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.

Five Reasons to Teach the EU

IMG-5577
Tour Participants

In June 2019, the Delegation of the EU to the USA hosted a study tour to Brussels for American educators to learn about the EU. I had the honor of being the curriculum specialist for the tour, showing participants a variety of resources and helping them think about ways to take all of the information back to their students and colleagues. With that in mind, here are five reasons to bring the EU into your curriculum.

1. The EU is a fascinating democratic experiment which has led to peace since its establishment.

The idea that countries were willing to integrate certain sectors and give up a bit of their sovereignty to ensure peace is a quite positive story. That historical context, coupled with the way the EU is set up, can lead to opportunities for great discussions about multi-level governance, legitimacy, and sovereignty. Teachers can also try some of the simulations on the Delegation’s website.

IMG-5575
Here’s me leading a curriculum workshop on teaching resources

2. The post-Cold War generation needs to understand why Europe matters.

Given the nature of the Cold War, it made sense to emphasize transatlantic relations, especially in terms of trade and security. Even though the Cold War ended almost thirty years ago, those issues are still relevant today. Students can see, for example, how much the EU trades with the US and also with their respective state. In terms of security, the EU and the US cooperate in numerous areas (e.g. energy security, cyber security, and maintaining peace.)

Example of information for a state from http://www.euintheustrade.org/

3. The US can learn a lot from the EU.

At a time when global problems require global solutions, the EU’s emphasis on multilateralism provides students with lessons about the importance of working together toward a common solution. Additionally, the EU is a leader in many policy areas, such as climate change and social issues (e.g. the European Pillar of Social Rights.)

4. Learning about the EU increases students’ global awareness.

If we want our students to be aware of the world around them, the EU is a great starting point. With the EU’s emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), teachers can first start out by talking about the 2030 Agenda and move on to EU policies in each of the seventeen goals. Additionally, since the EU is a global leader in development aid, students can learn what the EU does to help other countries make progress toward the SDG’s.

5. Teaching the EU is interdisciplinary.

At first glance, teaching the EU seems to be most at home in social studies classes. Due to the variety of cultures and languages (24 official ones!), however, the EU can be taught in music (think “Ode to Joy,”) art, foreign language, and even culinary classes.

Interested in teaching the EU?
·
Begin with “Europe in 12 Lessons,” a publication that covers areas such as the history of the EU, its institutions, and what the future might bring.

· For something more in depth, you might want to use “How the EU Works.”

· If you’re looking for activities and materials, the EU has a website called the “Learning Corner.”

· Finally, to keep updated on EU-US relations, follow the Delegation of the EU to the USA and the Ambassador on social media.