The MRP and French Foreign Policy

The MRP and French Foreign Policy

The MRP and French Foreign Policy

The MRP and French Foreign Policy

Excerpt

At the time of writing, early 1962, France is still deeply involved in the fears and hopes of the Western world. In a television interview in late December, 1961, the famed commentator Walter Lippmann said that he was more fearful about the fate of democracy in France, should there be no Algerian solution, than he was about the fate of Berlin. On the other hand, the hopes of the West for developing an economic offensive are deeply bound up with the expanding European Common Market. France, a member from the beginning, has found that the Market is clearly working to her own economic advantage.

How is the Mouvement Républicain Populaire connected with all this? Domestically, this "party of the Fourth Republic" sought consistently through the first ten years of its existence to maintain the middle ground in French politics in order to protect democracy from the threats of both political extremes. Internationally, the MRP identified itself from the first with the program of European integration; one of its leaders made the initial proposal for the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community; and a leader of the MRP continuously presided over the French Foreign Office for ten full years, thereby helping to preserve a remarkable continuity in French foreign policy.

It is true that, in contrast to its first ten years, the MRP has played little direct part in French government since 1954. But its leader, Pflimlin, was the last Premier of the Fourth Republic, having yielded power to De Gaulle because of the exigencies of the Algerian crisis in 1958. The party surprised skeptics by doing better than expected in maintaining its representation in the National Assembly of the Fifth Republic. In fact, Maurice Schumann, the voice of Free France in World War II and a past President of the MRP, held the significant post of President of the Assembly's Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1960. More recently, five MRP leaders held posts in De Gaulle's cabinet until they resigned in May, 1962, in protest against De Gaulle's concept of European federation.

This work is a case study of the efforts of a political party to . . .

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