After secondary education in the capital he was sent to Paris to study Law.
In September 1958 he was sent as Ambassador to London where he was a very popular figure and was awarded an honorary KBE (Knight Commander of the British Empire). He was transferred as Ambassador to the United Nations on February 14, 1962.
From 1967 to 1970 he had a special rank of Minister of State as personal representative of the President. In July 1970 he was sent to Morocco as Ambassador.
His first brush with the law was in 1931 when he was arrested at a nationalist demonstration but released because he was so young. The next time he was arrested as a Neo Destour “agitator” was at the Libyan frontier in 1941 when he was held for 10 months. Brought before a military tribunal, he was given a sentence of 20 years’ forced labour but he was released in December 1942.
As police tried to close in on him again he fled in 1943 to Italy. After moving to Germany he infiltrated into Spain and stayed there until the Second World War ended in 1945.
The liberating French forces, angered by his disappearance to Germany in 1943, sentenced him to death for alleged treason. Again he escaped. He went to Cairo and helped Bourguiba establish the Maghreb Bureau in 1946. Three years later he was put in charge ot the Tunisian Office in Cairo.
In exile until 1955, he travelled in the Middle East and Far East raising funds for the Tunisian nationalist movement. After attending the non-aligned conference at Bandoeng he played a leading part in the negotiations with the French which led to independence in April 1956. For over two years he was in the Presidential Office as foreign affairs adviser.
Pioneer nationalist, confidant and trusted international affairs adviser of President Bourguiba. Younger brother of the late Mongi Slim who was once Bourguiba’s right-hand man. First arrested at the age of 17, he was subsequently sentenced to death by one French court and to 20 years’ forced labour by another court.
A dapper figure, mellowed and sophisticated by his diplomatic experience and travels, he has the intelligence and expertise essential for smoothing the path of his government in face of perplexing challenges inside and outside the Arab world.