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Series Two: The Treaty of Rome and European Integration, 1957-1960

Part 3: Files for 1960

(Public Record Office Class FO 371/150217-150227, 150263-150380 and T 230/502)

Publisher's Note

“The Community shall have as its task, by establishing a common market and an economic and monetary union…to promote throughout the Community a harmonious and balanced development of economic activities.”

Article 2, Part 1 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community

The creation of a united Europe is one of the most significant political developments of the 20th century, and the signing of the Treaty of Rome, 25 March 1957, was its defining moment. It marked the birth of a common market on a continental scale, embracing France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy, and the beginnings of a movement for ever closer political and social unity.

This project makes available recently released archival material that will help scholars to examine this landmark event, including:

  • A detailed Foreign Office study of the implications of the Treaty of Rome
  • All of the relevant Cabinet Minutes and Memoranda discussing European integration
  • An economic assessment by the Treasury of the potential for inter-European trade
  • Discussions of the implications of the European common market for Commonwealth and Colonial territories
  • Advice and commentary from the USA to the Foreign Office
  • Papers of the Board of Trade concerning business attitudes to European integration
  • Early discussions about the Common Agricultural Policy arising from the Stresa conference of 1958

European nuclear policy is discussed at length, as EURATOM was also established by the Treaty of Rome, resulting in a substantial harmonisation of European energy and defence policies in this area. There are many files concerning Louis Armand, Franz Etzel and Francesco Giordani. The Cold War implications of nuclear policy are fully explored.

There is also extensive documentation concerning the creation of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1960. This brought together a potentially powerful rival group of European nations in an economic alliance including Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The files provide evidence of French attitudes towards EFTA and of EFTA's relations with the EEC.

European Integration is discussed in files recording the round table conference of European wise men and also in the first hand accounts of talks between Prime Minister Macmillan and President de Gaulle. There is also correspondence with and concerning Walter Hallstein, 1st President of the European Commission, and Robert Schuman, President of the European Parliamentary Assembly.

A whole range of issues can be examined through the use of these documents:

  • Was a united Europe created by a group of idealistic technocrats or driven by economic self-interest?
  • Was the EEC modelled on the continental economy of the USA?
  • Did the growth of the EEC affect the Cold War and the balance of power in Europe?
  • Why was agriculture such a divisive issue in the EEC and EFTA?
  • Were the six signatories of the Treaty of Rome equally committed to federalist principles?

Any library supporting the study of European integration will want to acquire these papers, which provide scholars with the opportunity to re-examine the broad economic, social and geopolitical implications of the Treaty of Rome.



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