Money and security : troops, monetary policy and West Germany's relations with the United States and Britain, 1950-1971 /

By Hubert Zimmermann | Go to book overview

3
Adenauer And “Perfidious Albion”:Troop
Reductions, Support Costs, And The Integration
of Europe, 1957–1959

ANGLO—GERMAN DISCORD

In May 1959 the British ambassador to NATO, Frank Roberts, reported a quip by Konrad Adenauer he had picked up from his German colleague, Herbert Blankenhorn.1 Allegedly, Adenauer remarked that he now had two main enemies: England and his own Foreign Office.2 Whatever the source of this quote, it was typical of the state of affairs between Britain and West Germany in 1959. It seemed as if the conflicts of the previous years and all the fundamental differences in policy matters suddenly converged, culminating in a tense meeting between Harold Macmillan and Adenauer at the end of the year.3 Numerous disagreements, whether they were about East-West relations, disarmament, the Free Trade Area (FTA), or support costs, were inextricably linked and reinforced each other to produce a postwar low in Anglo—German relations.

After the war the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic seemed to develop much more auspiciously than Franco—German relations. However, Bonn and London never achieved the degree of collaboration that characterized the dealings between Bonn and Paris. This proved to be particularly harmful to Britain's attempts between 1957 and 1963 to work toward a form of European integration consistent with its basic foreign policy objectives. British politicians were slow to acknowledge that London's European policy had become dependent on German support. If Bonn had opposed the French policy of excluding Britain with the same determination as did The Netherlands, France at that time probably would have thought twice before taking the risk of

____________________
1
The Adenauer quip “Perfidious Albion” is related in Siegfried Balke to Peter Tennant, Oct. 29, 1959, PRO FO 371/145780.
2
Roberts to Steel, May 27, 1959, PRO FO 371/145775.
3
For the series of mutual recriminations during 1959, see the documents in PRO FO 371/145777.

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