Spurred by the Neo-Destour Party of Habib Bourguiba, the Tunisian independence movement gathered steam in the early 1950s. After initial resistance, the French finally conceded Tunisia's right to autonomy in July 1954 when Premier Pierre Mendès-France made a historic announcement to that effect in Carthage, Tunisia. Toward the end of that year, Bourguiba was released from prison and entered into negotiations with the French. On 3 June 1955 the Franco–Tunisian Conventions were signed between Bourguiba and the French, stipulating the nature of Tunisian autonomy. Bourguiba's opponents, however, most notably Salah Ben Yousouf, denounced the conventions for not granting independence to Tunisia. Though the Neo-Destour-controlled Congress endorsed the conventions, when France announced its intent to allow Morocco to become independent in the November 1955 Declaration of La Celle St. Cloud, the conventions came under renewed fire in Tunisia. After considerable pressure, France conceded, and Tunisia became independent in March 1956.
See also Ben Yousouf, Salah; Bourguiba, Habib; Declaration of La Celle St. Cloud.
Barbour, Neville, ed. A Survey of North-West Africa (the Maghrib). London: Oxford University Press, 1959.
Mansfield, Peter. The Arabs, 3d edition. New York: Penguin, 1985.