"I received the contract last week but without the guarantees I need to start my mission. I have thanked the Senegalese federation president for the interest shown in me," he told L'Equipe.
The Frenchman's decision was confirmed by the Senegal football federation.
Lechantre took Cameroon to the 2000 African Nations Cup title and was coach of Mali in 2005. He was also national team coach in Qatar and last worked at Qatari club Al Arabi.
His decision is the latest setback for Senegal, considered potential African champions because of a rich seam of talent at their disposal but who have fallen way short of expectations in recent months.
The ease with which they disposed of tough opponents in the Nations Cup qualifying campaign last year made them favourites to win the 2012 tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon but they crashed spectacularly, losing all three games.
Coach Amara Traore was sacked within days and has been in a legal dispute with the federation since.
Lechantre, 62, had been appointed with one month to prepare before Senegal begin qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup. They play Liberia and Uganda next month.
- Related links