The General Says No: Britain's Exclusion from Europe

By Nora Beloff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
UNSPLENDID ISOLATION

AT the beginning of 1959, while the Maudling free-trade area was being quietly swept under the carpet and the seven-power substitute put in its place, the Prime Minister, Mr Macmillan, put on his fur hat and flew to Moscow. Pundits began to assume we must be nearing the next general election.

While the Prime Minister's mind was on higher things, his Government's European policy was `to build a bridge', to use the officially approved metaphor, between the six-power E.E.C. and the seven-power EFTA. This proposition was keenly applauded by the West German Deputy Chancellor and Economic Minister, Dr Ludwig Erhard, who bought space in German newspapers to feature his own avuncular face and the arithmetical equation 6+7=1. The West German Chancellor Dr Adenauer, on the other hand, continued to prefer E.E.C. Though he never publicly acknowledged it, everyone knew that, when he did Erhard's sum, the answer came to 2.

While Maudling was preparing EFTA, the Six on their side ordered the Brussels Commission to draw up a report on the collapse in Paris. The Commission had always opposed the free- trade project as a deliberate menace to their own single customs union, of which the common external tariff was to serve as cement to hold the new community together. Their report, published while the Prime Minister was still in Moscow, received little attention in Whitehall and none in Fleet Street, even though it was a strikingly outspoken document with major implications for British policy. Whatever Maudling was doing with his end of the projected bridge -- and he went on labouring at it for another fifteen months -- Brussels was quietly dismantling the bastions on the other side.

The Commission's report was written mainly by an exceptionally brilliant young Frenchman, Jean-François Deniau, then a thirty-two-year-old Inspecteur des Finances -- that is, a member

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The General Says No: Britain's Exclusion from Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • Chapter One - The Execution 11
  • Chapter Two - De Gaulle: Man and Monarch 19
  • Chapter Three - De Gaulle: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes 28
  • Chapter Four - New Notions of Europe 39
  • Chapter Five - Britain Says No to Europe 50
  • Chapter Six - Europe in Uniform 61
  • Chapter Seven - Europe Splits 70
  • Chapter Eight - Unsplendid Isolation 84
  • Chapter Nine - Macmillan Somersaults 95
  • Chapter Ten - Brussels: First Round 113
  • Chapter Eleven - Brussels: Last Round 132
  • Chapter Twelve - The Débâcle 148
  • Epilogue 172
  • European Institutions 181
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