Alain Peyrefitte, 74, a right-wing French politician, journalist and former cabinet minister who had been a close confidant of Charles de Gaulle, died of cancer here Nov. 27.

Mr. Peyrefitte, a member of the staff of the newspaper Le Figaro, was a senior figure in President Jacques Chirac's Rally for the Republic Party. Mr. Peyrefitte had represented the Provins area, southeast of Paris, as deputy and mayor since 1958.

Upon learning of Mr. Peyrefitte's death, Chirac said in a statement that he was "saddened by the loss of a very great Frenchman."

Mr. Peyrefitte held numerous Cabinet posts dating to 1962, including scientific research, culture, environment, administrative reform and planning, and justice. He was education minister during the historic student revolt in May 1968.

In the 1960s he worked as information minister in the government of de Gaulle, the former general and leader of Free French forces who was leading his country out of the humiliation of Nazi occupation to its status as a modern world power.

In 1995, on the 25th anniversary of de Gaulle's death, Mr. Peyrefitte wrote that de Gaulle led France from Nazi occupation "all the way to the permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, making France one of the five great victorious powers."

Known for his outspoken views, Mr. Peyrefitte was the target of an assassination attempt in 1986. A car bomb exploded at his home in Provins, killing his driver. At the time, Mr. Peyrefitte was in Paris.

"I'm the symbol of the simple idea that there's no liberty without order in a society," Mr. Peyrefitte said after the crime, which was never solved.

In 1976, he headed a special government commission on violence, criminality and delinquency.

He wrote a dozen books, including the bestseller "When China Wakes Up," and was elected to the French Academy in 1977. He was an editorial writer for Le Figaro from 1983.

Survivors include his wife, Monique, of Provins; and five children.