4. Memorandum of Conversation0
- European Integration and the Six and Seven Problem
- (See attached list)
The President said that the United States appreciated German efforts to unite Western Europe. We had informed Prime Minister Macmillan that we hoped the United Kingdom would play a leading role in the economic and political integration of Europe and that the British would join the European Economic Community. However, that was a decision which the Six and England would have to make for themselves. The United States did not want to see other countries taken into EEC at the expense of the Rome Treaties. It is best for the Atlantic Community if the United Kingdom joined the EEC on an unconditional basis.[Page 7]
The President added that the more closely integrated Western Europe becomes, the more likelihood that economic problems will be created for the United States. In the interest of a stronger Atlantic Community, however, we are prepared to meet these problems. We would nevertheless be reluctant to face these economic problems and adjustments both as regards the US and Latin America, unless definite political benefit results therefrom. Therefore the US is hopeful that before the year’s end, the UK and possibly other EFTA countries will have joined the EEC with full acceptance of the Rome Treaties.
The Chancellor stated that he had recently discussed this matter with Hallstein, who saw no insurmountable problem to the entry of the UK into the Common Market. Hallstein felt that the question is whether the UK is ready to negotiate seriously on joining; up to the present time, however, he saw no indication that they were. The Chancellor said he will consult once again with Hallstein. The Common Market countries are ready for the UK today, and not tomorrow.
The President responded that it was his impression from his talks with the British that they seriously desired to join the EEC, but the British have the impression that not all of the Six welcome their entry. This would be in our common interest, and we should use our influence—the Federal Republic within the EEC and the United States on the outside—to induce the UK to associate with the EEC.
Foreign Minister von Brentano said that it was most interesting to have the President’s views on this matter. The Federal Republic will do its utmost to strengthen the EEC and not to let it be weakened. Germany would welcome the UK as a member of the EEC and the Foreign Minister was happy that the US had now modified its position. Up to now this had been a difficult situation. He went on to state that the former Administration had opposed expansion of the Six on grounds that it would hurt the United States. This position of the US had been used to good advantage by countries opposed to expansion of the EEC and to European integration. Foreign Minister von Brentano stated that he was glad that the present Administration supports the German view. The Federal Republic could see that problems did exist for the US economy in this European movement. When the Chancellor and Prime Minister Macmillan had last met,1 the Chancellor had suggested bilateral talks in which the EEC countries could make known the conditions which the British would have to meet in order to join. This proved to be a useful suggestion, and subsequent discussions were held between Paris and London and between Rome and London, which indicated that, as the President had so frankly stated, not everyone is ready to let the UK join the EEC. The French in particular are doubtful. The Federal Republic [Page 8] will do everything possible to assist in a solution to this problem, if the UK really wishes to come in, and would appreciate any US assistance with London and Paris.
Foreign Minister von Brentano pointed out that the existence of EFTA had not made matters easier for the EEC to find a solution, since the purposes are so different. The EEC has political character and motivation. EFTA has neutral member-countries who may have difficulty in associating themselves with the Common Market. The United Kingdom would like to join the EEC on a basis which excluded the agricultural sector and enabled them to maintain their Commonwealth association. The Six cannot accept this arrangement, but the Foreign Minister said that Germany will do its utmost to find a way for the United Kingdom to join.
Minister von Brentano added the view that once the UK comes in, the Common Market could be broadened by the inclusion of Norway, Portugal, Denmark and other NATO countries—possibly not on a full membership basis—although he felt that something could be worked out. A rapprochement could be brought about in conformity with GATT. He was happy at news of the UK interest.
Under Secretary Ball emphasized that there had been no change in the United States position between the former Administration and the present Administration concerning the expansion of the EEC. Actually, the problem had not previously been formulated as the British have now done, but rather in the thought that a loose association between the EEC and EFTA might weaken the political institutions of the Six and result in economic discrimination against the United States. However, if Macmillan had asked point blank whether we favored their joining the Six within the Rome Treaties, the former Administration would have said yes. If this new question did present itself as an actuality, Mr. Ball believed that the US would find a formula for cooperation.
Mr. Ball had the following impressions on this subject, as a result of his discussions recently with UK officials, including the Prime Minister:
- Many elements in the British Government wanted major steps taken in this direction, although this will present difficulties within the UK;
- EFTA is not a serious bar to a solution, and it should be possible for NATO members to join; special arrangements for Portugal and the neutral countries would be needed;
- The institutional consequences of the Rome Treaties do not constitute a problem and the UK could live with them. Nor are the non-commercial obligations an obstacle;
- The UK saw two problems—Commonwealth preferences (which could be worked out) and Agriculture, which is the most serious hindrance to association with the Six. The French do not agree to special arrangements accommodating the British agricultural sector.
Mr. Ball concluded by stressing that the Six will be weakened if a common agricultural policy is not developed. This is a most serious problem for the Federal Republic which should enlist the highest possible support to induce the UK to find a solution. It may be necessary for the German Government to take the longest step within the Six in overcoming present domestic difficulties impending a common agricultural policy.
Foreign Minister von Brentano noted that Italy and Holland have the same difficulties on agriculture.
[Here follows a list of participants.]
- Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 366, CF1835. Confidential. Drafted by Freshman, and approved by S on April 25, U on April 24, and the White House on May 11. The meeting was held at the White House. Chancellor Adenauer visited Washington, April 12–13.↩
- Macmillan visited Bonn, August 10–11, 1960.↩