The General Says No: Britain's Exclusion from Europe

By Nora Beloff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINE
MACMILLAN SOMERSAULTS

FOR the ageing Prime Minister, the year 1960 was doubly disillusioning: on the home front, after the splendid electoral 'hat trick', an extraordinary autumn budget had to be rushed in to halt the run against the pound. The stop-go policy seemed to be more stop than go, and only accentuated the contrast between Britain's stagnant economy and the continuing boom across the Channel.

Internationally, the Prime Minister had hoped that after his 1959 trip to Moscow, followed by Khrushchev's visit to President Eisenhower, a grand summit meeting could be organized in Paris, for which he could proudly claim paternity. Unfortunately, Mr Macmillan had overestimated the seriousness and duration of the East-West thaw. In Moscow, where I arrived early in 1960, the disillusion that followed the Khrushchev visit to Eisenhower at Camp David was already setting in. The Russians at that time seemed to have deceived themselves into supposing that Khrushchev had successfully softened up the Americans on Berlin. A series of State Department speeches cleared things up. The Soviet leaders thereupon lost interest in a top-level meeting, and furnished with a good excuse by the shooting down of the U-2 espionage plane over Sverdlovok Khrushchev went to Paris to blow up Macmillan's baby. The Prime Minister was badly shaken. Those who have worked most closely with him believe that it was this experience, coupled with the confidential and reassuring advice he was getting from Sir Frank Lee at the Treasury, which launched him on his European course.

Yet to these should perhaps be added a third reason. The Party by this time was itself in search of a policy, and in the course of 1960 the Central Office's thinking apparatus, working out long- term party strategy, had come to believe that a bold bid for Europe could give the party the new look it needed to win another election.

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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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