France first recognized Greece’s status of autonomy by signing the Treaty of London in July 1827.
However, formal relations began after the arrival of Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias in Greece, when French Minister of Foreign Affairs Count Auguste de La Feronnays sent a letter to the Governor on 7 May 1828, announcing the nomination of Baron Antoine Juchereau de Saint-Denis as the French Consular Agent to the Greek Government. The letter has not been found in the Greek Diplomatic Archives but a copy is kept in the Diplomatic Archives of France, and it is cited in a 1829 letter announcing the replacement of Juchereau de Saint-Denis by Baron Achille Rouen.
The de facto recognition of the government of Kapodistrias as the legitimate government of the autonomous Greek State takes place with the arrival of the three Ambassadors of the Great Powers in Constantinople to Poros in September 1828 and, even more so, with the accreditation of Ministers Resident immediately after that.
Until the formal recognition of the Greek Government and the establishment of consular and diplomatic relations, communication between the revolutionary Governments and the French Government was largely held via the French Levant Fleet, in particular Admiral Henri de Rigny, who assumed its command in January 1823.
[25 April] 7 May 1828.
French Minister of Foreign Affairs Count Auguste de la Feronnays notifies Governor of Greece Ioannis Kaposistrias of the nomination of Baron Antoine Juchereau de Saint-Denis as the French Consular Agent to the Greek Government.
(Source: Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France)
[25 October] 6 November 1828. Consular Agent of France to the Greek Government Baron Antoine Juchereau de Saint-Denis announces to Governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias that the Consuls of France in 7 islands of the Cyclades (Milos, Tinos, Syros, Mykonos, Santorini, Kea, Naxos), and in Samos are placed under his own jurisdiction (and no longer under the French General Consulate in Smyrna) and asks the Governor for their recognition by the Greek Government.
The Governor granted his recognition the following day.
[29 March] 10 April 1829. A few days after the signing of the second Protocol of London, French Minister of Justice Joseph-Marie Portalis announces to I. Kapodistrias that the King of France Charles X decided to recall Baron A. Juchereau de Saint-Denis and upgrade French diplomatic representation to the Greek Government by appointing Baron Achille Rouen as Resident and Consul General.
[19 April] 1 May 1829. Commander of the French expeditionary force in Morias Marshal Nicolas Joseph Maison informs Governor I. Kapodistrias that, until the arrival of Baron Rouen, the duties of French Chargé d’Affaires to the Greek Government will be performed by Duke de Valmy.
17/29 July 1830. Excerpt from a letter by Governor I. Kapodistrias to Michael Soutzos, his envoy to Paris, stating, inter alia, that although he cannot officially appoint him as the country’s diplomatic agent in France, he nevertheless considers that he was de facto performing these duties.
Source: Correspondance du comte J. Capodistrias, président de la Grèce : T. B’. Genève, 1839. Digitization: University of Crete, anemi.lib.uoc.gr
The first Ambassador in Paris
Michael Soutzos was a Phanariot and ruler of Moldavia before the Revolution. He was initiated into the Society of Friends (“Filiki Eteria”) and, from his position, helped the Struggle of the Greek people for Independence. For this he was imprisoned, escaped to Western Europe and became a close friend of philhellene Jean-Gabriel Eynard in Switzerland; from there, he continued helping the Revolution. He is said to have been one of the candidates for first Governor of Greece, a position that was eventually filled by Ioannis Kapodistrias, who immediately made him his representative to the French Government. King Othon finally formally nominated him as Ambassador.
Michael Soutzos (1784-1864)
Source: National Historical Museum, Athens
7 February 1833. Greek translation of the Decree appointing Michael Soutzos as the first Ambassador of Greece in Paris; he already informally represented Greece in the French capital as early as 1829-1830. On the same day of his appointment, he was also ordered to visit the King of France to deliver a letter of gratitude on behalf of King Othon for France’s role in Greece’s independence. He was then instructed to go to London and St. Petersburg to deliver similar letters to their rulers. However, when he completed his mission in St. Petersburg, he was ordered to remain there to await his appointment as Greece’s first Ambassador to Russia, following the Czar’s refusal to accept the appointment of General Richard Church.
1 February 1833. Draft credentials of the first Ambassador of Greece to France, Michael Soutzos.
6/18 March 1833. Decree of the Regency defining the formal and casual attire of the first Ambassador of Greece in Paris, Michael Soutzos. A relevant sketch is included!
Under the translation of the Decree, someone scathingly noted: “If one wishes to reproach these, let one remember the saying that you must leave no stone unturned in order not to make everything that has become Greek into something very Frankish [westernized]”.
23 March / 4 April 1833. Adolphe d’Eichthal, a banker and politician, is nominated as the first General Agent of Greece in Paris by Decree of the Regency.