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The Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (English: External Documentation and Counter-Espionage Service, SDECE) was France's external intelligence agency from 6 November 1944 to 2 April 1982 when it was replaced by the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE). It should not be confused with the Deuxième Bureau which was intended to pursue purely military intelligence.

Under the Fourth Republic the SDECE was subordinated to the Council President. From the onset of the Fifth Republic and until 1962, it was subordinate to Prime Minister Michel Debré and its resources largely dedicated to the Algerian War. Following the Mehdi Ben Barka affair, General Charles de Gaulle subordinated the service to the Ministry of Defence, and the service was gradually militarized.

Its final director was Alexandre de Marenches.


Directors of the SDECE

  • André Dewavrin alias "Colonel Passy", (DGER/SDECE), from April 19, 1945 to April 1946
  • Henri-Alexis Ribiere, from April 1946 to January 1951
  • Pierre Boursicot, from January 1951 to September 1957
  • General Paul Grossin, from 1957 to 1962
  • General Paul Jacquier, from 1962 to 1966
  • General Eugène Guibaud, from 1966 to 1970
  • Alexandre de Marenches, from November 6, 1970 to June 12, 1981
  • Pierre Marion (SDECE/DGSE), from June 17, 1981 to November 10, 1982

Known operations

Known or supposed agents

  • Jean-Charles Marchiani, with SDECE from 1960 to 1970
  • Vladimir Volkoff, intelligence officer during the Algerian War
  • Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli
  • Colonel René Bertrand, alias Beaumont
  • Colonel Nicolas Fourcaud
  • Colonel Marcel Leroy, alias Leroy-Finville
  • Colonel Paul Ferrer, alias Fournier
  • Colonel Marcel Mercier, lpart of the Red Hand terrorist group
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Bernard Nut, chef de mission, killed on assignment February 15, 1983
  • Major Boatham,alias beaumont

See also


  1. ^ Alfred Mc Coy, 9 November 1991 interview, by Paul DeRienzo


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