The twofold aim of the President's foreign policy is to maintain close cultural ties with France and to prevent the development of events which might result in a decrease of financial and technical assistance from France. He is interested in attracting both private and public capital, especially private, from other countries as well.
Serving as his own foreign minister, the President in 1962 made several trips abroad. The purpose of these trips, in the words of President Yacé of the National Assembly, was:
. . . to announce the presence of the Ivory Coast in the concert of nations and to define unequivocally [ Houphouët-Boigny's] political stand on the great international problems, a stand which could be defined as an effort for rapprochement and cooperation with all independent nations in the context of African unity to which we are so much, if not primarily, committed.
The primary commitment is to the economic development of the Ivory Coast itself, and to that end all efforts are bent.
The story of the Ivory Coast in the French Community and why Houphouët-Boigny apparently reversed his stand, leaving the Community for independence, is an integral part of the history of the country's relations with its neighbors and friends. The 1958 French Constitution instituted the Community, the members of which were "to enjoy autonomy." If a member state chose independence, it would thereby cease to belong to the Community.
As a minister of state in the French Government ( May 13, 1958, to May 21, 1959), Houphouët-Boigny had helped to shape the new constitution, especially in regard to the provisions on the Community. The French Government was offering its African territories a chance to choose autonomy (as opposed to full independence) within a framework conceived as beneficial to the Africans.
The Community did not constitute the ultimate French-African federation of equals, which was Houphouët-Boigny's ideal. On the contrary, the French Republic was clearly the senior partner in the undertaking, as evidenced by the fact that the President of the Republic, in whose choice the other member states had only the smallest voice, was "to preside over and represent the Community." In addition, the Executive Council of the Community was so organized that there