History of US-EU Relations: 5

Document: Memorandum of a Conversation (between Sec. of State Dulles, Italian Foreign Minister Gaetano Martino, Italian Ambassador Manlio Brosio, and C. Burke Elbrick
Date: March 1, 1956

Towards the end of the conversation, Secretary of State Dulles voiced his support for European integration, saying “Such a development would create a great center of political and economic power which would stir the imagination of all peoples and create a great new force in the world. A real supranational authority can accomplish great things.” (emphasis added)


Document: Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union
Date: January 10, 1957

During his speech, President Eisenhower had this to say about European integration- “We welcome the efforts of a number of our European friends to achieve an integrated community to develop a common market.  We likewise welcome their cooperative effort in the field of atomic energy.”


Document: Joint Statement with Prime Minister Macmillan Following the Bermuda Conference
Date: March 24, 1957

The Annex of the Statement lists the following concerning European unity-
“2. Reaffirmation of common interest in the development of European unity within the Atlantic Community…
4. Agreement on the benefits likely to accrue for European and world trade from the plans for the common market and the Free Trade Area, provided they do not lead to a high tariff bloc…”


European Context: Since the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), two major events in Eastern Europe influenced European integration in Western Europe- the formation of the Warsaw Pact in 1955 and the Soviet crushing of protests in Budapest.

On March 25, 1957, the six ECSC countries expanded their cooperation into other sectors and signed the Treaties of Rome, thereby establishing the European Economic Community (EEC).  In addition to the EEC, the Treaties also created the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).

Rome Treaties Poster
Poster publicising the signing of the Rome Treaties (1957)

History of US-EU Relations: 4

Document: Address in Independence at the Dedication of the Liberty Bell
Date: November 6, 1950

During the speech, President Truman mentions the Schuman Plan, saying, “I have been very much interested in the proposal made by the French Foreign Minister, Mr. Robert Schuman, for pooling coal and steel production in Western Europe.  I hope very much that this plan can be worked out along the bold lines proposed by that French Foreign Minister, Mr. Schuman.” (emphasis added)


Document: The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices
Date: December 8, 1950

In this cable, Sec. Acheson discusses aspects of the Schuman Plan and the US response to it.  At one point he remarks, “There are two main trends of opinion in US on Schuman Plan.  Dominant one at present is enthusiasm for plan based on political attractiveness.  Other view, whose prevalence shld not be underrated, is skepticism as to whether project is anything more than an internatl cartel.” (emphasis added)

Acheson allays the fears of the latter, noting, “So far, it has been possible to insist in good faith that general idea of plan is a single market characterized by competition, and that real auth lies in High Auth, assembly and court, and not in producer groups.” (emphasis added)


US Context: US support for the Schuman Plan was based mainly on two concepts: 1)  strengthening the Western European economy, which was especially important in containing communism; and 2) rapprochement between France and the Federal Republic of Germany.

European Context: Six countries were involved in the negotiations to establish the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)- Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.  In addition to the technical and economic aspects of the negotiations, countries also discussed the role of institutions, in particular a supranational body, the High Authority, as well as other institutions that might check and balance the power of that body.

The Climbers 1950
Cartoon by Illingworth on the start of the negotiations on the Schuman Plan (21 June 1950)

History of US-EU Relations: 3

Document: The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State, at London
Date: May 11, 1950

“Initial reaction Dept to FR proposal re coal and steel industries is to welcome it as imaginative, useful and having considerable merit.” (emphasis added)


Document: The President’s News Conference of May 18, 1950
Date: May 18, 1950

“Mr. Schuman’s proposal…for the pooling of the French and German steel and coal industries is an act of constructive statesmanship. We welcome it.” (emphasis added)

Pres. Truman goes on to discuss the possible impact of Schuman’s proposal, stating, “I am confident, however, that the kind of imaginative thinking that went into the proposal can work out the details in ways that will benefit not only the countries directly concerned, including those who work in these industries and those who use their products, but also the whole free world.”


Document: The United States Special Representative in Europe (Harriman) to the Secretary of State
Date: May 20, 1950

In the beginning of his report, Harriman starts out with strong praise, “Believe proposal may well prove most important step towards economic progress and peace of Europe since original Marshall speech on ERP.”

At the end of the report, he reiterates the importance of the proposal, “wish emphasize overriding importance that this opportunity be not lost and that US throw full weight its support for prompt initiation and consummation of negotiations…” (emphasis added)


US Context: President Truman and the relevant stakeholders at the State Department recognized the importance of the Schuman Plan and had high hopes for its success.

Acheson 9 May 1950
Dean Acheson during his visit to Paris (9 May 1950)

European Context: Robert Schuman, the French foreign minister, proposed the integration of the coal and steel sectors during a speech on May 9, 1950. For more information on the beginning of the ECSC, I recommend the CVCE webpage, The Birth of the Community of Europewhich has four sections of background information and primary sources- 1) The Origins of the Schuman Plan; 2) The Declaration of 9 May 1950; 3) The Creation of the ECSC; and 4) The Beginnings of the ECSC.

History of US-EU Relations: 2

Document: Rear Platform Remarks in Ohio and Indiana
Date: June 4, 1948

During a speech in Fort Wayne, Indiana, President Truman remarked “there are three things necessary for peace in the world,” one of which was the “success of the European recovery program.”


Document: Letter to Premier de Gasperi on Italian Participation in the European Recovery Program
Date: September 16, 1948

The American people support this program wholeheartedly both for humanitarian and for practical reasons.  In a world growing smaller day by day, no nation can profit by isolating itself.  Mutual dependence means your welfare affects our welfare and vice versa.  Therefore, for our sake, for your sake, and for the sake of all other like-minded countries, it is our hope that the program in Italy and elsewhere will be crowned with success.”  (emphasis added)


Document: Address in Miami at the American Legion Convention
Date: October 18, 1948

After a section discussing support for the European Recovery Program, President Truman moved on to European unity, stating, “We have also been giving support and encouragement to the organization of the Western European Union.”  (emphasis added)

He went on to reason, “our interest is bound up with the peace and economic recovery of the rest of the world.”


US Context: In April 1948, President Truman signed the Foreign Assistance Act, which he said was “a measure for reconstruction, stability, and peace.”  Later that month, Pres. Truman urged Congress to appropriate $4.3 billion for the European Recovery Program.

European Context: In June 1948, as part of Germany’s post-war reconstruction, the three Western allies replaced the Reichsmark with the Deutsche Mark.

History of US-EU Relations: 1

I’m attempting a new series to coincide with our new year and the 2020 US presidential campaign.  Given the disparaging remarks by President Trump towards the EU, I thought it would be useful to take a look back at the history of US-EU relations.  The goal of the series is to show that despite what President Trump has said, the US has a long history of supporting European integration and a strong relationship with the EU.

Since my time and resources are limited, I’m not going for a comprehensive analysis; instead, I want to give readers a snapshot of the history.  For the most part, I am relying on the Foreign Relations of the United States series from the US Department of State and what I can find from presidential libraries.  Each time I share a document, I’ll provide a brief context.


Document: Memorandum by the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Kennanto the Secretary of State
Date: January 20, 1948

“1. The project of a union among the western European nations, under combined French-British auspices, is one which we should welcome just as warmly as Mr. Bevin welcomed your Harvard speech [announcing the Marshall Plan].” (emphasis added) …

Kennan goes on to write, “… if they develop it and make it work, there will be no real question as to our long-term relationship to it.”  In other words, Kennan believed it would be a given that the US would be a long-time ally of European unity.


Document: The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Inverchapel)
Date: January 20, 1948

“…The initiative which [PM Ernest Bevin] is taking in this matter will be warmly applauded in the United States. I want him to know that his proposal has deeply interested and moved me and that I wish to see the United States do everything which it properly can in assisting the European nations in bringing a project along this line to fruition.” (emphasis added)


US Context: Kennan was known for his essay, The Sources of Soviet Conduct, and his Long Telegram, both of which were influential in the US policy of containment.  His memo is in keeping with the ideas laid out in Marshall’s speech, especially that any efforts must first come from Europeans themselves.  The US’ support for European recovery and unity was based mostly on containing the spread of communism.

European Context: Pro-European unity movements had begun to take shape following the Second World War.  Additionally, the Benelux Customs Union, one of the first steps towards economic union in Europe after the War, was established on January 1, 1948.