20 AUGUST 1948, Page 2

A New European Conclave ?

The resolution of the French Council of Ministers in favour of the convocatiost of a European, or in the first instance Western European, Assembly on the lines proposed by the recent conference at The Hague seems to be dictated rather by emotion than by reason. The idea of "getting together" is admirable, but that purpose is not necessarily best attained by a multiplication of international con- ferences ; and confusion is more likely to result than clarity from the convocation by Governments of a conference which, though it has that much governmental authority behind it, will possess no executive power and commit no one by its findings. The con- solidation of Western Europe, and some other parts of Europe, is proceeding satisfactorily as it is, with the close union of the five Benelux Powers, the Organisation for European Economic Co- operation and the European Economic Council of the United Nations. The importance of these bodies is that they all represent co-opera- tion between Governments, and whatever the Governments may agree on is given executive effect. The suggested European Assembly would be no more than an expanded meeting of Inter-Parliamentary Union groups in different countries, and its deliberations would be calculated to embarrass Governments rather than assist them. What is needed at present is not more talk but more action, and action lies within the sphere of Governments. They no doubt need stimulus, but their own democracies should be capable of supplying that.