executive Council for Major Projects in Beirut was also created.

Early in the mandate, the Minimum Wage for employees was significantly raised (From 94 L.L. to 125 L.L.) and a mechanism for readjusting it when needed, was set. A Law for Foreign Workers was issued to organize the status of foreign manpower and protect local workers.

Schools, health and social centers were started in the regions, providing training, social services and supporting handicraft activities for the rural population. Agricultural training was offered for farmers, and the Office for Fruits and Office for Wheat and Sugar Beet were created to provide farmers with technical support, and help them in packaging, marketing, and the control of international quality and export. A Cooperatives Law was promulgated to encourage solidarity and expenses sharing/saving amongst farmers. (The figures of the country’s exports tripled between 1961 and 1965).

Education was given an essential consideration, especially in the remote areas. Between 1959 and 1970, the number of students in the South and the Bekaa rose from 64,000 to 225,000 students. A law organizing Higher Education was promulgated, and the Office of Youth and Sports was created. The Lebanese University was expanded, and branches in the following specialization were inaugurated: Law, Political Science, Literature, Sciences and Social Studies.

As per the IRFED Mission recommendations, priority was set on promoting Lebanese Tourism; and the National Council of Tourism was created. Touristic sites were renovated (Jeita grotto, excavations in Saida, Byblos, Tyr, Anjar, Tripoli), rest-areas were built near the sites, and promotion offices were opened in various European, Arab and American cities. (The number of hotels in the country, rose from 245 hotels in 1960, to 339 in 1970)

A very important innovation (fought powerfully by large employers) was the creation of the National Fund of Social Security, which brought financial security and stability for employees, providing them with the right for indemnities mainly at the end of employment and retirement, and medical covering. A Public Housing Institute was also created.

Another major achievement was the new Code of Money and Credit and the creation of the Central Bank of Lebanon to organize the banking and finance sectors (the banking authority was still under the Bank of Lebanon and Syria). These two fundamental projects faced fierce criticism from leading businessmen, accusing them of bringing harm to free economy and bringing forth governmental control. Chehab gave these projects a very high priority and supervised their execution personally.

In the environmental field, The Green Plan project was initiated, and the Litany Project and Qaraoun Dam were completed. The Green Plan offered advice for farmers and long-term credit facilities. It opened new roads, gave a prime importance to irrigation facilities (650 new water tanks were built), and distributed large number of saplings of a variety of trees, and undertook huge forestation campaigns and plans, covering tens of thousands of hectares.

The new Code of Urbanism and the Civil Organization Law aimed at organizing the construction sector and urbanism, and making shelters mandatory. Laws were put to protect the sea shore and green areas. Small fishing ports were built for the fishermen along the coast.

Finally, major work was achieved for expanding the ports of Saida and Tripoli, the continuation of the third basin of the Port of Beirut, and setting the work for the Port of Jounieh in motion. The Zouk-Faraya and Bickfaya-Kleyaate highways were also executed, as well as roads in the mountains and roads to link the littoral with the Bekaa valley.

> The Notion 'Chehabism'

The notion ‘Chehabism’ was used for the first time by Georges Naccache (renowned journalist and minister) in his famous lecture “Un Nouveau Style – Le Chéhabisme”, in November 1960. When this notion became commonly used by the media to refer to Fouad Chehab’s government, Chehab personally downplayed any philosophical or ideological attribute to it, and simply stated that, his, was a way of governing that aimed to serve at best the Lebanese entity by constantly taking into consideration its various components’ needs and particularities. Chehab believed that with the implementation of adequate administrative reforms and long-term nation-wide development projects, the State would be strengthened and would thus provide the best guarantee for a better and more stable future for the Nation.

To successfully accomplish such a deed, Chehab’s way was to move cautiously but steadily. He knew from his leadership experience as Commander of the Army that any adventurous step in a confessional context as delicate as Lebanon’s, would bring counter-effects on the long run. His actions were based on thorough planning, never on impulsive decisions. He wanted the mind-set of the people to evolve with conviction, along with the changes at the institutional level. G. Naccache, using a Paul Valéry image, compared this task to the rolling of a cigarette (old style), in which one had to move two steps forward then one step backwards to redo the rolling, to eventually succeed in making a firm and consistent roll.

Chehabism is thus, that particular approach to governing, adopted by Fouad Chehab, and the public reforms linked to it. It was also commonly referred to as “Al-Nahj”.

> The objectives of Chehabism

Fouad Chehab did not seek power; he even declined the presidential post, and more than once: In 1952, when he was named Prime Minister to oversee the presidential elections and proposed as a candidate; in 1958 when first approached, as the emergency of the situation was pushing him forth; in 1960, when he presented his resignation; in 1964, when he refused to allow the constitution to be amended for him to run for a new mandate; and again in 1970, when he explained in a realistic and noteworthy statement his reasons for not running for the post.

When he was elected in 1958, Chehab’s mission was clear: To stop the violence, diffuse the tensions and restore harmony in the country. As successful steps were materializing in this primary task, Chehab’s second endeavor started taking shape: Bringing about reforms that would strengthen the State’s apparatus and make it the true reference for all the citizens, establishing thus the true 'State of Independence' as he dearly called it. In his eyes, this would free the citizens from feudal and confessional dependence, bond the national unity and build a strong immunity against possible future crisis.

The Chehabist thinking, conceived state reforms to go along with social and economic nation-wide urban and rural development. True social justice meant that development should reach all parts of the country - especially the most deprived areas - , and all segments of society.

This long-term strategy was the goal and purpose of his governance model. Political games, power seeking and adversities based on sectarian interests, were not a dynamism that Chehab looked for or fed on. He viewed these practices, as diversions and distractions from the main and higher goal.

The end-results of the Chehabist mandate were highly successful: Taking over an almost collapsing country in 1958, President Chehab was handing over six-year later a stable nation, with all sectarian tensions appeased, citizens re-united and a future promising harmony and economic prosperity, with important reforms and development projects underway.

> Fouad Chehab personality traits

Chehabism is intimately linked to Fouad Chehab as a person, and to his personality traits. He was not a politician, neither by nature nor by intention. He was above all a man of values and principles.

As an army officer formed by the French military tradition, he belonged to a school of discipline, nobility, ethics and professionalism. There is no doubt that he was strongly influenced and embraced with a deeply rooted conviction, the principles and values of the French Republic democratic culture, and General de Gaulle’s national movement.

As a commander and builder of the Lebanese Army, he inspired immense respect, not only for his strictness in enforcing discipline and the perfect application of the rules, but also for the human understanding and genuine caring shown towards his subordinates for whom he was a fatherly figure.

As a Christian, he was a faithful believer and a compassionate person, applying his religious principles and moral values to his personal life and to all his actions. Detached from the materialistic attractions of the world, he accomplished his duties free from personal interests, and lived a life of contentment sparing a regular amount of his simple salary (30%) to discretely support people in need. His mature Christian faith made him respect all other religions equally and keep a positive disposition for inter-religious dialogue.

As a person, he was modest and humble, full of goodness and empathy. His life-style was extremely simple, even austere (which earned him the nickname of ‘hermit’ or secluded). His best friend and confident was his wife, with whom he shared the same beliefs and philosophical values. They shared a dislike for social life and outings, and the same hobby of reading books on politics, history and spirituality, that they would later discuss (books were the only gifts that he would accept and appreciate).

As an interlocutor, he was an exceptionally good listener. He was very courteous, of refined manners, and spoke calmly and clearly. His words and thoughts were balanced, never imposing or aggressive, rather aiming to convince. His transparent sincerity inspired trust and respect to people meeting him. (This was probably a determining factor for gaining Nasser’s trust during their cornerstone 1959 summit on the Lebanese-Syrian border) He was discreet and reserved on matters that were not of public concern. His beliefs were clearly expressed in the yearly Independence Day speeches to the Nation.

In his public responsibilities, before taking action, he gave ample time to study the subject matter at hand in details, and asked for expert opinions, especially on issues that were not familiar to him. He was realistic in his assessments and his choices of actions, which were often based on healthy common sense. He was far-sighted in his planning. He had a subtle understanding of the human nature and aware of its weaknesses; and therefore had no illusions regarding the Lebanese common citizen and his capacity for changing from being individualistic to giving priority to public interest.

He was the only Lebanese statesman to bring social concern to the same level of political ones, and to work diligently on all social issues. He was completely dedicated to his work, spending his private time to study files and hold meetings to ensure the execution of all planned for matters (his heavy working schedule and resulting tension caused him to lose 17 kg during the 6 years of his mandate).

He was not interested in enjoying the extravagant privileges that come with authority and power. He never traveled abroad during his mandate. He viewed his presidency role as a mission, and treated it as a duty and service towards the people of his country. In this, he actually was the opposite of politicians usually driven by power ambitions and personal glories. His public appearances were restricted to the annual official occasions like the Independence Day. He strongly disliked appearing in the media or using any kind of propaganda. His, was a silent way of effective work.

Upon his election, Chehab decided not to move to the presidential palace occupied by his predecessors in Beirut (Kantari palace). He chose instead to renovate a simple villa in Sarba, five minutes drive from his house in Jounieh. His house remained his living place, while the Sarba ‘Presidential Palace’ was the ‘working place’ where he came daily from 8:30am to 3:00pm to hold official meetings and carry out presidential protocol duties. He had a late lunch with his wife when returning home, and went through the official mail and newspapers summaries (including ‘Le Monde’), and reports throughout the afternoon.
Wednesdays were dedicated for the weekly Cabinet meeting and meetings with ministers; Thursdays for meeting the governments General Directors and the experts in charge of studying or executing the various reform development projects that he discussed extensively with them; Fridays for meeting diplomats.
In summer time, he moved with his wife to a rented house in Ajaltoun, and would come down to Sarba only once or twice a week, keeping his regular weekly schedule and holding his other daily meetings in Ajaltoun.

> The Political Principles of Chehabism

Chehabism as applied by President Chehab was based on the following main political principles:

Protecting Lebanon’s independence and sovereignty
This was most exemplified in the following two significant events:
In 1958, when the Marines landed on the shore near Beirut and Chehab as a Commander of the Army was not officially informed: He gave orders for the Lebanese Army to aim its fire towards the foreign invading forces, the tension was diffused only after an official contact was established between the Marines command and the Lebanese Army based on restricting the deployment of the Marines to a limited coastal area near Beirut (Khaldé), without entering the capital.
In 1959, when he insisted that his summit with Abdel Nasser be held on the Lebanese-Syrian frontier.
In general, his pride for sovereignty was visible in his strong aversion to the major foreign embassies’ customary interference in internal affairs.

Preserving the National Unity
The 1943 National Pact, the unwritten constitution for the Lebanese political regime proclaimed on the eve of Independence, was the founding stone for President Chehab’s government. The Pact established Lebanon as a final united nation for all Lebanese (Christians reverting from seeking French sponsoring and Muslims desisting from their pull towards a union with neighboring Arab countries). When Chehab was elected in 1958, the basic elements of the National Pact were shaken, and Chehab’s task was to rebuild trust, heal the cracks and renew the Pact’s spirit. He succeeded in this and worked on re-strengthening this national bonding, internally by initiating judicious reforms and development projects, and internationally by repositioning the country in a neutral spot vis-a-vis neighboring conflicts.

Respecting and protecting constitutional legitimacy, democracy and public freedoms
These principles were highly sacred for Chehab. It was a paradox to see an army man, save and protect a democratic parliamentary regime. If Chehab was to follow the trend of army generals in the third world countries, he could have taken over power already in 1952, or intervened for this purpose early in 1958 (before the expiration of Chamoun’s mandate). He also would have accepted to amend the constitution for his re-election in 1964.
But instead, he remained intransigently faithful to ‘the book’ (the constitution) and the spirit of democracy that he deeply believed in. Often in his speeches to army officers, he would repeat the ideal that he asked them to strive for (and he was a living example of that ideal): To take it as a military duty to protect democracy and the parliamentary regime.
In regard to freedoms, he refused during his mandate two law projects proposed by members of the parliament aiming to limit the press’s freedom: a law to control the income of media and a law to limit the number of newspapers.

Keeping a balanced Foreign Policy
To best protect the National Unity and immunize it against situations similar to that of 1958 that would seriously shake it, Chehab followed a balanced foreign policy. He maintained friendly ties with the West, without being hostile to the Soviet Union. With him Lebanon assumed fully its Arab identity and took a neutral stand in regard to any inter-Arab conflict, encouraging solidarity (especially in regard to the Palestinian cause) and ‘brotherhood’ towards all the Arab countries. By this clear policy, Chehab succeeded in getting Nasser to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence.

Political and administrative confessional balance
The Lebanese constitution states that the confessional regime running the country’s political and public life is temporary. The aim was to eventually replace this confessional consensus with a true democracy were the national belonging makes all Lebanese equal in rights. Chehab knew that this was still a far reached goal, and strived in the meantime on applying a fair confessional balance both in political life (representation in ministerial cabinets, essence of election laws), and in the public and administrative nominations. He applied the 50% Christian-50% Muslim rule, trying to introduce a few technocrat public figures to temper the strict confessional aspect in public life.

Social justice, nation-wide development
Social justice is the economic expression of National Unity. Chehab rectified the social and economic injustice endured by the citizens in the remote regions, first by ensuring that basic needs such as schools, medical dispensaries, roads, electricity and water, reached them, then by coming forth with development projects in these regions. He believed that when the rights and needs of citizens were cared for and delivered by the state, their confessional and regional belonging would slowly melt into a unified national identity, in which all Lebanese would enjoy equally rights and duties.

Economical liberalism and development planning
Chehab protected the free and liberal economy system enjoyed in Lebanon, making sure that the elements of personal initiative, free capitalism and bank secrecy remain protected in Lebanon’s economic system. But, following the examples of European countries, he introduced proper and long-term judicious planning into development (based on the expert studies provided by the IRFED Mission). This resulted in more stability, less control by monopolies, and an impressive economic boom and prosperity benefitting all the sectors of the Lebanese society.

Limiting foreign interferences in internal affairs
To curb the inherited and strongly embedded tendency of politicians to seek and strengthen individual ‘special relations’ with foreign powers, and as a necessary step following the coup d’état attempt of 1961, Chehab strengthened the intelligence services in the country (Mainly what came to be known as the '2nd bureau'). This succeeded in limiting foreign interferences and building a firm control on security. But eventually this solid security grip was used as a tool by the traditional politicians who saw their power positions diminish, to criticize Chehab’s rule accusing it of infringing public freedom and democracy.

> The Second Bureau

After the 1961 failed military coup, there was an imperative need to reinforce the National security services in order to protect the regime from similar threats in the future, monitor existing foreign intelligence and minimize foreign interferences in internal affairs. Commonly referred to as the ‘Second Bureau’, the Army’s Intelligence Service was restructured and given additional powers. President Chehab personally and carefully chose the officers affected to this service. Reviewing their military files, he picked young officers hailing from modest and non-politically aligned families, having the Army’s culture of National belonging strongly embedded in them.

From 1961 to 1970 the Second Bureau established a rare and precious prolonged period of stability and security, which allowed the country to enjoy a whole decade of prosperity and development. It was though naturally disliked by some traditional politicians who accused it of interfering in parliamentary elections to support new political figures, favorable to the Chehabist reforms, and curbing the powers that the traditional politicians enjoyed, mainly through their well knitted ties with foreign powers. A masterfully directed campaign was thus waged against the Second Bureau through the media, accusing it of controlling the political scene, even of ‘militarizing’ the country.

Early on in his mandate, faithful to his strong democratic beliefs, President Chehab had refused to pass a law that would control the sources of income of the media. Exploiting the sacred ‘freedom of press’, the politicians whose interests were hampered by the Chehabist reforms and the Second Bureau’s knowledge of their habitual ways, used the media establishments that they controlled to build a public opinion hostile to Chehabism, targeting primarily the ‘Second Bureau men’. This continued and reached its peak during President Helou’s mandate.

After Elias Sarkis lost the 1970 presidential elections, the same politicians, now in power, had a free hand to revengefully punish these officers and other officers close to President Chehab. First, the officers were removed from their positions; then, they were assigned as military attachés to remote countries (South America, India, Pakistan, …). Only the head of the Second Bureau, Colonel Gaby Lahoud, was allowed to be in a European capital: Madrid. In 1972, they were called back to face a Military Disciplinary Council for ‘abuse of power, misconduct and embezzlement’ and in 1973 they were rushed into trial at the Military Court and dismissed from the Army. To avoid being thrown in jail, Lahoud had to seek political asylum in Spain while others did the same in Syria. Late 1974, the judgments were reversed, the officers were acquitted from all accusations, and later were reintegrated into the Army with their military ranks and rights fully restored.

There is no doubt that the dismantling of this intelligence body at that time facilitated foreign interferences in the country with no deterrent, which soon manifested as the Palestinian military presence in 1973 and the start of the civil war in 1975 as the Lebanese state lost control over security and political matters.

Today, there is a universal appreciation and praising amongst all Lebanese groups and journalists for Chehab’s views, the remarkable achievements of his mandate and his sincere endeavor towards building the State of institutions, but there is still a trend amongst some journalists to criticize the Second Bureau, accusing it sometimes of even having had a grip on Chehab himself! The fact is that that department, entrusted with extremely sensitive responsibilities, was fully committed to serve Lebanon’s national and non-sectarian interests. With limited resources but a one-pointed commitment, it blocked all foreign intelligence influence on the Lebanese territory, monitored the ties and connections of public and press figures with outside powers, and had a full security control on all happenings within the borders. This had offered a feeling of safety and tranquility to all citzens and paved the way for a nationwide economic prosperity.

The officers of the Second Bureau were, like all the officers close to Chehab, the people that he trusted the most for their integrity, honesty and professionalism, and towards whom he showed a true fatherly affection. He was extremely affected by the vengeful unfairness that they suffered after 1970, kept a personal correspondence with each of them when they were sent to far countries and was deeply concerned for their future and their families’ living conditions. An attitude that his wife maintained after his tragic death in 1973, repeating to many that the main cause for the President’s fatal heart attack was his deep sadness for the way in which those officers and most trusted ones were unfairly prosecuted, and how this would affect the Army and its morale in the future, and thus Lebanon’s precarious stability and its immunity against foreign interferences.

> The limits of Chehabism

What can be identified as limitations to Chehabism on the practical level, are in fact fundamental principles of the Chehabist thought: The respect of democracy and the constitution, not imposing changes unless the citizens are ready for them, not using propaganda to manipulate people’s feelings and dreams.

Chehabism’s golden era was President Chehab’s mandate years (1958-1964). To prolong this era and move forward with the reforms, Chehabism needed to stay in power longer. But in 1964, truthful to his principles and in respect to the constitution, Fouad Chehab refused to run for a second mandate which would have allowed him to powerfully continue with the state reforms and the development projects. He chose to back a civilian to continue the mission. President Charles Helou, started his mandate on the tracks of Chehab’s reforms, but slowly fell into the traps of politics and compromise between matters of pure national interest and others of political maneuvering nature. This made the retired Chehab take his distances from Helou, and Helou engaged in subtle power struggles with other Chehabist strong components: politicians and members of parliament faithful to Chehab, and most of all the 'Second bureau' which enjoyed a powerful and respected presence.

In 1970, and despite the insisting demand of parliamentary majority, Chehab chose again not to run for the Presidency, endorsing instead his ‘spiritual son’ Elias Sarkis (who unexpectedly lost these elections, by just one vote). As expressed in his statement of August 4, 1970, which explained why he didn't want to run for the presidency again, Chehab believed that the country was not yet ready for the changes that he would have wanted to bring about; changes that he wouldn’t envisage imposing using non-democratic means.

Probably because of a personal sensitivity towards the fascistic ways that Europe had recently endured, and the military regimes in the Arab world, Chehab had a strong dislike to the use of propaganda or to allow the creation of a public idol image around his person.

The limits of Chehabism can be summarized in one condition that Chehab had put: That all citizens participate with conviction in the national reform task.

> Chehabism after Fouad Chehab

Being a way of governing, Chehabism in theory can be envisaged without the personal presence of Fouad Chehab. But the post-1970 period – and up to date – has shown that without Chehab (and the respect that he personally imposed), and without the special conjuncture that brought him to power, Chehabism never fought to reach power again, and when it did reach the presidency through national consensus when the nation was facing dead-end situations, it did not have the opportunity or the means to take initiatives.

Elias Sarkis, Chehab’s personal presidential choice for 1970, was elected by consensus in 1976, but the degrading situation in the country left him with no political authority and no chance to even envisage reforms or development. For six years all that he could do was manage the crisis, try to minimize the damages and protect the little that could be preserved of the State’s presence.

In 1989, the Taef agreement, when looking for a personality accepted by all, who could successfully reunite the country and govern it in a healthy way, the choice fell on President René Moawad a faithful and convinced Chehabist politician. Unfortunately Moawad was killed before he even started his nation-rebuilding task.

In 1998 and in 2008, when searching for a consensual President with the profile of someone able to reunite the nation, the choice fell on the Commanders in Chief of the Army General Emile Lahoud and General Michel Suleiman, inspired by the choice of General Chehab in 1958.

This leads us to conclude that Chehabism, with or without Fouad Chehab’s presence, does not live on adversity, or seek power. It is called upon in time of crisis, and takes over authority on a national (and international) consensus basis. Thus, Chehabism never envisaged forming a political party and compete with other parties for positions and public responsibilities.

Nevertheless, Chehabism is undoubtedly a virtuous way of governing that any person in a responsible position can be inspired from, and seek to apply when approaching matters of general interest, particularly delicate ones.

> Newspapers 1959-1963

> News items upon his death (April 1973)

> Testimonials - 'Fouad Chehab, the builder of the Independence State' book

A large collection of articles, testimonies and conference talks on President Chehab were compiled in the ‘Fouad Chehab, the builder of the Independence State – Testimonials’ book, published by the Fouad Chehab Foundation in 2005 (see the Publications page).

The whole book is available on this website:
- Part 1
(Includes speeches by Emir Hares Chehab, General Jean Nassif, Doctor Hassan Shalak, Doctor Boutros Dib, General (President) Michel Suleiman, Minister Georges Frem, President Selim Hoss, General Ahmad El Hajj)
- Part 2
(Includes speeches by Minister Talal Arslane, Minister Rafic Chahine, Ambassador Fouad Turk, Archbishop Khalil Abi Nader (representing H.B. Nasrallah Sfeir), Minister Georges Corm, journalists Talal Salman, Suleiman Takieddine, Bassem El Jisr, Ambassador Joseph Donato and Minister Fouad Al Saad)
- Part 3
(Includes articles by President Charles Helou, Minister Kamal Joumblatt, Minister Fouad Boutros, Bassem El Jisr, General Michel Nassif, journalist Izzat Safi, General Aziz El Ahdab, General Francois Genadry, Mr. Jean Kmeid and Mr. Farhan Saleh)

> Articles and reports from recent years

Between a Monk and an Emir

(By Father Yakub Skayyem, published by Kaslik, 2014, Arabic)

Download and read excerpts from this NEW book in which Father Skayyem, a close friend of President Chehab, shares his meetings & interactions with him as noted down in his personal diary:
Part 1: Year 1967
Part 2: 16 February - 22 May 1969
Part 3: 28 July - 25 December 1969
Part 4: 10 April - 19 August 1970
Part 5: Year 1973 & death of President Chehab

Fouad Chehab

(By Bassem Al Jisr, published by The Fouad Chehab Foundation, 1998, Arabic)

Download and read the whole book:
Part 1: Before the Presidency
Part 2: President
Part 3: After the Presidency
Part 4: Chehabism
(Recommended to read)

Fouad Chehab’s Republic

(By Nicolas Nassif, published by Dar Anl Nahar and The Fouad Chehab Foundation, November 2008, Arabic)

Download and read excerpts:
Chapter 1 – The prediction
Chapter 5 – The silent one
Chapter 17 – The confusing neighborhood
Chapter 27 – The witness
(Available in bookshops - recommended to read)

Chehabism - A school of visionary modernisation

(By Me Toufik Anis Kfoury, November 2012, Arabic)

Download and read excerpts from the book:
Summary - Intro - Chapter 1 - Chapter 5
Chapter 6 - Chapter 10 (Part 1 - Part 2)
Chapter 11 (Part 1 - Part 2) - Conclusion
Media report (Al Arabi Magazine)
(Available in bookshops - Recommended to read)

Le Journal du Père Lebret (1959 - 1964) - Chronique de la construction d'un Etat
(Stéphane Malsagne, October 2014, French)

Download and read excerpts from Père Lebret's diary:
On 19 August 1960
On 7 April 1961
On 20 January 1964
On 2 November 1964

A review of the book

Le Chéhabisme
(by Georges Naccache, Conférences du Cénacle Libanais, November 1960, French)

Download and read:
The whole booklet

(This is the famous conference in which the notion ‘Chehabism” was introduced for the first time, and its philosophy expanded)

(Recommended to read)

Les Discours du Président Chéhab - 1958-64
(Official presidential booklet, 1964, French)

Download and read the whole booklet in 4 parts:
Part 1: Messages à la Nation Libanaise
Part 2: Messages aux Libanais d’Outre-Mer
Part 3: Messages à l’Armée
Part 4: Discours Internationaux / Discours Sociaux / Vœux de Nouvel An

(by Georges Naccache, Conférences du Cénacle Libanais, November 1960, Arabic)

Download and read:
The whole booklet

(This is the famous conference in which the notion ‘Chehabism” was introduced for the first time, and its philosophy expanded)

Fouad Chéhab 1902-1973 - Une Figure Oubliée de l'Histoire Libanaise
(By Stéphane Malsagne, published by Editions Karthala & Ifpo, October 2011, French)

Read two excerpts:
Introduction – Penser Fouad Chéhab

(Available in bookshops - recommended to read)

Fouad Boutros – Mémoires
(Autobiography, translated from Arabic by Jana Tamer, published by Les éditions L'Orient-Le-Jour/MMO, April 2010, French)

Read two excerpts from Part 1 ‘With the Emir’:
Chapter 1 - The story of the meeting that never ended
Chapter 5 – Chehab and Chehabism

(Available in bookshops - recommended to read)

Fouad Boutros – The Memoirs
(Autobiography, prepared by Antoine Saad, published by Dar Al Nahar, January 2009, Arabic)

Read two excerpts from Part 1 ‘With the Emir’:
Chapter 1 - The story of the meeting that never ended
Chapter 5 – Chehab and Chehabism

(Available in bookshops - recommended to read)

Fouad Chehab – The builder of the Independence State – Testimonials

(Published by the Fouad Chehab Foundation, 2005, Arabic)

Download and read the whole book in 3 parts:
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Collection of President Fouad Chehab Speeches
(Official Presidential booklet, 1964, Arabic)

Download and read the whole book in 3 parts:
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Needs and Possibilities of Development in Lebanon
(Study by the IRFED Mission, 1960-61, French)

- Index
- General conclusion

(This is the preliminary study on which President Chehab based his development projects)
(Recommended to read)

The Civil State - The Experience of Fouad Chehab in Lebanon
(by Nada Hassan Fayyad, AlMaaref Forum, 2011, Arabic)

Download and read excerpts:
- Index
- Chapter 5: The Chehabist experience - The elements of national bonding
- General conclusion
- Media Report (Annahar - 13 January 2013)
(Available in bookshops)

I Am One of Yours - President Elias Sarkis

(A pictorial biography, November 2012, Arabic/English)

Download and read an excerpt:

How General Chehab met Elias Sarkis

(Available in bookshops)

The Chehabism Philosophy
(By Fadel Saeed Akl, 1964, Arabic)

Excerpts - Articles on President Chehab from the foreign media 1962-1963:
- 'The military man that teaches democracy' - Jeune Afrique (1962)
- 'Lebanon a model state in the Arab world' - Pierre Rondot, La Croix (1963)
- 'Democracy Day' - Ghassan Tuéni, Annahar (1962, on Independence Day)
- 'Lebanon celebrates his Independence Day with fervor' - Le Monde / Jeune Afrique (1962)
- 'The wise man of the Middle East' - Catholic Digest (1962) / Braunschweiger Zeitung (1963)

Chehabism and the Policy of Decision
(By Me. Toufic Kfoury, 1980, Arabic)

Read excerpts from the book:
1- The Chehabist principles
2- The Chehabist social reforms – part 1
3- The Chehabist social reforms – part 2

Fouad Chehab – The Commander and the President
(By Wakim Bou Lahdou, 1996, Arabic)

Read excerpts:
Chapter 8 - President Fouad Chehab, The Man
Chapter 10 - And His Heart Stopped…
Part 1 (includes testimonies and press articles in Arabic after President Chehab’s death)
Part 2 ( includes testimonies and press articles in French)

Le Chéhabisme
(By Marwan Harb, 2008, French)

La Philosophie du Chéhabisme

Le Chéhabisme sous la Présidence de Fouad Chéhab
(By Stéphane Malsagne, Mémoire de Maîtrise d’Histoire à la Sorbonne, 1992, French)

Extraits de l’ouvrage:
1- La relation du Président Chéhab avec le Père Lebret
2- La correspondance du Président Chéhab avec le Père Lebret
3- Les audiences du Président Chéhab avec le Père Lebret
4- Mythe de l’intervention de l’armée

Fouad Chehab – That Unknown
(By Bassem Al Jisr, 1998, Arabic)

Read excerpts from the book:
Chapter 5 – How Chehab accepted the presidency against his will

Le Mandat Fouad Chéhab 1958-1964

(By Joseph Chami, Le Mémorial du Liban, Tome 4, 2003, French)

Quelques pages de l’ouvrage:
Octobre 1958 – Le Cabinet de Quatre
Mars 1959 – Sommet Chéhab-Nasser à la frontière libano-syrienne
Juillet 1960 – Chéhab annonce sa démission puis la retire
Bilan du mandat Fouad Chéhab

Beyrouth and its Planners - 1946-1975

(Eric Verdeil, Ifpo publications, 2011, French)

The whole book
Chapter 3: Fouad Chehab's Presidency, a New Deal
(Available in bookshops)

Fouad Chehab
(By Elias Al Diri, Annahar files “Lebanon 1970”, booklet # 1, 1970, Arabic)

The 2nd Bureau, ruler in the background
(By Nicolas Nassif, published by Dar Moukhtarat, 2005, Arabic)

> Personal Documents

> Official Documents

> Military Documents

> Official Correspondence

> Personal Correspondence

 Fouad Chehab Foundation

> Creation of the Foundation

Towards the end of 1997, friends of President Fouad Chehab decided to establish a foundation bearing his name. After several meetings held at the house of Cheikh Michel el Khoury, the articles of association and the internal regulations were drawn up and the association holding the name of ‘The Fouad Chehab Foundation” obtained an authorization from the Ministry of Interior under number 17/AD dated 5/2/1998. The foundation’s main objective is to carry out intellectual and social activities to revive the values that President Chehab believed in and worked for.

The founding members were (in alphabetical order):
Dr Halim Abu Ezzeddine (former ambassador), Mr Nagib Boulos (lawyer), Mr Fouad Boutros (former minister), Mr Georges Frem (former minister), Dr Issam Haidar (former ambassador), General Ahmad el Hajj (former ambassador and retired brigadier general), Engineer Adel Hamiyeh (former minister), Dr Bassem el Jisr (journalist), Cheikh Michel el Khoury (former minister), Engineer Chafik Muharram, Dr Assaad Rizk (former minister), Dr Charles Rizk (former minister), Mr Youssef Takla (former minister), Dr Rida Wahid (former minister), Mr Sleiman el Zein (former minister).

In February 1998, and in their first meeting, the founders elected a temporary administrative committee for a period of one year which was composed of former minister Fouad Boutros (President), Ahmed el Hajj (Vice-President), Bassem el Jisr (Secretary) and Adel Hamiyeh (Treasurer). A year later, a regular committe was elected for 3 years with ambassador and Brigadier General Ahmed el Hajj as President. General el Hajj stayed in this post for four mandates, from 1999 to 2011. Mr Chafik Muharram was elected as President in March 2011 and he served for two mandates until May 2017.

The 12 members of the current administrative committee (May 2017 - May 2020) are:
Charles Rizk (President), Hassan Awada (Vice-President), Walid Abou Daya (Secretary), Fares Maacaron (Treasurer), Jean Nassif (representative of the foundation before the government), Adel Hamiyeh, Asaad Rizk, Nazem El Khoury, Sami Minkara, Issam Bekdache, Toufic Kfoury, and Sami Beydoun.

> Objectives and Activities

The main objective of the foundation is to carry out intellectual and social activities to revive the values and the principles that President Chehab believed in and worked for.

Among the most notable activities of the foundation since its constitution were:

- The publication of three books, 'Fouad Chehab' by Dr Bassem el Jisr (1998), 'Fouad Chehab, the Builder of the Independent State- Testimonies' (2005), and 'The Fouad Chehab Republic' by Nicolas Nassif (2008) published jointly with Dar Annahar.

- Participating along with the Municipality of Jounieh in edifying a memorial statue for President Chehab, in November 1999.

- Obtaining a ministerial decision by the Lebanese Cabinet in 2008 naming President Chehab as one of the Men of Independence.

- Renovating the sculpture outside President Chehab's grave in Ghazir on 25 April 2009, his death commemoration day: Photo 1 - Photo 2.

- Organizing memorial & public events:
On 4 October 2016 - Honoring Minister Fouad Boutros : Event - Photo gallery
On 11 July 2016 - Inauguration of the Fouad Chehab Museum: Event - Photo gallery
On 1 August 2015 - Unveiling President Chehab's statue at the Military Academy: Event - Photo gallery
On 5 April 2014 - 1st National Conference: Event - Photo gallery
On 23 April 2013 - President Chehab's 40th memorial day: Event - Photo gallery
On 1 August 2012 - Commemorative event at the ATCL: Event - Photo gallery
On 24 April 2012 - President Chehab's memorial day: Event - Photo gallery
On 25 November 2008 - The release of 'The Fouad Chehab Republic' book.

- Laying a wreath of flowers on the grave of President Chehab
on Independence Day (22 November) :
2004: Newspaper
2009: Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3
2010: Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3
2011: Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3 - Photo 4
2017: Photo 1 - Photo 2
on President Chehab's departure memory (25 April) :
2009: Newspaper, Photo
2010: An Nahar - Al Anwar - Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3 - Photo 4
2011: Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3
2012: Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3
2013: Report & Photos
2014: Report & Photos
2016: Report & Photos
2017: Report & Photos

- Granting annual prizes to the outstanding students in the Lebanese Baccalaureate exams:
2002: Photo
2004: Newspaper, Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3 -
2005: Photo
2006: Photo
2007: Photo 1, Photo 2
2008: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3
2009: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3
2010: Newspaper
2012: Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3 - Photo 4 - Photo 5
2013: Press release with photo

- Holding an annual equestrian competition, the ‘Fouad Chehab Cup’:
2002 - 2003 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008
2009: Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3
2011: Photo 1 - Photo 2
2012: Press - Photo 1 - Photo 2 - Photo 3
2013: Report & Photos - Al Nahar - Al Anwar - L'Orient Le Jour - Assafir - Sport-Leb
2014: Report & Photos - Al Nahar - Al Anwar - Assafir - L'Orient Le Jour
2015: Report & Photos - Al Nahar - Assafir - L'Orient Le Jour - Sport-Leb
2016: Report & Photos - Assafir Online - Assafir - Al Diyar - Al Nahar - Al Anwar - Sport-Leb
2017: Report & Photos - Al Anwar - Al Wikala Al Wataniya - Al Akhbar

- Sponsoring university theses on President Chehab, his achievements and his principles undertaken by university students:
2002 - 2003
- Organizing symposiums on television and conferences, and writing articles on topical issues inspired by the principles of President Chehab.

- Launching this website, www.fouadchehab.com:
on 22 November 2009 in its English version: Al Anwar - An Nahar,
on 22 November 2010 in its Arabic version,
and on 22 November 2011 in its French version: Website L'Orient-le-Jour - L'Orient-le-Jour

In 2006, the Lebanese Army honored its founder, General Fouad Chehab, by naming the Army’s Command and Staff College after him, and held an exhibition on the various stages of President General Fouad Chehab’s life.
And each year on the Army's National Day (1st August), the Lebanese Army Commander sends a delegation to deposit a wreath of flower on President Chehab's grave: 2013 - 2012 - 2003.

> Members of the Foundation

List of the members, as per June 2016 (in alphabetical order):

Nabil Abboud
Kamel Mamdouh el Abdallah
Walid Abu Dayya
Mounir Akl (Retired General)
Michel Akl
Fadi Assaf
Hassan Awada
Issam Bakhdach
Ziad Baroud (Former Minister)
Sami Baydoun
Nagib Boulos (Lawyer)
The Foundation's committee visiting
President Suleiman - October 2008
(click to enlarge)

Hisham el Cha’ar (Former Judge)
Rabih El Chaer
Fouad Walid Chehab
Fawzi Dagher (Former Judge)
Raphael Debbane
Mohammad Fawaz
Ne’emat Georges Frem
Antoine Ghossein (MD)
Ahmed el Hajj (Former ambassador, retired General and honorary president of the Foundation)
Issam Haidar
Adel Hamiyeh (Former minister)
Marwan Harb
Jihad Ibrahim
Bassem el Jisr
Nawaf Kabbara
Simon Kachar
Toufic Kfoury (Lawyer)
Rabih Yacoub Khalifeh
Michel Bechara el Khoury (Former minister)
Nazem el Khoury (Minister and former MP)
Gaby Lahoud (Retired General)
Fares Haykal Maacaron (Lawyer)
Michel Maayki
Hyam Mallat (Lawyer)
Georges Hyam Mallat (Lawyer)
Sami Minkara (Former minister and retired General)
Chafik Muharram
Samir Chafik Muharram
Raymond Najjar
Michel Nassif (Retired General)
Jean Nassif (Retired General)
Hady Jean Nassif
Amer Fouad Obeid
Mahmoud Othman
Alain Pifany (General Director of Ministry of Finance)
Walid Michel Rahbani
Assaad Rizk (Former minister)
Charles Rizk (Former minister)
Ezzat Safi
Antoine El Samra
Karim Antoine Souaid (Lawyer)
Youssef Takla (Former minister)
Nabil Manuel Younes (Lawyer)
Sleiman el Zein (Former minister)

Deceased members:

Halim Abu Ezzedine (Former ambassador)
Fouad Boutros (Former minister, MP and honorary president of the Foundation)
Rafik Chahine (Former minister and MP)
Georges Frem (Former minister)
Samir Kassir (Journalist)
Assaad Mkaddem (Journalist)
Khaled Najjar
Clovis Rizk (Journalist)
Emile Tabet (MD)
Rida Wahid (Former minister)