News   Partnerships

Vive l'Alliance!

Oct. 2, 2018
You have accessed part of a historical collection on defense.gov. Some of the information contained within may be outdated and links may not function. Please contact the DOD Webmaster with any questions.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis is in Paris to meet with senior French leaders and reaffirm the defense relationship that dates back to America’s struggle for its independence.

Almost 200 U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen march from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Parade Practice
Almost 200 U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde in Paris, July 12, 2017, during a rehearsal for the Bastille Day military parade. The U.S. led the parade to commemorate the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I and the longstanding partnership between the U.S. and France. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb
Photo By: PO2 Michael McNabb
VIRIN: 170712-N-AC979-809E

France is America's first and oldest ally. French support for the United States stretches back to 1775, when France shipped supplies to the Continental Army as the American colonies were engaged in the struggle for independence.

A group of French and American officials sign a treaty.
Treaty Signing
The Signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and of Alliance between France and the United States. Photograph of a painting by Charles E. Mills. c[between 1900 and 1920]. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division. Library of Congress photo
Photo By: Library of Congress photo
VIRIN: 181002-D-ZZ999-002


The relationship was formalized in 1778, when Benjamin Franklin and French officials signed the Treaty of Alliance, which made France an ally in the Revolutionary War.

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was dedicated in 1886. U.S. and French troops fought as allies in both World Wars, and France was a charter member of NATO when the alliance was formed in 1949.

American tanks and soldiers on a road in France.
Battle Tanks
American troops going forward to the battle line in the Forest of Argonne. France, Sept. 26, 1918.
Photo By: National Archives
VIRIN: 180926-D-ZZ999-221

Today, France is a key partner in the coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and it’s active in NATO operations, including the alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence and Air Policing missions.

The secretary’s visit to Paris included meetings with his French counterpart, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, as well as President Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves LeDrian.

00:30