Book excerpt

An Extract from "The Great Deception" on CFR and USA in creation of EU

The text that follows is an extract from "The Great Deception THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION", Christopher Booker and Richard North, Continuum, 2003, pages 35-37 from Chapter 3 "Two Tries That Failed: 1945-1949"

However, fully engaged in reconstruction as they were, in the first two years after the end of the war, there was little talk of bringing about 'European unity' from the governments of western Europe. The exception was a plan agreed by the governments-in-exile of Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg, to set up a common customs area between their three countries, Benelux. The idea had been inspired by Monnet's attempt at Anglo-French union in 1940,8 and was finally ratified on 29 October 1947.

During these two years, however, the vision of creating a 'United States of Europe' did break into the headlines, from two unexpected directions. One was the speech made in Zurich in September 1946 by Churchill himself, now out of power and not averse to creating a stir on the international stage. He came up with a startlingly unconventional proposal: the setting up of a 'Council of Europe'. The other, not dissimilar proposal came from the country which over the next few years was to play a key part in promoting Europe's political integration: the United States of America. That it should have come from America itself was partly the result of the inter-war idealism when a group of internationally-minded Americans had set up the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) in 1920.

The CFR prospered during the years of America's isolationism, perversely, as a consequence of the State Department's withdrawal from world affairs. This had led to serious under-staffing and the CFR begun to fill the gap with a series of position-papers addressing major foreign policy issues of the day. Generously funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and other industrial corporations, it had carried out detailed examinations of 'mechanisms for the economic integration of Europe'. Over 120 influential figures, including academics, business leaders, politicians and civil servants drawn from across the Roosevelt administration, were involved in this programme, holding 362 meetings and producing no fewer than 682 documents.

In 1939, it set up a series of 'War and Peace Study Groups', and when Coudenhove Kalergi had arrived in New York as a refugee from Hitler, the CFR arranged for him to spend the war years teaching 'European integration' at New York University.

The cause of European unity was also actively promoted in Washington in the early war years by Monnet. Not only did he win sympathy from such key US establishment figures as Dean Acheson, George Kennan and Justice Felix Frankfurter, but several times met President Roosevelt himself.

As peace approached, and Washington began to think about how Europe might be rebuilt, politically and economically, the 'Europeanists' had succeeded in convincing established liberal opinion that the solution to Europe's post-war problems would lie in some form of political unification. There was, however, an important proviso: the US would not be prepared to support continued European colonialism. 9 Europe had to learn to live within her own boundaries.

All this was reflected when, in 1946, one of the CFR's study teams, headed by David Rockefeller and Charles M. Spofford, a senior lawyer, produced a paper entitled 'The Reconstruction of Europe', which was widely circulated in US government circles. In March 1947, after active lobbying by Coudenhove, two Senators, William Fullbright and Elbert D. Thomas, piloted a resolution through both houses of the US legislature that 'Congress favours the creation of a United States of Europe'.

To attract public support for the resolution, CFR members orchestrated an intensive media campaign. On 17 March, Life magazine, whose publisher, Henry Luce, was a leading CFR member, proclaimed: 'our policy should be to help the nations of Europe federate as our states federated in 1787'. Sumner Wells (CFR) of the Washington Post, owned by another CFR member, Eurgen Meyer, wrote: 'Europe desperately needs some effective form of political and economic federation.' Boston's Christian Science Monitor, another strong CFR supporter, advised: 'the US could hardly impose federation on Europe, but it could counsel ... It could mould its leading and occupational policies towards upbuilding a single continental economy' The New York Times, the most influential CFR mouthpiece of all, produced on 18 April a magisterial editorial proclaiming: 'Europe must federate or perish'; while the St Louis Post Dispatch declared that 'for Europe it is a case of join - or die'. 10

However, what gave the real impetus to American support for European integration was the darkening international climate, and it was this which was bring the United States fully into the European arena.

The Marshall Plan: The first try that failed

Footnotes from the book

  1. Brombergers, op. cit., p. 31.
  2. An exception to this was the loan negotiated by Monnet for French reconstruction in 1946 (Ball, op. cit., p. 77.)
  3. Jasper, William F. (1989) 'United States of Europe' in New American, 5(8), 10 April.

Clarion Notes

The text above was taken by Clarion directly from a copy of the book. The citations below are extracted from the book's Bibliography (pages ix-xiii). There is no author "Brombergers" in the Bibliography or in any footnotes to Chapter 3.

Ball, George (1982), The Past Has Another Pattern (New York, Norton and Co.)

Bromberger,Merry and Serge (1969), Jean Monnet And the United States of Europe (New York, Coward-McCann).

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