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De Gaulle as a Father of Europe: The Unpredictability of the FTA's Failure and the EEC's Success (1956–58)

  • LAURENT WARLOUZET (a1)
Abstract

The failure of the Free Trade Area (FTA), a British ‘Greater Europe’ free-market project, has often been contrasted with the European Economic Community (EEC)'s rapid success. However, this article claims that the EEC's success was neither logical nor automatic. The FTA project was not bound to failure, but could easily have become the principal institution for European co-operation. Moreover, the French leader, Charles de Gaulle, played such a prominent role in the EEC that he could be described as a new ‘Father of Europe’. Without the EEC, France would certainly have been forced to reach agreement on the FTA, but conversely, without de Gaulle, the EEC would probably have been diluted into a larger FTA.

On a souvent contrasté l'echec de la grande ‘zone de libre-échange’ européenne (ZLE), un projet britannique pour la ‘Grande Europe’, avec la réussite rapide de la Communauté économique européenne (CEE). Cet article soutient que le succès de la CEE n'était pourtant ni logique ni automatique. Le projet de la ZLE n'était pas voué à l'échec, mais aurait facilement pu devenir l'organe principal de la coopération européenne. Le dirigeant français, Charles de Gaulle, joua un rôle central dans l'affirmation de la CEE, si bien qu'il mérite l'appellation ‘Père de l'Europe’. En 1958, sans la CEE, la France aurait certainement été obligée de trouver un accord sur la ZLE; par contre, sans de Gaulle, la CEE se serait vue diluée dans une ZLE plus élargie.

Das Scheitern der Bildung einer europäischen Freihandelszone (FTA), eines britischen Projekts, ‘Groß Europa’ als freien Markt zu konstituieren, wurde oft dem raschen Erfolg der Europäischen Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft (EWG) gegenüber gestellt. Dieser Artikel argumentiert dagegen, dass der Erfolg der EWG weder logisch noch automatisch war. Das Projekt einer Freihandelszone war nicht zum Scheitern verurteilt und hätte leicht zur Hauptinstitution für die europäische Integration werden können. Der französische Präsident Charles de Gaulle spielte eine solche wichtige Rolle für die EWG, dass man ihn mit einiger Berechtigung als den ‘neuen Vater Europas’ bezeichnen kann. Ohne die EWG wäre Frankreich gezwungen gewesen, eine Einigung zur Freihandelszone zu akzeptieren. Und umgekehrt wäre die EWF ohne de Gaulle zu einer größeren Freihandelszone geworden.

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1 Keynes, John Maynard, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (London: Macmillan, 1971; 1st edn, 1919), 168: ‘A free trade union should be established under the auspices of the League of Nations of countries undertaking to impose no protectionist tariffs . . . it is to be hoped that the United Kingdom, at any rate, would become an original member’.

2 The ‘Six’ refers to the six founding countries of the EEC in 1957: Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

3 For example, the main building of the European Parliament in Brussels is named after Spinelli.

4 Monnet was more interested in Euratom than in the future EEC during all the negotiations of the Treaties of Rome. He therefore played a limited role in the discussions leading to the creation of the EEC in March 1957: Duchêne, François, Jean Monnet: The First Statesman of Interdependence (New-York: Norton, 1994), 292, 306.

5 Frank, Robert, ‘Les pères de l'Europe: Une difficile typologie’, in Smets, Paul, ed., Les Pères de l'Europe: cinquante ans après. Perspectives sur l'engagement européen (Bruxelles: Bruylant, 2001), 1326.

6 For more details, see Warlouzet, Laurent, Le choix de la CEE par la France. L'Europe économique en débat de Mendès-France à de Gaulle (1955–1969) (Paris: Cheff, 2011). In the footnotes, AFFAM is used for the Archives of the French Foreign Affairs Minister, AFMF for the archives of the French Minister of Finances, DDF for Documents diplomatiques français (published documents of the French Foreign Affairs minister), EUA for the European Union Archives (in Brussels), FNA for the French National Archives, TNA for the British National Archives.

7 Ellison, James, Threatening Europe: Britain and the Creation of the European Community, 1955–1958 (New-York: St Martin's Press, 2000); Kaiser, Wolfram, Using Europe, Abusing the Europeans: Britain and European Integration, 1945–1963] (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 1996); Milward, Alan S., The Rise and Fall of a National Strategy, 1945–1963 (London: Whitehall History Publishing, 2002).

8 Camps, Miriam, The Free Trade Area Negotiations (London: Political and Economic Planning, 1959); Camps, Britain and the European Community, 1955–1963 (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1964).

9 Bossuat, Gérard, Faire l'Europe sans défaire la France. 60 ans de politique d'unité européenne des gouvernements et des présidents de la République française (1943–2003) (Bruxelles: PIE-Peter, 2005); Bossuat, Gérard, ‘La France et la zone de libre-échange. Le jeu du pouvoir politique et des intérêts économiques (1956–1959)’, in Ciampani, Andrea, L'altra via per l'Europa: Forze sociali e organizzazione degli interessi nell'integrazione europea (1947–1957) (Milan: F. Angeli, 1995), 350–82; Bossuat, Gérard, L'Europe des Français, 1943–1959. La IVe République aux sources de l'Europe communautaire (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1996); Bossuat, Gérard, ‘La France et la zone de libre-échange. Le jeu du pouvoir politique et des intérêts économiques (1956–1959)’, in Ciampani, Andrea, ed., L'altra via per l'Europa. Forze sociali e organizzazione degli interessi nell'integrazione europea (1947–1957) (Milan: F. Angeli, 1995), 350382.; Bossuat, L'Europe des Français.

10 Lynch, Frances, ‘De Gaulle's First Veto: France, the Rueff Plan and the FTA’, Contemporary European History, 9, 1 (2000), 111–35.

11 Moravcsik, Andrew, The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht (London: UCL Press, 1999).

12 Milward, Rise and Fall, 266, see also 288.

13 Lynch, ‘De Gaulle’, 121, 134. The quotation comes from p. 134.

14 Bossuat, Faire l'Europe, 79; Bossuat, ‘Le choix de la petite Europe’, 218, 220–21; Bossuat, ‘La France et la zone de libre-échange’, 365.

15 Moravcsik, The Choice, 177, 182–4.

16 Warlouzet, Laurent, ‘The deadlock: the choice of the CAP by de Gaulle and its impact on French EEC policy, 1958–1969’, in Patel, Kiran, ed., Fertile Ground for Europe? The History of European Integration and the Common Agricultural Policy since 1945 (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2009), 99118.

17 On the opposition between the two models of Economic Europe: Bussière, Éric, ‘Conclusions’, in Bussière, Éric, Dumoulin, Michel, Schirmann, Sylvain, eds, Europe organisée, Europe du libre-échange? Fin XIXe siècle-Années 1950 (Brussels: Peter Lang, 2006), 251–4; Warlouzet, Laurent, ‘Les identités économiques européennes en débat dans les années soixante: Europe arbitre et Europe volontariste’, Relations internationales, 139 (2009), 923.

18 Witschke, Tobias, Gefahr für den Wettbewerb? Die Fusionkontrolle der Europaïschen Gemeinschaft für Kohle und Stahl und die ‘Rekonzentration’ der Ruhrstahlindustrie, 1950–1963 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2009); for the failure of the various projects of sectoral European co-operation, see Gerbet, Pierre, La naissance du marché commun (Brussels: Complexe, 1987), 6571.

19 Bossuat, L'Europe des Français, 296; Milward, The Rise and Fall, 261.

20 In particular, Milward, The Rise and Fall, 240–9; Kaiser, Using Europe, 61–87.

21 Milward, The Rise and Fall, 240.

22 Lee, Sabine, ‘German Decision-Making Elites and European Integration: German “Europalitik” during the Years of the EEC and Free Trade Area Negotiations’, in Deighton, Anne, ed., Building Post-war Europe: National Decision-Makers and European Institutions, 1948–63 (London, Palgrave Macmillan, 1995), 3854; Camps, Britain, 169.

23 Kaiser, Using Europe, 91, 94.

24 Archives of the LECE (in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium), 653, note on a meeting of 2 Oct. 1957; note of Sermon, 24 Oct. 1957; on the LECE: Dumoulin, Michel, Dutrieu, Anne-Myriam, La Ligue Européenne de Coopération économique (1946–1981): Un groupe d'étude et de pression dans la construction européenne (Berne: Peter Lang, 1993).

25 Kaiser, Using Europe, 78, 83; Milward, The Rise and Fall, 252, 262.

26 AFFAM, DECE 622, note of 3 May 1957; DDF, 1957-I, 322, Bousquet's telegram to Pineau, 18 Apr. 1957.

27 Kaiser, Using Europe, 99–100; Giauque, Jeffrey Glen, Grand designs and visions of unity: the Atlantic powers and the reorganisation of Western Europe, 1955–1963 (London, University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 51.

28 TNA, CAB 130/123, note on the meeting of 11 July 1957; DDF, 1957-II, 238, note DAEF, 2 Oct. 1957; DDF, 1957-II, 253, Chauvel's telegram to Pineau, 9 Oct. 1957; Lucia Coppolaro, Trade and Politics across the Atlantic: The European Economic Community (EEC) and the United States of America in the GATT Negotiations of the Kennedy Round (1962–1967) (Ph.D. thesis, European University Institute, 2006), 29.

29 AFFAM, DECE 623, note on a meeting, 2 Oct. 1957.

30 Lynch, Frances, France and the International Economy: From Vichy to the Treaty of Rome (London: Routledge, 1997), 128–30; Moravcsik, The Choice, 108–15.

31 AFFAM, ‘Papiers directeurs Olivier Wormser’ [hereafter POW] 78, folio 2, OEEC Council Secretariat, report on the economic situation, 25 March 1957.

32 ‘Pour sa part, il [Ramadier] estime que nous allons être obligés d'aborder une ère d'économie fermée et peut-être d'économie de guerre’: FNA, F60, 3112, minutes of an interministerial meeting, 4 Sep. 1956.

33 Warlouzet, Le choix de la CEE, 68–76.

34 DDF 1956-I, 293, note from Olivier Wormser to Maurice Faure, 3 May 1956.

35 AFMF, B 44.248, note from Wormser to La Genière, 29 Apr. 1957.

36 See in particular the analysis of Wormser's service, the DAEF (Direction des affaires économiques et financières): DDF, 1956-III, 262, note from the DAEF, 5 Dec. 1956.

37 On the debate of Jan. 1957: Année politique:1957 (Paris: PUF, 1958), 11.

38 TNA, PREM/ 11/1352/22–5, ‘Meeting at the Hotel Matignon, 27 Sep. 1956’.

39 TNA, CAB 130/120, cabinet meeting ‘Franco-British Union’, 1 Oct. 1956; Milward, The Rise and Fall, 256–9; TNA, PREM 11/1352, meeting ‘Political Association with Europe’, 4 Oct. 1956.

40 TNA, FO 371/ 128338, Doc. 611/278, meeting at the Matignon, 9 Mar. 1957.

41 Quoted in Bossuat, Faire l'Europe, 77. Marjolin was the leading French negotiator for the Treaty of Rome on economic issues, and the first important French Commissioner (1958–67).

42 On the war in Algeria in 1955–57: Benjamin Stora, Histoire de la Guerre d'Algérie (1954–1962) (Paris: La Découverte, 1993), 20–30.

43 DDF, 1957-II, 288, telegram from Christian Pineau, 25 Oct. 1957.

44 TNA, T 337/7, Record of a conversation between Reginald Maudling and Ludwig Erhard, 11 March 1958, and record of a conversation between Reginald Maudling and Paul-Henri Spaak, 13 Mar. 1958.

45 EUA, reports of the Commission meetings, 5–6 March 1958 and 17 Mar. 1958.

46 AFFAM, DECE 615/48, telegram from Wormser, 20 Mar. 1958; TNA, T 337/7, note on a meeting between Erhard, Maudling and Hallstein, 17 Feb. 1958; Wallace, William, ‘Walter Hallstein – Aus britischer Sicht’, in Loth, Wilfried, Wallace, William and Wessels, Wolfgang, eds, Walter Hallstein: The Forgotten European (Bonn: Europa Union Verlag, 1995), 237; Camps, Britain, 148–50.

47 Camps, Britain, 146; Milward, The Rise and Fall, 284–6; Ellison, Threatening Europe, 195–6, 203–5.

48 AFFAM, POW 78/97, decisions of the OEEC Council, 22 Nov. 1957.

49 AFMF, B 48875, note of 15 Feb. 1958.

50 On the 1958 events in Algeria: Stora, Histoire, 47–51.

51 Thomas, Martin, ‘France accused: French North African Policy before the United Nations, 1952–1962’, Contemporary European History, 10, 1 (2001), 109–10.

52 EUA, report of the Commission meeting, 11 June 1958; AFFAM, PA-AP 314–1, report of the meeting of 10 June 1958.

53 On the main features of de Gaulle's foreign policy in 1958: Vaïsse, Maurice, La Grandeur: Politique étrangère du général de Gaulle, 1958–1969 (Paris: Fayard, 1998), 2252; Soutou, Georges-Henri, L'alliance incertaine: Les rapports politico-stratégiques franco-allemands, 1954–1996 (Paris: Fayard, 1996), 123–30; Vanke, Jeffrey, ‘Charles de Gaulle's Uncertain Idea of Europe’, in Dinan, Desmond, ed., Origins and Evolution of the European Union (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006), 141–50. Thereafter Vanke, ‘Charles de Gaulle’.

54 On the Rueff Plan, see mainly Feiertag, Olivier, Wilfried Baumgartner: Un grand commis des finances à la croisée des pouvoirs (1902–1978) (Paris: CHEFF, 2007), 555–96; Warlouzet, Le choix de la CEE, 172–85; Lynch, ‘De Gaulle’, 119–20, 133–5.

55 Ellison, Threatening Europe, 198; Giauque, Grand designs, 36, 83; Zimmermann, Hubert, Money and Security: Troops, Monetary Policy and West Germany's Relations to the United States and the United Kingdom, 1950–1971 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 82.

56 Vanke, ‘Charles de Gaulle’, 148–9.

57 AFFAM, PA-AP 314/1, note on an interministerial meeting, 10 June 1958; note for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13 Aug. 1958, in de Gaulle, Charles, Lettres, notes et carnets: Juin 1958–décembre 1960 (Paris: Plon, 1985), 73.

58 FNA, 1977.1471/61, note on an intergovernmental meeting of the 20 Feb. 1958.

59 AFFAM, DECE 753/284, note from François Valéry, 12 July 1958.

60 AFFAM, DECE 743, note DAEF, 30 July 1958.

61 DDF 1958-II, 155, minutes of the discussion between de Gaulle and Adenauer on 14 Sep. 1958; Soutou, L'alliance incertaine, 137–46.

62 Warlouzet, Le choix de la CEE, 132–9, 149–56.

63 Knudsen, Ann-Christina, Farmers on Welfare: The Making of Europe's Common Agricultural Policy (Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 2009), 128.

64 AFFAM, PA-AP 314–1, report of the meeting of 10 June 1958.

65 His influence was based on his friendship with Maurice Couve de Murville, de Gaulle's long-standing minister for Foreign Affairs: Marjolin, Robert, Le travail d'une vie: Mémoires 1911–1986 (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1986), 258, 311; Froment-Meurice, Henri, Vu du Quai: Mémoires 1945–1983 (Paris, Fayard, 1998), 303.

66 AFFAM, POW 40/134, note from Wormser to Goetze, 22 Aug. 1958; POW 40/162, note from Wormser to Couve de Murville, 11 Sep. 1958.

67 AFFAM, DECE 754/157, note from Maurice Ulrich, 3 Nov. 1958; AN/1977.1471/63, report of a meeting of 30 Oct. 1958.

68 TNA, T 230/373, note on a meeting chaired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 6 March 1958; BNA, PREM 11/2671, 180–2, memorandum of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 8 Sep. 1958.

69 TNA, T 234/378/50, letter from Macmillan to the Foreign Secretary, 15 Oct. 1958.

70 Giauque, Grand designs, 39.

71 TNA, T234/378/55, note for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 16 Oct. 1958; TNA, T234/378/102, note from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Prime Minister, 31 Oct. 1958.

72 AFFAM, POW 40/189, note from Wormser, 4 Oct. 1958; DDF, 1958-II, 225, note from Wormser, 6 Oct. 1958.

73 DDF, 1958-II, 344, telegram from the French Foreign Minister, Couve de Murville, 20 Nov. 1958; DDF, 1958-II, 334, letter from de Gaulle to Macmillan, 15 Nov. 1958.

74 Milward, The Rise and Fall, 290–91; Lynch, ‘De Gaulle’, 131.

75 TNA, T 337/7, note from J. E. Coulson, 17 Nov. 1958.

76 TNA, CAB 130/123/33–6, meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, 27 Nov. 1958.

77 Lynch, ‘De Gaulle’, 133–5.

78 DDF, 1958-II, 370, report on the Franco–German discussion, 26 Nov. 1958.

79 Zimmermann, Money, 70, 79; Soutou, Georges-Henri, La Guerre de Cinquante ans: Les relations Est-Ouest (Paris: Fayard, 2001), 375.

80 DDF, 1958-II, 389, telegram from Couve de Murville, 4 Dec. 1958; AFFAM, RPUE 32, meeting of the EEC Council, 3 Dec. 1958, note of 30 Dec. 1958.

81 Kaplan, Jacob J., Schleiminger, Günther, The European Payments Union: Financial Diplomacy in the 1950s (Oxford: Clarendon Press Oxford, 1989), 317.

82 Dickhaus, Monika, ‘Facing the Common Market: The German Central Bank and the Establishment of the EEC, 1955–58’, Journal of European Integration History, 2, 2 (1996), 106.

83 Bossuat, L'Europe des Français, 396–8.

84 Raphaële Ulrich-Pier, ‘René Massigli (1888–1988): Une vie de diplomate’ (Ph.D. thesis, University of Paris I, 2003), 1012–13.

85 Küsters, Hanns Jürgen, Fondements de la CEE (Luxembourg: Office de Publication des Communautés, 1990), 186.

86 Warlouzet, Laurent, ‘Le Quai d'Orsay face au Traité de Rome: la direction des affaires économiques et financières (DAEF) de 1957 à 1975’, in Badel, Laurence, Ludlow, Piers and Jeannesson, Stanislas, eds, Les administrations nationales face aux défis européens du vingtième siècle (Brussels: Peter Lang, 2006), 160–7.

87 Ludlow, Piers, Dealing with Britain: The Six and the First UK Application to the EEC (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997), 245–50.

88 Ludlow, Piers, ‘Diplomacy With Different Rules: Learning to Negotiate in the EEC’, in Bitsch, Marie-Thérèse, Poidevin, Raymond, Loth, Wilfried, eds, Institutions européennes et identités européennes (Brussels: Bruylant, 1998), 246.

89 Kaiser, Wolfram, ‘Culturally Embedded and Path-Dependent: Peripheral Alternatives to ECSC/EEC “Core” Europe’, Journal of European Integration History, 7, 2, 2001, 1136.

90 Hayes-Renshaw, Fiona and Wallace, Helen, ‘Changing the Course of European Integration – or Not?’, in Palayret, Jean-Marie, Wallace, Helen and Winand, Pascaline, eds, Visions, Votes and Vetoes: The Empty Chair Crisis and the Luxembourg Compromise Forty Years On (Brussels: Peter Lang, 2006), 312–14.

91 Frank, ‘Les pères’; see also Cohen, Antonin, ‘Le “père de l'Europe”: la construction sociale d'un récit des origines’, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 2007, 166, 1429.

92 Jouve, Edmond, Le général de Gaulle et la construction de l'Europe (1940–1966) (Paris: LGDJ, 1967), 14–5, 26–7, 248–9.

93 Ludlow, Piers, ‘From Words to Actions: Reinterpreting de Gaulle's European Policy’, in Nuenlist, Christian, Locher, Anna and Martin, Garret, eds, Globalising de Gaulle: International Perspectives on French Foreign Policies, 1958–1969 (Plymouth: Lexington Books, 2010), 79.

94 On this interpretation of European integration history, see Warlouzet, Laurent, The Rise of European Competition Policy, 1950–1991: A Cross-Disciplinary Survey of a Contested Policy Sphere (Florence: European University Institute Working papers, 2010).

The author wishes to thank Frances Lynch, Kevin O'Rourke, Thomas Raineau, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, and the CREHS (University of Artois) for its financial support. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Contemporary European History
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