19 APRIL 1963, Page 9



We 'good Europeans'—we too have hours when we allow ourselves a hearty 'patriotism,' a falling-back and reversion to old loves and limitations . . . hours of national vapours, pat- riotic oppressions, and all kinds of other archaic tides of sentiment.—Nietzsche.

TWO months after the rupture of the Brussels negotiations, four months after Nassau, a brooding calm reigns over the devastated area of European and Atlantic politics, and some observers can speak of a diplomatic 'thaw.' But the fact that there is movement amid the ruins should not deceive anyone into neglecting the damage that has been done. For Great Britain tt implies the closing—perhaps only tempor- arily, but more probably for some years to come —of the one road offering a way out of a situa- tion that has become more and more straitened both economically and psychologically since the War. For President Kennedy's administration It means the breakdown of his European policy, the emergence of President de Gaulle as a kind of Western Mao Tse-tung and the indefinite postponement of the President's most imagina- tive political plan: Atlantic interdependence. For France its leader's choice of a traditionally `continental' policy is already bringing economic strain, difficulties with partners in the European Economic Community and in the future may meana tete-a-tete with Germany---a situation French statesmen have usually tried to avoid, President de Gaulle has gained in prestige, but will this be enough for his fellow-countrymen? /30th the European idea and the Atlantic Com- .ThaaitY have been the victims of recent events.

The story of the last six months is a comedy

of errors. If the British Government had been Prepared to make known to the Conservative Party and the electorate the full political im- plications of entering the Community, it might have been possible to discuss openly some of the Points which were to lead President de Gaulle to break off the Brussels negotiations. In essence (and despite the Quai d'Orsay's official line) France's non possums's was based on an un- willingness to have Britain in Europe unless Britain took the same view as itself of Europe's relationship with America, the structure of the Atlantic alliance and the distribution of nuclear Power within it. This whole problem or complex of problems was never discussed until it was too late. Of course, it is true that there was little the British Government could have done about tt by itself, It did, at one point, raise with Washington the possibility of sharing British nuclear

knowledge with France, but the reply

w_ as discouraging, and French expectations be- fore the Rarnbouillet meeting were disappointed. Nassau all too evidently confirmed President de ° alines suspicion that British entry into Europe Wauld create 'a colossal Atlantic community !rider American direction and dependence,' and, compared with this issue, all the economic ques-

tinder debate in Brussels were secondary. The reasons for the rupture of the negotiations were political, but it was just those political questions which Mr. Macmillan and his col- leagues did not wish to see raised. In Brussels they might have made the one political gesture open to them by announcing in July economic concessions which they were prepared to an- nounce in February, but this too was ruled out for domestic reasons—a failure which has allowed French diplomacy, despite the President's press conference and the known facts, to talk of Britain's unwillingness to make the sacrifices necessary for adhesion to the Treaty of Rome.

But, if Britain can be blamed for a failure to understand the situation (or, at any rate, to act upon its understanding of it), it is US diplo- macy which is in large part responsible for the cul-de-sac in which the Atlantic alliance now finds itself, The whole American treatment of the nuclear question has been an example of a failure in perception all the more serious in that the signs were there to be read by even the most inexperienced diplomat. The debate between Professor Henry Kissinger and Mr. Dean Acheson in the January number of Foreign Affairs is significant. Professor Kissinger's criti- cism of administration nuclear policy was made in entirely political terms. Mr. Acheson's de- fence of it in entirely military terms, There is little contact between the two arguments, and, since the question of military power within NATO is in fact political, the only excuse for Mr. Acheson's failure to deal with it is that all too natural obsession with the technical dif- ficulties of nuclear control which has led American spokesmen simultaneously to pooh- pooh the possibility of a European deterrent and to paint its consequences in the blackest possible colours. As Professor Kissinger writes:

Perhaps the basic difficulty has been that we have treated what is essentially a political and psychological problem as if it were primarily technical Thus, the speeches of Secretary McNamara at successive NATO meetings have been generally hailed as extraordinarily bril- liant, yet they have almost always been followed by periods of intense restiveness in Europe.

you mean my blonde, blue-eyed daughter, the apple of her father's eye, 'night end up in an RSG with the Hon, Member for Kidderminster?' It is clear that, for some time before Nassau, American diplomacy had failed to appreciate the nature of the threat to President Kennedy's policies represented by French nuclear ambitions. The essential point was made by the Gaullist newspaper La Nation, which wrote on December 29 of last year : The great European peoples, which are powerful peoples with enormous material and technical resources, will never accept indefinite dependence on an ally whose interests are already not exactly the same as theirs and could become very different in the course of a history whose development no one can foresee. . . .

This view of the dangers for Europe inherent in American policy may be true or false, but the demand for parity was certainly not one to be shrugged off with the assertion 'You'll never do it' quickly accompanied by the qualification `. . and it would be dangerous if you did.' The American administration would have been wise to recognise early on that for many Euro- peans there was a great deal of force in this kind of argument. To say, with one recent trans- atlantic commentator, the greater the threat, the greater the need for confidence,' is to ignore an entirely human desire to have a say where one's vital interests are concerned. An alliance is not a motor-car. Its smooth running involves a great deal of speaking to the man at the wheel.

The Nassau Agreement The insensitivity of American diplomacy was shown in a startling fashion at the time of the Skybolt affair. For the abandonment of Sky- bolt and the subsequent Nassau agreement made two things quite clear to Europeans and especially President de Gaulle. First, that a country might well be better off with its own (perhaps backward) programme of deterrence than with a system supplied from America. Secondly, that intransigence paid better than a willingness to compromise when dealing with the Kennedy administration. The Nassau agree- ment also raised in an acute form that issue of Britain's relationship to Europe and the US which it would have been more politic either to leave undefined until the conclusion of the Brussels negotiations or else to deal with in the course of a general discussion of the struc- ture of the Atlantic alliance. In fact, as M. Raymond Aron pointed out immediately afterwards, the Nassau agreement restored and proclaimed to the world 'a special relationship' between Britain and America at the very moment when it was essential to convince the French Government that Europe and not the US was to be Britain's main partner.

Nassau was the culminating instance of a contradiction felt throughout American policy. Successive American administrations have fur- thered the integration of Western Europe with- out being fully conscious that, in so doing, they might be creating an entity whose aims would turn out to be not identical with those of American policy and which would, in any casc, THE SPECTATOR, APRIL 19, 1963 demand an increasing say in the direction of the Atlantic alliance. Of this demand by an irony of history President de Gaulle with his Plan for a force de frappe and a tripartite con- trol of NATO was the spokesman, and, in resisting his policies, the Kennedy administra- tion was objecting to a consequence of that strengthening of Europe which the US had itself initiated and to aid which it had desired British entry into the Community. American policy, while willing British entry into Europe, Was not prepared to will the means necessary for it to be achieved—that this was so can be seen in the negative American attitude towards the EFTA neutrals. President de Gaulle's veto on British entry might have been interposed without the Nassau agreement, but it seems Certain that it was US unwillingness to come to terms with him on the structure of NATO and on the distribution of nuclear power which brought it about.

Of course, it could be argued—and no doubt

President de Gaulle did so argue—that the British Government ought to have proved its European bona fides by going ahead and pool- ing its nuclear knowledge in an Anglo-French deterrent without the approval of America. But such a step, apart from being a breach of faith, would have brought about a major clash between London and Washington of a kind Which no British Government could have risked. Whatever may be thought of American nuclear policy, it would have been neither honourable nor, perhaps, actually feasible to Plan a European nuclear deterrent, involving What would be regarded in America as the use of knowledge imparted by the US, without at least grudging consent on the part of the ,a.dministration. Such consent was requested by the British Government before Nassau, but was refused,

Pyrrhic Victory On a superficial reading of the present Euro-

pean situation France would appear as the victor of the diplomatic battle culminating in the Brussels breakdown. But the victory has been a Pyrrhic one, Despite its technical brilliance French diplomacy has been afflicted by contra- dictions and hesitations to the same extent as that of Britain and America, and the final re- sult of these changes has probably been as de- structive to Gaullist policy in Europe as it was to British entry into the Community. Through- out the Brussels talks there were, in fact, two French Policies ultimately, though not immedi- atelY, contradictory of each other. One was the Policy of selling British entry dearly for the raximum number of economic concessions both in rorri Britain and France's five partners. This has the line pursued by the French delegation Brussels--a line not incompatible with British entry, but providing a good excuse for a. veto on it and, therefore, ambiguous in its tsignificance. The advantages to be expected from have kind of legitimate diplomatic blackmail tjave now

been lost. ln the latest meeting of

has Foreign Ministers it is France which 1,as had to be conciliatory over matters where 1.1_ had .never shown itself conciliatory before. the British card was an excellent one for dealing with partners hesitating over the fixing of wheat

prices—as long as it was not played. The second French policy, which might be called the Presi- dential policy—the first being more that of the Quai d'Orsay—was to bring the British entry into a direct relationship with France's demand for a reform in the structure of NATO and the apportionment of nuclear armaments. That is, the British entry was to be considered in the light of President de Gaulle's desire for a Europe acting as a counterweight to America within the Atlantic alliance, a Europe conceived of as being under French leadership—probably not through any cynical disregard of the rights of others, but rather through the operation of an unconscious mental equation by means of which many even of the most 'European' of Frenchmen think of Europe as France enlarged. President de Gaulle is not the most 'European' of French- men: he has no special feeling about Europe, but we know him to have a special feeling about France.

The entry of Great Britain into the European Community was, therefore, to be used as a lever to extract concessions from the US—the im- parting of nuclear knowledge and reform of the structure of NATO to give European voices (and especially the French voice) more weight. It was the refusal of these concessions—or rather the failure to consider seriously their possibility—which brought about the rupture of the Brussels negotiations. However, as in the field of economic gain, the actual exercise of the French veto has produced effects which run counter to the long-term objectives of Gaullist policy.

For, in the long run, the Gaullist vision of a Europe united and acting as an equal partner to America, perhaps mediating between East and West, certainly being present as a third power at talks between them—such a Europe, whose shape can be gathered from President de Gaulle's writings as from his determination that there shall never be another Yalta, would only be possible with British participation. The Europe of the Six is too small and too divided politically to play the part for which it has been cast. More- over, the manner of Gaullist diplomacy, its '1 hear be's working to rule.'

brutal indifference to the opinions of France's partners, has made it quite certain that 'little' Europe will be less viable than it might other- wise have been. One consequence of the Presi- dent's famous press conference has been to bring out into the open his plan for the. European future, thereby creating ,sufficient dissension among the Five to make it sure that France could never emerge as their leader in carrying it into execution, Had Britain joined the Com- munity, then it is conceivable that in time the anti-American feelings which certainly persist in British politicians as in the British public might so have been wrought on as to lead Britain to choose the European, rather than the American, viewpoint when there were differences of opinion. Economic interest and geographical proximity to the Soviet bloc would have worked in the same direction. After all, on every occa- sion since the war when it has been a question of moderating the actions of the American Government—in Korea, at the first Geneva con- ference—Britain and France have found them- selves in agreement. It would not have been astonishing if, Britain once inside Europe, they had done so again. President de Gaulle's belief in automatic Anglo-Saxon solidarity is un- historical and seems to be an example of an acute mind being misled by its own mythopceia.

To achieve the kind of policy which President de Gaulle desires it would have been necessary to have Britain inside Europe and satisfied rather than acting as potential centre of attraction and disintegration from without. But here the original French policy of extracting the maximum economic concessions acted as a barrier. No attempt was made to buy British collaboration on the NATO/nuclear level by easy terms of entry to the Community. French diplomacy too was guilty of setting itself double objectives, whose incompatibility was not perceived until too late.

Moreover, there is another contradiction in President de Gaulle's position. If he were pre- pared to further the political union of Europe, then he might have behind him those forces which desire European integration and which are not necessarily opposed to a firmer stand vis-a-via America. But he is not a 'European' in that sense, and negotiations for further political integration ground to a halt in the Fouchet Committee largely because of the dis- trust of French intentions felt by those who were. 'De Gaulle is not interested in Europe except as a lever against Britain,' said one of the French architects of the Treaty of Rome last January, and M. Monnet, the father of Europe, in a recent interview in the Corriere della Sera has stated that the 'common European method' was not applied in the negotiation with Great Britain, that that negotiation could have succeeded, and that Europe is not possible with- out British participation. As Professor Alfred Grosser recently said (in a lecture at Chatham House), President de Gaulle 'is opposing Britain's entry in the name of a Europe which he him- self rejects.' The rupture of negotiations in Brussels has shaken the structure both of Europe and NATO while, at the same time, making France's objectives unattainable. At the time of the debates on the European Defence Com- munity in the French Chamber, after the over-

throw in May, 1953, of M. Rene Mayer's Gov- ernment, M. Diethelm, the chairman of the Gaullist RPF parliamentary group, cried: 'Nous ne so/ines done pas snorts puisque nous pouvons encore detruirel Ten years later this Gaullist device has lost none of its pertinency.

Diplomatic Doldrums For France, as for Britain and America, the events of the last six months have resulted in a sort of diplomatic doldrums. No doubt, Presi- dent de Gaulle can prevent the realisation of the positive side of President Kennedy's policies, but President Kennedy is equally capable of blocking any move by France to construct some- thing approximating to Gaullist ideas from the rubble left over in Brussels. This stalemate is aptly symbolised by the indecisive yet worried stance taken by the West German Government. Their anxiety to offend neither the Americans nor the French has resulted in an immobility which prevents any evolution of an unsatisfactory situation and pleases no one. While President Kennedy is reported to have been deeply angered by the signature of the Franco-German treaty and to be unassuaged by the succession of emissaries from Bonn who have since carried Olive branches to Washington, Le Monde can express the opinion that the treaty is based on a misunderstanding which is bound sooner or later to render it null and void. It is not obvious that the role of suspension bridge between Washington and Paris suits the Federal Republic. The principal characteristic of a bridge is that it is walked over.

If the present stalemate continues, then the future course of European and Atlantic policy Will depend on the lengths to which the Ameri- can administration is prepared to go to bring France to heel. Undoubtedly, the Americans have one trump card at their disposal: the threat of withdrawal from Europe, but this is for Practical purposes counter-productive. Since January President Kennedy and his advisers seem to have been relying on a twofold manceuvre to isolate France and block its attempts to assume the leadership of the Five. First, there is the development of the NATO nuclear force, Which, from being 'multinational' has expanded Into being 'multilateral' (i.e., with 'mixed' crews) in order to permit the Germans to take Part in it without giving undue provocation to the Russians by creating a German national nuclear force. The trouble with this is that it appears more as a notional gesture of goodwill towards European aspirations than as a credible Military plan. Everyone can accept it with some assurance that it will never be carried into effect, and its diplomatic usefulness in isolating France will, for that reason, be a diminishing asset.

The second American weapon is the Kennedy round of tariff negotiations. There seems little doubt that, if America chose, it could seriously damage the Community, and if France were to show itself unwilling to take an 'outward-looking' attitude during these negotiations, that may be be all course events will take. Such a threat would all the more effective in that it would tend to separate France from partners who depend to a greater extent than itself on trade outside the Community. For the moment, there does

not seem any doubt about the Community's continued existence—even the common agri- cultural policy may be put into effect one day— but the Kennedy round will bring into play all the potentially disruptive elements within the Six, and a determined effort on the part of the US could create a split that would be past mend- ing. Whether this would be to (he advantage of either Europe or America is questionable. Such a clash would certainly exacerbate incipient European nationalism as well as undoing much that American policy has striven to create in Europe since the days of the Marshall plan and the founding of OEEC.

Coming to Terms with Dc Gaulle The other immediate alternative before the American Government is to come to terms with President de Gaulle. It can be argued that, since there is a Franco-American stalemate, it would be in the interests of both parties to work out some kind of modus vivendi. Whether or not contacts between French and American states- men last week in Paris led to any exploration of this possibility, such soundings would cer- tainly be in the logic of events. The American Government must be tired of getting nowhere fast in its gropings after a new policy to re- place that so rudely shattered in Brussels. The French Government in its turn must be conscious of the weakness of its basic position and of the danger of provoking the US too far. There have been rumours—naturally immediately de- nied- that all is not well with the force de frappe and hints that France would be ready to examine the idea of a NATO nuclear force. The tone is very different from what it was only a month ago. In the interim Paris has evidently been impressed by the cost of isolation and the dis- advantages of permanent American hostility.

Whether any accord is possible will depend on the extent to which President de Gaulle might be prepared to abate his original demands. He would certainly require some arrangement for the supply of nuclear knowledge, if not actual weapons, from the US, and it is hard to say whether such a concession is politically possible for President Kennedy. On the French side the price to be paid for this (and for an enhanced status within NATO) would presumably include such items as willingness to accept a greater degree of integration of national forces in NATO, less intransigence in the Kennedy round, and a readiness to do something to ease Britain's situation after its exclusipn from Europe. Agree- ment would demand considerable concessions on both sides and it is questionable whether either is yet ready for such sacrifices, though there are certainly voices to recommend a direct nego- tiation as the line of least resistance. If such a modus vivendi were reached, then Britain— were it to have abandoned its own deterrent under Mr. Wilson's auspices—might find itself very much the outsider with its own quondam 'special' relationship with America transferred to France. Mr. Wilson may prove to have hampered his own freedom of action without, in fact, align- ing himself on US policy. This potential re- versal of roles has not escaped notice in the Gaullist press.

A third possibility of breaking the present deadlock would be for either France or the US

to attempt a new political initiative. Undoubtedly the easiest way for President de Gaulle to distance President Kennedy in the struggle for Europe would be to swing the 'Europeans' over to his side by the espousal of supra-nationality The risk of alienating America would then be accepted by many Europeans in return for th: creation of a federal Europe. Fortunately for US policy it does not appear likely that President de Gaulle will alter course in so striking a manner. French nationalism is his strength, bur it is also his limitation. An analogous move on the American side would be to attempt to give some political reality to President Kennedy's conception of 'interdependence.' This wou'd either involve the imparting of political content to NATO or else the creation of some new bock which could do for the North Atlantic Com- munity what existing European institutions are intended to do for Europe: that is, provide a basis on which an increasing unity can be built Such an American plan would probably be the surest method of defeating Gaullist dream of a 'little Europe.' It would provide a pole o: attraction drawing European States outwards and away from a tightly knit and closed community The Common Market would not be attackeJ directly, but it would be diminished, absorbed into, and dwarfed by, a larger unit, which wou' have the advantage of corresponding to the rea. necessities of European defence. Probably suct a move would be better made through some nev, organisation rather than through NATO; it i. a decisive handicap to have to begin discussion of integration of States on the military plane where national suspicions are at their stronge t If the Atlantic Community comes into being, it will be through much the same process as has taken place in Europe: co-operation in various fields gradually leading to integration.

For the Kennedy administration such a policy would be in accord with its long-term planning and would have none of the dis- advantages of a direct assault on the Com- munity or of coming to terms with President de Gaulle. Only it would require from the American people a readiness to surrender some of the attributes of sovereignty which almost certainly does not yet exist. It is perhaps no accident that each of three courses at present open to American diplomacy implies the pay- ment of a price which has so far discouraged President Kennedy and his advisers from pur- suing any of them to the point where they might become effective. Yet the alternative to either breaking France's hold on the Six or meeting President de Gaulle's terms or undertaking a political initiative aimed at the creation of an Atlantic Community is the present stalemate. Of these possible policies the third would un- doubtedly be the best, but would also require the display of the greatest degree of national leadership. This should not frighten the present American administration, but it must be said that its European policy has not lived up to its decisive Cuban form. During the last year American foreign policy in Europe and NATO has failed because its desire to make omelettes has not been accompanied by a willingness to break eggs. If it does not find the strength to will the means as well as the end, the whole West will suffer. and Britain most of all.