GHDI logo

European Integration and National Interests (1962)

page 2 of 2    print version    return to list previous document      next document

3. The Federal Republic of Germany

From the outset, the Federal Republic of Germany has in principle advocated an integrated Europe. It is a principle that was already anchored in the Basic Law in 1948 and was supported by terrible experiences with nationalistic ideas in two lost world wars. Germany regrets that the attitude of General de Gaulle has brought a delay to the idea of integration. It respects de Gaulle’s opinions without sharing them and hopes and trusts that a Europe made up of separate states will still ultimately lead to a confederation – a possibility that de Gaulle also did not rule out entirely. Britain’s joining the EEC is not a problem for the Federal Republic; in fact it supports the move. But the Federal Republic seeks to avoid anything that could question what has been achieved thus far, especially the very valuable anchoring of its friendship with former “archenemy” France in the European Community. The Federal Republic is opposed to inflating the EEC, above all through the membership of non-European countries strictly for economic reasons, since that would threaten the political substance of the European Union, which the Federal Republic sees as its most essential aspect. The Federal Republic attaches great importance to maintaining NATO, since it believes that Western policies and the defense of Western Europe are not possible without the United States. This is especially true with respect to the Berlin Question and the German Question in general. The Federal Republic approves of the U.S.-Soviet exploratory talks, but wishes that any new regulation of the question of access routes to Berlin and other related issues remains the primary responsibility of the Four Powers and does everything possible to avoid what could be seen as a de facto or even de jure recognition of the Soviet zone. The Federal Republic is also opposed to any arms limitations that are not general in nature, but would apply only to Germany or only to a certain area. With respect to information, its wishes for certain minimum guarantees and for having some say regarding non-NATO nuclear deterrence were essentially satisfied at the meeting of the NATO Council of Ministers in Athens in 1962.

4. Great Britain

Britain’s decision to apply for membership in the EEC, which is based primarily on economic considerations, did not become politically viable until it became clear that de Gaulle’s insistence on a Europe of separate states (governments) did not leave any options for the advocates of an integrated Europe to see their goal implemented quickly. The supranational elements in the treaties of Paris (ECSC) and Rome (EEC), namely, the High Authority or Commission and, with respect to voting regulations, the decisions of the Council of Ministers, were the utmost that seemed acceptable to Britain in this regard, at least for the present time, especially since these supranational elements refer only to economic matters. Once Britain becomes a member, then its approval is necessary for any expansion of the supranationality, and for any treaty amendments at all. Britain emphasizes that it belongs to Europe and is firmly resolved to participate actively and positively in the political – that is, not only the economic – consolidation and shaping of Europe. However, it always supports pragmatic – and not dogmatic – methods for structuring Europe. This difference in method was also the main subject of numerous years-long debates in the Council of Europe since 1950, just as it was in the talks on establishing a European Free Trade Zone, and it was ultimately the reason for creating the EFTA. And so General de Gaulle, through his equally pragmatic stance – in contrast to the views and plans of the previous French governments – has also played an essential role in Britain’s decision to apply for membership in the EEC, even though he is not too happy about its becoming a member. Great Britain has declared its willingness to fully accept the Treaty of Rome. It would like, however, to see special provisions within the framework of the treaty – such as those that also exist for the benefit of other ¬EEC members – that take into account its preferential trade relations with the Commonwealth and the particular aspects of its agriculture. It also wants a satisfactory solution to be found for its EFTA partners, since it promised not to let them down. Britain is in full agreement with the U.S.-Soviet exploratory talks and with the standpoint of the United States regarding the questions of Berlin and Germany.

[ . . . ]

Source: “Die Meinungsverschiedenheiten über die Konstruktion Europas” [“Differences of Opinion on the Construction of Europe”], Archiv der Gegenwart, May 19, 1962, pp. 9867-68.

Translation: Allison Brown

first page < previous   |   next > last page