Year LVI, 2014, Single Issue, Page 94
FOUNDING THE EUROPEAN STATE
Examination and documentation
of De Gasperi’s attempt in 1951 and current prospects*
We here publish two documents and a 1951 text from the archives of the MFE (Spinelli’s Memorandum on the Rapport intérimaire drawn up by the Conference for the organisation of a European Defence Community, EDC) that illustrate the two decisions through which, exploiting the possibilities created and the problems raised by the EDC Conference, a small group of people succeeded in laying the foundations for the building of a European political community — a community with an army, a parliament directly elected by the Europeans, and a government, albeit in an imperfect form (in other words, a state, assuming this term is not taken to refer only to the unitary and centralised type of state). The first of the two documents, which has come into our possession and never previously been published, is the “Minutes of the meeting of the six foreign ministers of the Conference on the European army held in Strasbourg on December 11, 1951” (clearly drafted hastily and by Italian hands). This is the meeting during which De Gasperi managed to get Schuman to decide, and the other ministers to accept, that the creation of a European army demanded the building of a political community. The second document is the formal act by which, on September 10, 1952, the six foreign ministers entrusted the enlarged Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) with the task of drafting the statute of the future political community. Like others, this document shows that the decision to build the political community was prompted by a request from Italy and therefore endorses in essence, if not in precise detail, the contents of the first document.
To allow a better understanding of these texts it is necessary to recall, albeit briefly, the events that constituted the background to them. Towards the end of 1950, the USA and the UK raised, within NATO, the problem of the rebuilding of the German army. The French government, for obvious reasons, was against this, but lacked the strength to impose its opposition. Thus, in France, there began to take shape the idea of using the political-institutional model devised with the creation of the ECSC in order to create a European army, the objective being to re-arm the Germans yet without rebuilding the German national army. On February 26, 1951 the French government invited the European countries that had signed the North Atlantic Treaty, as well as the Federal Republic of Germany, to the EDC Conference. Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Italy accepted immediately. The other governments opted to send observers. Subsequently, the Netherlands also agreed to participate.
These facts are well known; less so the fact that on July 27, 1951 the delegations of the participating countries, believing an acceptable design for a European army to have been reached, sent their governments a Rapport intérimaire which practically amounted to a draft treaty. It has to be remarked that this contained absolutely no reference to the idea of a political community based on the votes of the Europeans: in line with the original French idea, the institutions envisaged were similar to those of the ECSC, with a Commissioner in place of the High Authority.
Even less well known are the events that unfolded after this. The MFE (Italian) presented the Italian government with a Memorandum on the Rapport intérimaire, written by Altiero Spinelli. Commenting on the work of the conference, Spinelli pointed out that, as an effect of the contradiction inherent in creating a European army that would exist in the absence of a state, some delegations would inevitably tend to settle for a mediocre result, i.e. integration starting from army corps commands. And he showed: 1) that this integration could not lead to the creation of a European army, merely to a military coalition of national armies, which would result in the very thing that was meant to be avoided: a rebirth of the German army; and 2) that, in any case, this army or coalition, no longer depending solely on the nation states, and being organised by the European Commissioner but put at the disposal of NATO, would end up coming under the control of its military commander, and would thus assume the character of a set of troops provided by tributary states (Spinelli wrote: “not having wanted to create a European sovereign body, the Conference is tacitly suggesting that Europe’s sovereign figure should be the American general”). Having made these remarks, Spinelli, to frame the issue of the European army in its true terms, examined the institutions and the military organisation proposed by the Rapport, highlighting their glaring functional contradictions. Analysing them one by one, he showed that they all led back to the same basic contradiction: that of an army without a state. At the end of his Memorandum he indicated the method that needed to be adopted, remarking: 1) that the governments would be unable to “reach the true unification” rendered necessary by the European army issue without “a text clearly defining the European bodies, the powers to be transferred to them, and the relationships that will exist between the nation states and the new European state”; 2) that “this text will be a treaty or pact between the states until such time as they have ratified it, and it shall become the supreme constitutional law of the new state as from the moment in which it has been ratified and the envisaged bodies have been created”; and 3) that the organ with the requisites to draft this text could only be a constituent assembly “that, strictly speaking, should be based on a direct vote by the citizens, but, for reasons of speed and convenience, may be elected by the parliaments, which are the custodians of popular sovereignty”.
The method Spinelli proposed was the one that prevailed. De Gasperi read the Memorandum, became convinced that this was, indeed, the way forward, and set to work (the rationale for the creation of the EDC had already led him to confront the need to create a European state, prompting him, on that occasion, to observe: “so the federalists were right”). It is not possible here to give a blow-by-blow account of all that followed. Suffice it to recall that De Gasperi gave the Italian delegation, hitherto one of the most ardent in its defence of national sovereignty, clear instructions to raise the political community question at the Conference; and that in the meeting on December 11, 1951, as is clear from the Minutes, he managed to get his point of view across. Reading the Minutes, it becomes clear that this question was his sole concern: each time he intervened on specific issues, his purpose was to bring the discussion back to the key problem.
The next step, following this initial victory, was to establish the procedure for creating a statute for the political community. Just as they do today, the governments at the time tended to entrust even tasks of this nature to officials. But De Gasperi knew what needed to be done and, thanks to the decisive contribution of Spaak, he succeeded in getting this task assigned to the (enlarged) assembly of the ECSC, which, for this purpose, was renamed the ad hoc Assembly (it is perhaps worth remembering that one of its members, De Menthon, had suggested the name constituent assembly and others pre-constituent assembly).
The third step, ratification, was never taken. Because of the way events had evolved, i.e. the way the EDC and the political community issues had become intertwined, the priority had to be ratification of the EDC Treaty. But following its ratification by Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, on August 30, 1954 the French National Assembly rejected the EDC Treaty on the basis of a question préalable tabled by General Aumeran, member for Algiers and representative of a majority that included, alongside diehard nationalists and the colonialists who cropped up everywhere, Gaullists, Communists and about half of the socialists. Thus, the political community initiative ended with the collapse of the EDC. Jacques Fauvet, who, like Le Monde, had battled against the EDC project wrote: “It can be argued that in 1952 and even in 1953, the Treaty would have been ratified had it been put to the vote of the Assembly” and he explained: “Domestic politics has killed off European politics”. How right he was. The Assembly that rejected the EDC had previously approved the ECSC; but between these two events there had been a major change in French national politics: the socialists were now the opposition while the Gaullists had become the political power in government.
The fact is that many men proved unequal to the task they faced. The “lukewarm defenders” of European unity had initially sought an easy solution to a difficult problem; subsequently, forced to follow a more difficult route, they trusted solely in the “beneficial effects of time”. But time did not work in their favour. Incapable of acting as the circumstances required, they — and Europe with them — finally came to the conclusion that the only virtue to be exercised, in matters relating to Europe, was caution. Even today, many still draw this simplistic conclusion from the EDC story. But the real lesson to be learned from the EDC affair is a different one. What matters is that the strong defenders of European unity succeeded in bringing the issue of a European army within the sphere of the crucial political community question, and in so doing made the first attempt to found a European state. Luck was not on their side and they were defeated. But a great and valiant defeat is infinitely more valuable than numerous mediocre victories. Thanks to the battle waged by this handful of men, a battle in which caution went hand in hand with courage and clear-sightedness, we now know what is the right way to unite Europe; on the other hand, the mediocre victories of the Common Market, much celebrated until recently, have left Europe divided, at the mercy of events and of the major powers.
I. — As we have said, in the period between the second half of 1951 and August 30, 1954, Western Europe came very close to founding a federal state. The MFE’s Memorandum and the minutes of December 11, 1951 are enough to show that this historical fact came about because two men — Spinelli (then secretary of the MFE) and De Gasperi — realised that this objective was attainable and worked out an appropriate action through which to pursue it.
Despite the very gradual evolution of these events, the outcry created by the EDC issue, the public nature of the various decisions taken (all clearly directed towards the founding of a European state), which culminated in the ad hoc Assembly’s adoption of the Statute of the European Political Community, and the clarity of De Gasperi’s arguments concerning the impossibility of creating a European army without also creating a European fatherland, the profound significance of the moment — let us not forget that we are talking about creating a European state — was virtually ignored by the press and escaped the comprehension of the political, social and cultural forces that, never having grasped it, now have no memory of it. But we should not really find this surprising. Indeed, right until the eve of the founding of the Italian state, Cavour believed and declared that Italian unity — in the strong sense of the term — was “folly”. This fact is recalled for two reasons: first, because it illustrates the extent to which nation states, like any state, can blinker the political, social and cultural forces when it is the state itself that is in question; and second, because, by highlighting the realism of the 1951 attempt, it stops us from resorting to the lazy conviction that founding a European state is an impossible undertaking and therefore not worthy of examination or practical effort. It should, however, be pointed out that founding a European state — and thus completing the process of integration — means dismantling the exclusive sovereignty of the old states and creating a new state on the area that they covered; it is therefore a historically unprecedented undertaking which cannot be understood or implemented within the framework of the normal standards of political action.
II. — Having said that, it must immediately be underlined that, at the present time, nothing can be considered more important than examining the possibility that presented itself in 1951, and the way in which it was exploited, because Europe today finds itself, for the second and possibly the last time, in a similar circumstance, i.e. faced with the possibility of founding a federal state.
As in 1951, Europe is under pressure from all the political and economic forces of the global system. As in 1951, France, driven by national interests, is looking for a European solution within the Atlantic setting. In 1951, the solution envisaged (a European army) was one that would guarantee military autonomy; today, it is one that will guarantee economic autonomy, and it thus has a range of implications — institutional, political and social. Furthermore, again reflecting the 1951 situation, it is France that has taken the initiative, coming up with a range of proposals, a main one being to fix the date of the European elections. Finally, France is beset by the same difficulties and contradictions that were apparent then.
All this serves to illustrate that, albeit differing in content, the elements that created the conditions for the attempt to found a European state in 1951 are present once again, namely: 1) a situation that could render the states of Western Europe, if they continue to act in a disparate manner (this time within the economic and monetary sphere), subordinate to the USA; 2) a proposal from France, Europe’s least malleable state, of the only autonomous solution possible: the European solution. And to avoid the mistake of accepting the distorted version of events as they are presented from the national perspective, it must be appreciated that, contrary to what is generally believed, the acutely difficult situation Europe now finds itself in does not depend only on the way in which the Western European states and their economies have reacted to the changes in the international political and economic equilibrium.
The situation has been complicated by the integration of the Western European states within the Community system and by the partial replacement of the national markets with the European Common Market. Europe’s existence as an imperfect customs and agricultural union influences both the situation of the states that belong to the union and the international political situation. The peculiar condition of Europe, which is advanced yet also exposed, has had a number of effects, generating: 1) the transatlantic tensions (especially economic) that led to the suspension of the dollar’s convertibility into gold, the crisis of the international monetary system, and the emergence of brutal economic power relations between the USA and the European Community; 2) the different, but ultimately equally serious, difficulties of the Western European countries, which in Italy are acute because of the fact that the country’s economy and society have been inserted into the European economic framework in the absence of corrective measures in the form of an adequate European economic and social policy (impossible without a European currency backed by a democratic European government); and 3) the expectations, among all countries wanting to see an attenuation of or an end to the bipolar world equilibrium, that there will emerge autonomous European solutions.
The rise in oil prices, i.e. the exercising of the power acquired by several Third World countries, has brought these problems brutally to the fore and somehow linked them together, as problems that require answers in the short or medium term. It has thus imposed a rigid time frame for choosing between the European solution to the crisis, to be agreed with the USA but on an equal footing, and a purely American solution that would instead set the seal on the impotence and division of the European states, and have disastrous consequences for North America itself and for the global equilibrium.
A European solution will not be easy to find. Europe does not yet have a government, while its capacity to act still depends solely on the strength of the integration process, and this process is in severe difficulty. Indeed, having achieved the customs union, all that remains to be done is continue down the monetary and economic union route, but in this field, as in the military field in 1951, there can be no further advances without also creating a European state. And this is precisely the European solution that is needed, because it is a pipe dream to think that the problems mentioned above (the economic relations with the USA, the Italian crisis and the relations with third countries) can be tackled in a European way yet without a European economic sovereign entity; moreover, it should be remarked that the European solution is difficult, but not impossible; after all, France has not given up. Just as it did in 1951, France has proposed a European solution to the problems on the table, as well as, albeit somewhat confusedly, the adoption of political-institutional means to support this solution (direct election of the European Parliament and strengthening of the European executive power). Weakness, which mistakes the difficult for the impossible, and cannot wish for new institutions because it is only able to conceive of action using the visible and existing ones, remains a prisoner of the nation state, and of the only solution that is possible with the existing means of action: submission to the American government. But the game is not over, because even submission is difficult.
III. — These same conclusions are reached, and more directly, if one compares the 1951 and the current situations from the perspective of the nature of the action through which the founding of the European state might be attempted. Obviously we must first change our framework of observation so as to appreciate that the possibility of acting depends on all the forces of the global system, and that it is a fact to be ascertained, not merely something to be desired. The action itself, on the other hand, demands not only knowledge but also will and determination; and in its early phases it does not immediately deploy the full range of forces, but rather individuals who, moreover, must appreciate that they are embarking on a project that, ultimately, can be entrusted to the only truly decisive forces, those of the peoples.
It is also necessary to bear in mind the difference between European politics and normal politics. It is sufficient in this regard, and for the purposes of this commentary, to consider the question of the leverage point to exploit, i.e. the place or centre in which to take the first decisions — and obtain the first gathering of forces — that will pave the way for subsequent decisions, based on an ever greater level of commitment from the political and social forces, thereby starting a process that will finally bring us to the point at which the forces are equal to the objective (i.e. that will culminate in the mobilisation of all the political and social forces in Europe, given that it is not possible to establish the European state without the intervention of the European people).
For politics as it is normally designed, this is not an issue. The state, which is a single unit but also a complex structure made up of central and peripheral locations, constitutes a network of leverage points that are exploited not only by normal politics but also by revolutionary politics, which until now has never moved beyond the conquest of the state (obviously always remaining a prisoner of it, until the instructive case of the Bolshevik Revolution). For European politics, on the other hand, this is the main issue. Europe is not built by conquering an already established power. The difficulty of the struggle for Europe lies precisely in the fact that the places or centres in which there occur the turning points and the events that determine advances or setbacks on its path to unity are to be found everywhere and acquire different degrees of importance depending on the situation; they are therefore not fixed but mobile, linked to the given situation, and invisible to most.
This also applies to the centre of decision of interest to us here, the one through which it is possible to take the first preliminary steps towards founding the European state. It should be recalled that the decision to create the political community and the decision to entrust the drafting of its statute to the European Assembly were both taken by meetings of foreign ministers (in the presence of their heads of government, and with the consent of practically all of them). And it should be remarked: 1) that these are decisions of the kind that can, in theory, be taken only by a meeting of heads of government or foreign ministers with a special mandate, 2) that the centre of decision constituted by these meetings was able to take them only because it was required to solve the problems related to the creation of a European army, and 3) that the European army issue brought the sovereignty of the European states into play (and this is the key point because otherwise it is not possible to explain the decision by the highest representatives of the national sovereignties to create a European sovereign entity). The precedent of 1951 thus allows us to conclude: a) that the normal centres of decision, being precisely that, are no use (either because they do not bring together the highest authorities of all the countries, or because opportunities allowing the decisions of the kind we are discussing here do not normally arise within them), b) that what is needed is an “occasional centre of decision” (the highest authorities plus the right opportunity), and c) that the right opportunity can manifest itself only in the presence of a mechanism of action generated by a problem that — like that of the creation of a European army — puts the national sovereignties at stake.
We need add nothing more in order to show that, following the French proposal to fix the date of the European elections, just such a mechanism of action is in motion once again (Memorandum of 15 October 1974). In fact, the issue of European elections — like, and indeed more than, that of the European army — is one that brings the sovereignty of the European states into play.
IV. — Spinelli, in his 1951 Memorandum made it clear that three decisions are needed in order to found the European state: the one through which the states express their will to create a European state (will is not necessarily the same asawareness of the moment, which is often a factor missing in historical revolutions), the one assigning a body with the task of drawing up the constitution, and finally the one through which the constitution is ratified by the current holders of sovereignty (and it is immaterial whether the federal state will be called European Community and its constitution statute, fundamental law, or some other name).
Accordingly, there must be three centres of decision: 1) the European Parliament, which can draw up the constitution; 2) the national peoples, which can ratify it (by referendum or through their parliamentary representatives); and 3) the centre of decisionthat, making the initial decision, sets the process in motion and carries out the part, eminently procedural, that falls within its competence (the occasional centre of decision mentioned earlier). We have already seen, moreover, that the European elections may create a centre of this kind. Therefore, we can say that we have, before us, the possibility of founding the European state.
At this point there should be nothing left to add. It was a case of examining a possibility: in political action there is nothing other than this, given that all that is certain does not belong to the realm of political action. Consequently, having said that the mechanism of action is under way once again, that the possibility has presented itself for a second time, one has said everything. The rest is not to be written, but to be done.
There is, however, one aspect that needs to be clarified on account of the “incredulity of men, who do not believe the truth of new things, unless they witness the emergence of solid experience”. In reality, hardly anyone thinks the European elections have the potentiality described in this comment.But the fact is that hardly anyone truly is able to conceive of the European elections in all their aspects, or of their inevitable reality. Holding European elections does not mean holding them only once; it means holding them a first time, followed by a second time, and then a third, and so on. Barring catastrophes, it will in fact be very difficult not to hold the second European elections having held the first, and even more difficult not to hold the third having held the second, and so forth. And this is surely enough to be able to assert that one can imagine anything, but not a situation in which every four or five years the European people are called to the vote even though there continues to be no European government or process of creating a European government.
Memorandum on the Rapport intérimaire
PRESENTED IN JULY 1951 BY THE Conference for the organisation of a European Defence Community
The Structure of this Memorandum.
This memorandum is divided into three parts. The first part examines the conclusions reached in the Rapport intérimaire (Report). The topics will be covered in the same order in which they are dealt with in the Report itself. For this reason there will inevitably be some repetition, and discussion of some topics may sometimes have to be suspended, before being returned to subsequently in connection with a different aspect.
It was not possible to adopt a more concise method, because the intention is to provide a guide for those who, required to read and study the Report, will be obliged to follow it as it was drafted.
The second part proposes a course of action for a delegation intending to act, within the Conference, in such a way as to promote an ever more effective and real unification of continental Europe.
The third part sets out a number of particular considerations on the position and on the scope for action of the Italian delegation.
CHAPTER I — Objectives and General Principles
The Principle of Uunification of the Armed Forces.
The Report has established, as an objective, the merging of the armed forces of the European Community countries. With the exception of the police forces and the units needed to defend the overseas territories, which must remain national, the European armed forces should completely replace the national ones, in such a way that NATO has at its disposal three sets of armed forces: the American, the British and the European ones.
The creation of a European army raises, with the very first attempt to address the issue seriously, all kinds of enormous difficulties. As the Conference increasingly came to appreciate this fact, there spread among some delegations a sense of real dismay, which led to the emergence of a tendency to want to renounce this objective and fall back, instead, on a so-called “modest solution”, i.e. a declaration that a single army will be created at some undefined future time, but that for the moment the troops, defence ministries, budgets and national flags should all remain national, and we should settle for unification only of the military leadership. European commands should be formed starting from the level of army corps commands. A relatively small amount of funds would, in this case, be sufficient to meet the needs of the European organisation.
This “modest solution” must be rejected for the following reasons:
1. It implies the rebuilding of the German army, whereas it is in the interests of European solidarity and of a sound German democracy that Western Europe have an organisation in which the Germans participate on equal terms with all other countries, but in which there no longer exist autonomous German armed forces.
2. The European armed forces would remain at the military coalition stage, where each country actually thinks only in terms of its national defence.
3. Keeping the national armies would mean keeping the current military inefficiency of the individual European armies.
The full unification of the armed forces is an objective that must remain absolutely unwavering.
Every time obstacles to its achievement are encountered — and we will look at the nature of these shortly — the conclusion we must reach is that the obstacle must be removed and not that, because of the obstacle, we must turn back and forgo a European army.
Who Would the European Army Belong to?
It has to be noted that in the formulation of the objectives and principles that should serve as the basis for the subsequent development of its ideas, there is a serious flaw in the Report that affects all the proposals it contains.
The Conference seems to have completely overlooked that fact that, today, armed forces cannot belong to military commanders as they could do in the times when recourse was had to mercenary forces, but must belong to a state. For the purpose of military operations, they are under the command of a general, assisted by a general staff, but they must be organised and controlled by the government of a state. It is governments, and not military commanders, that decide foreign, economic and fiscal policy and, in relation to these policy choices, decide the military effort that is required, the number of soldiers needed, and how they should be used. Military policy cannot be separated from foreign, economic and fiscal policy because they are strictly interdependent. This observation has two consequences: a) the Ministry of Defence, i.e. the body that ensures all that is necessary for the army, is always an organ of the state to which the army belongs; b) the supreme commander, to whom the army is entrusted for the performance of operations, is appointed by the competent organs of the state to which the army belongs, receives the necessary directives from these organs, and is fully accountable to them.
In an alliance, the different armies can be brought, for operational purposes, under a single commander, but they continue to belong to the single states, while the supreme commander is accountable to the collective body in which the individual states are represented and jointly decide a common military policy.
The authors of the Report think that it is possible to create a single European army without creating a European state. The European Defence Community is undoubtedly meant to be an essential step towards the formation of a united Europe (i.e. a European state), but it is believed that the subsequent steps can be taken at some other time; in the meantime, all that is needed is to set up a European army.
At this point, the problem arises immediately: who would this European army belong to?
It would not belong to the nation states that would be required to contribute, in terms of both men and money, to its creation, yet have no power to decide how it is used.
It would not belong to the European state, given that the Report does not envisage the creation of a European state. In fact, it is envisaged that the Commissioner should have the technical capacity to create the European army, but no jurisdiction for deciding on its use. Thus, the European army would be organised by the Commissioner with the means and the men provided by the individual states, but made available to the Atlantic Commander: in reality it would belong only to the Atlantic Commander, as a collection of troops from subordinate states that are, therefore, no longer truly sovereign.
Having lacked the courage to tackle the problem of the creation of a European state for fear of breaking the taboo of national sovereignty, while nevertheless envisaging that the armies, i.e. the key element in the construction of any state’s sovereignty, would be taken away from the nation states, the Report reaches the strange conclusion that Europe’s effective sovereign figure would be a non-European general: the Atlantic Commander.
To then discover that this Atlantic Commander is, in turn, accountable to the North Atlantic Council would actually make little difference.
The authority and sovereignty of the American state and of the British state would remain intact in the bosom of the North Atlantic Council and also before the general; this is because their respective troops would continue to belong unequivocally to America and to Great Britain. But the European states would sit on the Council as subordinate states, required to provide troops, but having no sovereignty over them.
In the absence of a European state, there would be, within the North Atlantic Council, no European foreign minister to say what Europe’s foreign policy is and to coordinate it with the US and British foreign policy, no European treasury minister to say what financial contribution can be sustained and to coordinate it with the British and American ones, and no European minister of the economy to say what economic policy Europe intends to follow and to coordinate it with the American and British ones.
In this setting, the single states that wanted jealously to hold onto these powers would have lost them, and would be able to do nothing other than follow orders. They would retain a certain independence, but only to the extent that the mechanism set out in the Report allows them to execute these orders badly.
These brief considerations show that to accomplish European military unification it is not enough simply to create armed forces with the same uniform and to give them a single flag; it is necessary to decide, not as some future step, but as a measure inextricably linked to military unification, to opt for the creation of a European state, which as a sovereign body, will be equipped with a European army and with the capacity to implement, together, all the foreign, economic, fiscal and military policy measures necessary to obtain a free and effective defence community, which are necessarily interdependent.
Only by keeping this objective in mind will it prove possible to free the Conference from the shallows in which it has now run aground.
It is worth underlining that serious problems are also raised by the two exceptions to the plan for military unification specified in the Report, namely the overseas forces and police forces, which would continue to belong to the single states.
Indeed, the exemption of overseas forces implies that France and Belgium, but France in particular, would be able to keep an army of their own. In the long run, it is unsustainable for a country to have overseas territories elsewhere in the world, which it defends independently, while at the same time being part of a Community in Europe. Indeed, on the one hand, the state in question could, because of a certain colonial policy, drag the entire Community into complex international situations, without the Community ever having had the opportunity to take decisions on the matter. On the other hand, the state with colonial troops finds itself, from a military perspective, in an advantaged position compared with the others, and this contravenes the principle of equal rights that is the basis of any democratic community. However, given that, at the current historical juncture, there can be no question of pooling the French colonial empire, as this would probably trigger an anti-European reaction in France, this anomaly may perhaps be accepted. But it needs to be set within precise limits, establishing for example that colonial troops cannot be stationed in Europe without the consent of the European political authority, and that the costs for their formation and deployment may not be invoked as a reason to reduce the contribution to the formation of the European army.
As far as the police is concerned, it should be borne in mind that when a revolutionary situation arises in a country, the police force alone is not enough to maintain public order, and it becomes necessary for the army to intervene. If the army is European, the European authority must ultimately be responsible also for deciding if and when it is necessary to use the armed forces for the purpose of keeping public order.
CHAPTER II — The Institutions
A Single or a Collegial Commissioner.
The first institution envisaged in the Report is the so-called European Authority, or defence Commissioner.
The Conference failed to agree on whether to propose a single or a collegial Commissioner. This disagreement was clearly underpinned by the German and Italian concern that, in the case of a single Commissioner, the citizens of these two formerly defeated countries would be virtually excluded from this office. On the other hand, opting for a collegial Commissioner would undoubtedly reduce both the efficiency of the work done and the level of responsibility shouldered. However, nobody framed the problem in its correct terms. Nobody asked whether or not the functions to be fulfilled by the Commissioner would entail a splitting of the work, and thus a plurality of responsibilities. As we shall see, it is necessary to answer in the affirmative. Only in this way would it be possible, even through a tacit unwritten law, to arrive at a distribution of functions that takes into account the needs of national pride.
The Commissioner as Defence Minister?
The Report attributes the Commissioner with functions that are essentially those of a defence ministry; in practice, the international organ led by the Commissioner should replace only the national defence ministries.
The Conference does not seem to have realised that a defence ministry is only one piece of the state, and that in order to work it has to be connected closely with all the other pieces.
As envisaged by the Report, the Commissioner would have no jurisdiction over Community foreign policy, and therefore would not know who the Community’s enemies and friends were; the individual national foreign ministries, on the other hand, do know who their enemies and friends are, and may even have divergent ideas in this regard. The Commissioner, therefore, would not be equipped to determine how many men might be needed, how they should be armed, or how the troops should be distributed geographically. All these are, in fact, decisions that can differ greatly, depending on the foreign policy being conducted.
The Commissioner, not being responsible for economic and fiscal policy, would not know how resources, production capacity and savings should be allocated between civil and military needs. Therefore he would not reasonably be able to draw up spending plans.
Moreover, following the creation of European army, the single states, no longer having the use of the armed forces, would no longer be able to establish what foreign, economic and tax policies should, as regards the armed forces, be in place in their in their country.
The only authority equipped to establish these things (i.e. how many men and means Europe must supply, what it must produce, how the troops should be arranged, and what enemies they should be preparing for) would actually be, as already mentioned, the Atlantic Commander.
According to the model envisaged by the Report, events should unfold in the following way: a) The Atlantic Commander receives instructions from the North Atlantic Council, on which the individual European states sit as tributary states (without authority because they lack their own armed forces); b) Each year the Commander invites the Commissioner to put at his disposal a certain number of soldiers, trained, armed and positioned in whatever way, as well as a certain amount of money; c) The Commissioner asks the Community member states for money (we will see how in a moment); d) The states provide it (again, we will look at the manner in which they will do this); e) The Commissioner equips the armed forces and puts them at the disposal of the Atlantic Commander; f) The Atlantic Commander employs them according to the directives he receives from the North Atlantic Council.
The Commissioner, as head of a war ministry, is a technical body. Everything that does not directly concern the formation of the armed forces escapes him. Having failed to formulate its objective properly at the outset, the Conference thus proposes the creation of an executive body that is devoid of sovereignty and obliged to take orders from outside. But a community cannot manage without a sovereign body. Not having wanted to create a European sovereign body, the Conference tacitly suggests that the European sovereign figure is the American General.
This is not to say that the Conference intends to turn the Atlantic Commander into a mighty ruler. General Eisenhower is rumoured to have likened himself to a new Washington, grappling with the rebellious Confederate states. The Report proposes little to change this state of affairs. It surreptitiously turns Eisenhower into not only NATO’s Washington, but also the Holy Roman Emperor of Europe. And immediately afterwards, as a reaction to this abdication, it proposes a series of measures designed to allow the governments of the nation states to evade the orders of the Atlantic Commander (just as the just as the feudal lords of the Holy Roman Empire did), thereby basically leaving him empty handed. But this aspect will be discussed later on. Let us return to the Commissioner.
The Commissioner Must Embody the Sovereignty of the Community.
The Commissioner, assuming that this name is to be retained, cannot be a mere war minister. If the Commissioner is meant to be an organ of the Community, he must be invested with all the sovereign powers that must necessarily be taken away from the states and transferred to the Community in order for this to become a true defence Community.
The Commissioner must be the supreme commander of the European armed forces, just as the American President and the Swiss Federal Council are the supreme commanders of their armed forces. Given that the European Community is linked to the North Atlantic Pact, he may delegate all or part of this function to the Atlantic Commander; but legally the troops must continue to belong to him. The Commissioner must have: 1) a Community foreign policy department, to work out guidelines for his action in international relations, and to represent him abroad, and, in particular, within the Atlantic Council; 2) a finance department, to estimate costs and collect taxes; and 3) a department responsible for the overall economy of the Community, to develop and impose the fundamental economic measures necessary to make the defence Community work.
The example of the Schuman Plan misled the Conference into believing that it would be possible to create an “Authority specialised in defence”, along the lines of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community. But such a body would, in reality, totally transform the entire system of sovereignty and therefore cannot be any other than the supreme political authority: the European state.
Once this is understood, it becomes clear that the problem of the single Commissioner is ill-posed. There are at least four roles — head of state, foreign minister, defence minister, finance and economy minister — and they need to be fulfilled by at least four men. In this way, all the needs of national pride would be met. It would be possible to use the American formula (a president who chooses his ministers) or the Swiss formula (an executive council of the Community, elected as a whole, which, in accordance with the necessary rules, shares the four roles).
The Council of Ministers Paralyses Everything.
The second institution envisaged by the Report is the Council of Ministers, which is the equivalent of the Congress of the American Confederation, or the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire. It is the representative body of the states as such, each of which would send a minister. Its tasks would be to give the Commissioner general directives, to harmonise the action of the Commissioner with that of the individual national governments, and to monitor his work on the basis of periodic reports. Above all, it would be required to approve, and therefore bring into force, the draft budget. But the whole financial side will be discussed later on.
Strangely, it is not stated anywhere in the Report who would be responsible for deciding the number of soldiers that each country should provide and the recruitment criteria that should be followed. Initially, recruitment would remain a national responsibility, although subsequently it would be performed by the Community. It is clear, however, that in both the first and the second stage, the directives in this regard would have to be given by the Community, and is to be supposed that the Report considers that they should come from the Council of Ministers.
The Council, in short, emerges as the permanent diplomatic conference of the Community member states, responsible for reaching the agreements necessary in order to attain the common objective of creating a single army.
Neither the Commissioner, nor even the Council, would have the jurisdiction to discuss Community foreign policy and overall economic policy; according to the Report, this falls outside the Community’s planned scope.
No agreement was reached on the question of whether the Council, to lay down general directives and approve the budget, must vote unanimously or by a majority. As usual, the Conference ground to a halt on encountering a procedural issue, ignoring the underlying problem.
It is, in fact, necessary, first of all, to look at what the real powers of the Council should be. Only after having established this does it become possible to address the issue of the voting method.
We recall that, under the institutional system envisaged by the Report, requests would be submitted by the Atlantic Commander to the Commissioner, who would translate these into proposals concerning conscriptions of soldiers to be recruited, funds to be raised, and production programmes to be implemented in the different Community member states. This is the point at which the Council of Ministers would intervene. The ministers of the various countries would together discuss whether to accept or modify the proposals concerning the contributions required from different member states. Naturally, pressure could be exerted covertly from high places (from the true sovereign entity) and may be so forceful as to amount to orders. But in general it can be expected that, as happens today within all NATO committees, a “noble” struggle would ensue with everyone competing to contribute fewer men and less money. Clearly, with defence having ceased to be a national matter, the ministers would no longer appreciate the need for their country’s contribution, while they would continue to understand perfectly well the weight of the sacrifices that their country is being asked to make and would be concerned about the discontent that these would stir up among their fellow citizens. One need only read accounts of the meetings of the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire in the fifteenth century, or of the US Congress before 1787, to be convinced that the Council of Ministers of the European Community would be no exception to this rule.
However, at a certain point an agreement may, more or less willingly, be found. This agreement would be enforceable providing it concerned an action that the Commissioner could carry out with his own means. But as regards the contributions in men, weapons and money (means without which the Commissioner and the Atlantic Command, with the best will in the world, can do nothing), it would be the states making the necessary decisions. Indeed, until such time as the states truly delegate sovereignty to the Community, the Council of Ministers of the Community, would remain, in practice, unable to make decisions regarding contributions of men and money, but able only to issue recommendations, as always occurs in so-called confederations.
What real importance can it have that the recommendation, to be valid, must be accepted unanimously or by a majority decision? In the first case, the minister, on returning to his own country, would obviously always be able to tell his government and parliament that he had approved the recommendation; in the second, he may sometimes have to say that while he did not approve it, he nevertheless undertook to submit it to them. But in both cases, it is the constitutional bodies of the individual member states that would be responsible for converting the recommendation into a decision. In other words, in practice, the unanimity rule would always be respected. And it cannot be otherwise, as long as the absolute sovereignty of the nation states continues to be formally preserved. So what would happen if a national parliament chose not to approve the contribution, in men and money, that it was asked to make, or decided to reduce it?; or if, after the securing of parliamentary approval, the government did actually not implement what was decided? Should one or more states fail to honour their commitments, or honour them only in part, what would the others do? What means would the Commissioner have to enforce them?
It is sufficient to raise these questions in order to understand that that the Council of Ministers (a conference of sovereign states), despite being the fundamental political institution of the Community, would be unable perform the tasks that it is planned to entrust to it. Surely, the inefficiency displayed by the committees of NATO member states should make us question whether it is worth forming another similar one at continental European level.
The envisaged Council of Ministers is not an instrument of unification. It is the nationalist rectification through which the Report seeks to counter the tacit transfer of the European states’ sovereignty to the Atlantic Commander. While the latter would determine the lines of Europe’s foreign and military policy, the individual states, with their lack of discipline, would prevent him from actually implementing a foreign and military policy.
In a true federal community, it is perfectly natural for the popular assembly to be flanked by an assembly or council of states (witness the American, Swiss, German, Canadian and Australian constitutions). But a council of states represents one of the houses of a parliament, and not a diplomatic conference, as is envisaged in the Report. The scheme proposed by the Report is instead, the very same one that, with necessary monotony, has been repeatedly used in the past, from the time of the confederations of Greek cities to the League of Nations and the UN — in other words, whenever it was desired to achieve unity of action among states, yet without impairing their sovereignty. And the result has always been the same: paralysis of the community that it was desired to establish.
The Assembly, a Bodiless Shadow.
The third institution envisaged by the Treaty is the Assembly, which is born of the idea that it is necessary to create an international body that is representative of the people, or, rather, the people of Europe. But the Conference, defending national sovereignty with almost religious zeal, afforded it neither prestige, nor any real power. Indeed, it is envisaged that the Assembly be made up of chosen representatives from the national parliaments, in other words individuals who spend the whole year thinking about national problems in their own parliaments and who, in their spare time, would also think about the European Assembly. This body would be too small to be able to be truly representative of the main currents existing in the various countries, and it would not be able to meet for any more than a month in each year, which is clearly an insufficient amount of time to allow it to control the action of the Commissioner.
The Assembly would have no legislative power, even though it is clear that the running of an institutional machine the size of the planned defence Community demands adequate European legislation. (We will look later at the insignificant rights it is wanted to confer on it in the financial sphere).
The Assembly would not have the right to choose the Commissioner, nor, by voting, to issue him guidelines. It would have the power only to bring a vote of no confidence against the Commissioner, and thus to force him to resign.
It should be noted that this arrangement is constructed in such a way as to render the Community more impenetrable to the European peoples. The Assembly, despite being the spokesman of the people, would have no opportunity to make a positive contribution to its work, only the right to exert its influence as a negative force. Indeed, despite having no serious responsibility in the establishment of the Community, it would nevertheless have the right, from time to time, to decapitate it.
There is no point dwelling here on the powers of the Court, because it is clear that they are closely related to the actual functions of the Community.
CHAPTER III — Military Questions
The Size of the National Units.
The discussion on the size of the national units in the European army carries an underlying implication that must be clearly grasped.
The larger the homogenous national units within a newly-formed European army are, the more national, rather than European, they are going to feel. Similarly, the less robust the Community is, the more the states participating in it will do so with the secret desire to retain the practical possibility of breaking away from it in the event of extreme necessity (as the Germans did in the Battle of Leipzig, the French in 1940, and the Italians in 1943), and the more they will want the national units to be large.
A satisfactory solution to the different viewpoints of the French and Germans may be found not on a technical, but on a political level. As long as we remain within the framework of a community of sovereign states, the French are inevitably going to fear the establishment of German units large enough to allow Germany, at a certain point, to step outside the Community framework, while the Germans are inevitably going to be wary of the establishment of units so small as to be effectively removed from the sphere of national influence.
A European Army or European Divisions?
The most serious consequence of the lack of clarity in the outlining of the objectives of the Community is that there is much talk of European armed forces, as a unit, when in reality what is envisaged is not a European army at all, only the setting up of divisions to be made available to the Atlantic Commander.
In fact, from a formal perspective, the European armed forces would not constitute a unit, given that they would be neither subject to a European command, nor required to swear loyalty to Europe. They would merely be a set of units placed at the disposal of the Atlantic Commander.
From the substance point of view, the profound significance of the principle of balanced forces in a coalition, like the North Atlantic Pact, was not taken into account at all.
The single regions within a state furnish men, money and goods, but no consideration need be given to the regional balance within the state’s army, because the military defence of individual regions is not a problem that exists. In a coalition, on the other hand, the armed forces of each ally must, overall, be balanced in such a way as to be basically equipped to defend that single allied state. Nevertheless, the allies may opt to balance their military forces at the level of the alliance, and this may be done in two ways:
1. There is a form of balancing that we might define natural, since it is, for example, clear that America will have more ships and more aircraft, while Europe will have more men.When the alliance corresponds to a deep community of interests, this community is manifested, among other things, in the complementarity of their armed forces and the consequent balancing that occurs.
2. Alternatively, in certain precise and limited areas, the allies could decide to forgo their attachment to military autonomy in some areas of their armed forces and instead form armed forces proper, balanced at the level of the alliance and not at the level of individual allied states.
In both cases, the bulk of the forces of each allied state is, however, always organised essentially according to its structure and its foreign policy problems.
Within the Atlantic Pact, this rule applies to Great Britain and America. The Conference has forgotten that it must also apply to Europe. The result, otherwise, is that the fundamental composition of the European armed forces will be established by a power outside Europe, and Europe will not be an ally, but a satellite.
It is indicative that the Conference does not even seem to have noticed this problem, and that it has contemplated the European army as a unitary entity only with regard to certain aspects: uniforms, arms and flag. Leaving aside these exterior aspects, the Report does not actually envisage a European army, but rather European divisions, more or less large and more or less numerous, which would be part of an Atlantic army, stationed in Europe.
Let us not beat around the bush: under the terms of the Report, Europe would supply auxiliary troops to Eisenhower’s army, in the same way as the Indian rajah supplied auxiliary troops to the British army and the reguli supplied them to the Roman army.
A European army, worthy of the name, must have a European general staff. Thereafter, it is also right that, on the basis of the NATO alliance, balances be introduced and the European army be made available, fully or partially, to the Atlantic Commander.
CHAPTER IV — Financial Questions
The Stumbling Block.
While the Conference “brushed past” the problems examined thus far without even seeing them, there could be no ignoring the financial issue, given that the creation, organisation, equipping, maintenance and use of the armed forces imply significant spending on a daily basis.
If the Community assumes the duty of defending all European citizens, it must have the right to impose taxes on them.
Because it failed to see that the very act of intervening on national sovereignty in the military sphere inevitably means intervening on national sovereignty also in the field of taxation, the Conference found itself stuck in a blind alley, and having to ask the governments for new instructions in order to get out of it. Let us examine in detail the problems that arose.
How to Establish the Estimate of Expenditure (état prévisionnel des dépenses).
The Commissioner was identified as the organ best qualified to present the estimate of expenditureto the competent Community organs for approval. We have already said that, as long as no provision is made to give the Commissioner responsibility for foreign policy, overall economic policy and fiscal policy, we will be left with a system characterised by more unknown than known factors. No one can solve this problem.
But, as we have already seen, the unknowns could be formulated by the Atlantic General. He could also draw up an estimate of expenditure. As far as Europe is concerned, this is a disgrace; it would only serve to ramp up tensions between Europe and America, rather than boosting their friendship, but it would be the only way of formulating a preliminary budget. The Commissioner, in fact, could not do it, but would be forced to limit himself to proposing its subdivision between the states.
There were some in the Conference who proposed that the overall budget should merely be the sum of the contributions that each state would declare itself able to pay. It is obvious that such a method would, a priori, make it impossible for the Commissioner to function. The first year, each state would probably (for decency’s sake at least) maintain the appropriations established the previous year for its own army. Immediately afterwards, however, each would come up with a hundred and one reasons why it could no longer manage this, and was obliged to pay less and less. In short, the overall total can be approved only by the Community’s competent bodies.
Some delegations suggested that the budget proposed by the Commissioner should be approved unanimously by the Council, maintaining theliberum vetoprinciple. Other delegations proposed that it be approved first by the Council with a two-thirds majority and then by the Assembly; the Assembly, however, might only decrease the total amount approved by the Council. In this case, the draft would go back to the Council, which could unanimously decide that it should be restored to what it was initially.
In either case, these would still be nothing more than drafts and recommendations, given that everything would still depend on the will of the national parliamentarians. It would, in fact, be up to the parliamentarians to decide whether or not to pay, and, even if they did decide in favour, it would remain to be seen whether the states actually made the payments.
How to Share the Costs Between Countries.
The lengthy discussions on the sharing of the costs produced only the statement that the breakdown should be “fair”. However, this suggestion does not seem to be of much practical use. Military spending accounts for such a considerable proportion of the taxes paid by citizens that it is not possible to establish a military levy without also establishing a general economic and social policy. Only in the framework of a general economic policy is it possible to request a levy that is so much per head, in each country, but related to individual income, with the quota decreased or increased for poorer or richer taxpayers according to specially calculated coefficients.
The Collection of Taxes.
Although this is an essential issue, the Report ignores it. Indeed, under the proposals, once the Community has established the sum that a country or the citizen of a country should pay, we nevertheless remain within the ambit of recommendations, given that the levy would have to be put to the vote of the national parliament. The absurdity of the system is immediately obvious. Basically, the idea is that every year it would be necessary to ratify a new international Treaty between the member states of the Community binding them, for that year, to pay the given sum. In the event of a national parliament rejecting or even only changing the sum requested of it, all the commitments made by the other countries would become uncertain, leaving the cumbersome Community machine forced to start drawing up… a new recommendation!
It needs to be stated quite clearly that by entering into the Community the parliaments would cease to have any rights over the budget chapters relevant to defence and the functioning of all the organs of the Community.
Month by month or quarter by quarter, the amounts established by the Community would have to be drawn, as a priority, from the nation states’ coffers, pending the creation, by the Community, of its own tax laws that would allow it to establish and collect directly, through its own fiscal agents, taxes from citizens.
Given that, in modern states, only a parliament can establish taxes, it is clear that the European Parliament is the only European institution that can legitimately impose a European tax.
The national parliaments will never relinquish this power to a Council of Ministers, whether it votes unanimously or by a majority.
European Economic and Monetary Policy.
The whole mechanism of European taxes would be unworkable without giving competent European bodies broad and flexible powers that make it possible to guarantee free convertibility of currencies (pending the reaching of a single currency) and, in line with the Schuman plan, the free movement of capital, goods and labour.
Otherwise, a state would be able to devalue its currency at will, completely upsetting the Community’s budgetary estimates, or withdraw into autarchy, which would preclude the use of its economy in the interests of common defence.
The Report fails to tackle any of the monetary, credit and customs problems that are related to the establishment of a defence Community.
All the good intentions notwithstanding, the proposals made in the Report are inadequate for the purpose of creating a unified armed forces. If the Conference were to persist in developing this scheme, the contradictions would pile up and inevitably result in failure.
False or unattainable solutions would be set down on paper, and a transitional period would have to be established during which, in reality, everything would remain the same as before, and this transitional period would go on indefinitely.
A Constructive Solution.
The first part of this memorandum indicates the problems that the Conference must solve if it is to conclude in a positive manner. Nevertheless, we feel that it is worth setting out specifically the attitude that, in our view, should be adopted by a delegation that wants to act in such a way as to promote more effective and truer European unification.
The Conference should succeed in drafting a document to be sent to the governments. This document should be made up of five parts:
1. — Presentation of the problems that must be solved if the aim is to achieve unification of the European armed forces.
2. — A statement of its own lack of jurisdiction to solve these problems.
3. — Indication of the method to be adopted in order to solve them.
4. — Military measures to be taken in the event that the above-mentioned problems are effectively addressed and resolved.
5. — Interim measures.
Such is the weight of authority of the Conference that, were it to advance reasonable proposals, the governments would find it very difficult to avoid accepting them.
1. — Presentation of the Problems that Must be Solved to Achieve Unification of the European Armed Forces.
This part of the final document must contain a coherent analysis of the question of defence and the problems to which it gives rise.
It must therefore, first of all, reaffirm, against the trend in favour of maintaining the military status quo, that the defence of democratic Europe and the proper functioning of the Atlantic Pact demand the complete unification of the armed forces that defend land, sea and sky (a European army).
Therefore, it must be declared that:
a) the European army must be completely subordinated to a European state, in the sense that it owes it absolute loyalty, receives orders from it and is paid and equipped by it.
b) It is the European state that appoints the supreme commander of the European army and that decides, within the framework of the North Atlantic Pact commitments, the ways in which European troops should be made available to the Atlantic Commander.
c) First, the European state must be composed of a European government divided into various ministries, namely: a foreign ministry responsible for handling the affairs of the Community within the North Atlantic Pact and generally for managing relations with countries that are not part of the European Community; a finance ministry, responsible for collecting, in the various countries, the taxes established by the Community, and for distributing the revenues among the Community’s different activities; a ministry for general economic policy, responsible for taking the steps, in terms of unification and economic coordination, that prove to be necessary in order to make military unification possible and effective.
The total or partial transfer of these functions from the nation states to the European state implies the need for a complete set of constitutional rules.
d) Second, the European state must include among its institutions a parliament authorised to elect and control the actions of the government, and to approve, within the field of the functions transferred to the Community, the necessary laws, and to vote on the budget of the European state. Given the need to have, within the European Parliament, a body representing the peoples and one representing the states, the parliament will be composed of a chamber of representatives of the states and a chamber of representatives of the peoples.
It remains to be established what procedures should be used for setting up these chambers and what their specific competences should be.
e) Third, the European state must have a High Court of Justice to protect the rights of citizens, the Community and the member states.
Without properly establishing these organs, and without determining the corresponding portions of sovereignty that must be transferred from the nation states to the European federal state, it will not be possible to form the European army, other than as a set of auxiliary troops provided by weak and quarrelsome tributary states — as has already been extensively shown in the first part of this memorandum.
2. — Statement of the Conference’s Inability to Solve the Problems Related to Military Unification.
The armed forces do not represent a special sphere of activity of a sovereign state, but rather the very embodiment of its sovereignty. Unifying armed forces therefore means unifying the most important functions of sovereignty. The Conference, to accomplish its mandate, should draw up a document that amounts to nothing more, nor less, than the text of a European federal constitution.
However, while the Conference may come to understand the need to create a European state as a sine qua non condition for the creation of a European army, it cannot draw up the constitution.
First of all, it has not received a mandate to do so from the member states. Second, because of the way it is composed, it is equipped to tackle diplomatic and technical issues. And what we are faced with here is, above all, the need to make Europe’s constitutional laws.
3. — Indication of the Method to be Adopted.
Even the states most inclined to reach true unification will never be able, freely, to resolve to do so unless they have before them a text that clearly defines the European bodies, the powers to be transferred to them, and the relationships that will exist between the nation states and the new European state. This text will be a treaty or pact between the states until such time as they have ratified it, and it shall become the supreme constitutional law of the new state as from the moment in which it has been ratified and the envisaged bodies have been created.
The states, whilst reserving the right to decide whether or not ratify the pact, must therefore agree to set up an international body that has a full mandate to draw up a pact that contains the definition of the European state and that defines its functions.
This body cannot be anything other than a European federal constituent assembly that, strictly speaking, should be based on a direct vote by the citizens, but, for reasons of speed and convenience, may be elected by the parliaments, which are the custodians of popular sovereignty.
In order to found the American federal state, the Philadelphia Convention took four months to draw up its constitution. To found the German federal state, the German constituent assembly took six months.
If promptly convened, a European constituent assembly could draw up the text of a federal union pact in a similar period of time. Indeed, its task would not be to make the laws of the European Community, but to set up the organs that would subsequently be able to legislate.
The Conference on the European army may therefore make this proposal without having any concerns at all, because far from wasting time, it is actually a means of gaining time. The establishment of a European army will, in any case and without doubt, be a slower process than the establishment of the European political bodies.
While it is possible, pending the creation of a European political power, to start the process of creating a European army, as we have seen, this process cannot be completed without having first formed a European political power. The European constituent assembly thus represents the quickest way to establish the European army. Eminent jurists and politicians from different countries have already prepared a draft statute of the European constituent assembly that could be used as a working tool if it is desired to proceed rapidly with convening this assembly.
4. — Military Measures to be Taken in the Event that the Above-Mentioned Problems are Effectively Resolved.
The Conference may continue its work effectively only if the governments, accepting the proposal to convene the European constituent assembly, assign the Conference with the purely technical task of studying and proposing how military unification might be implemented, in the event of the European federal state being created.
Were it indeed to be assigned this task, the Conference would not have to concern itself with the political institutions and modalities that the existence of a European army implies (Commissioner, Council, Assembly, Court, their composition, their manner of voting, European finances, etc.). It should assume that the answers to these questions will be provided by the European constituent assembly, and focus instead on studying the technical procedures that would ensure the proper functioning of a European army. Issues such as language, the size of the combat units, the organisation of military commands, recruitment methods, education, military schools, and so on, are the Conference’s particular field of work. However, to be able to work effectively, the Conference should know, in advance, whether or not the states have decided to entrust to a more competent body the task of identifying and establishing the European political authority to which the European army would belong.
5. — Interim Measures.
The interim measures to cover the transition from the national armies to the European army canbe determined only according to the structure of the European state and thus upon the conclusion of the work of the European constituent assembly.
Until that time comes, there is only one serious issue, demanding interim measures, that the Conference needs to tackle, namely that of German rearmament.
All the countries other than Germany already have national armies that, for better or worse, are set within the framework of NATO. Until the European army and European state have been created, they will remain virtually as they are.
Germany, on the other hand, still does not have an army, and the Conference must come up with some proposals in this regard. Until such time as Europe has its own army and its own state, there are several possible courses of action:
a) Germany rebuilds an army of its own that is subsequently handed over, together with all the others, to the European state.
b) The North Atlantic Commander or a provisional European authority recruits German troops that are subsequently handed over to the European state, or, if this is not created, to the German state.
c) Germany remains disarmed until the formation of the European state and European army.
None of these three alternatives is particularly palatable. The second is perhaps the lesser evil, provided of course that no time is lost convening the constituent assembly. The first solution would exacerbate international diffidence and make it more difficult to arrive at the conclusion of the federal union pact. The third, which amounts to maintenance of the status quo, is becoming more untenable by the day.
The best solution would probably to keep Germany unarmed until a certain date (e.g. up to three months after the convening of the European constituent assembly) and begin international recruitment of German soldiers once the work of the constituent assembly has reached quite an advanced stage.
The Activity of the Italian Delegation.
The Report reveals that the attitude of the Italian delegation was characterised throughout by diffidence towards the question of military unification and by a tendency to defend sovereignty. This is particularly surprising when one considers that the Italian government has constantly claimed to be favourably disposed towards limitations of sovereignty on a reciprocal basis.
The Italian government is, justifiably, looking for a foreign policy that will ensure it some successes. A federalist approach offers the right solution to the diffidence on the part of the French and Germans, and it is supported by the United States. It therefore has great chances of success. To develop it, the head of the Italian delegation needs not only to be granted, by the government, a free hand to act in this sense, but also to surround himself with experts and advisers who understand the problems of federal unification, instead of officials who, faced with the problems of unification, are both incompetent and sceptical.
This is perhaps the first time since the end of the War that Italy has found itself with an opportunity to reconnect its foreign policy with the tradition of the Risorgimento, in other words to support the same principles of freedom and solidarity that guided the unification of our country.
It is to be hoped that the leader of the delegation realises that his role is not to carry out a routine administrative task, but rather to undertake an action whose success or failure could decree the salvation or decline of democratic Europe, and thus of the Italian Republic too.
Minutes of the meeting of the six foreign ministers
of the Conference on the European army
HELD IN STRASBOURG ON DECEMBER 11, 1951
Morning Session (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
1. — Agenda.
Schuman: Proposes an agenda based on a chronological criterion: i.e. first, examination of the problems relating to the creation of a European army (recruitment, incorporation of troops, appointments to ranks) and then those concerning its operation (budget, armament plans, allocation of external aid).
De Gasperi: Given the limited time available, considers that it would be preferable to eliminate all technical issues and focus instead on the more strictly political and important ones, in particular on the matter of the budget.
Schuman: Clarifies that it is, indeed, his intention to deal only with the political aspects of the various issues he indicated.
De Gasperi: Declares that he is willing to accept the proposed agenda in the light of this clarification, whilst recalling that the budget is, in his opinion, the fundamental question.
2. — Recruitment of European Troops.
Schuman: Notes that with regard to recruitment, two different situations must be considered: as regards Germany, it will be a case of recruiting troops ex novo, whereas for the other countries, it will instead be a case of incorporating, into the European army, troops that already exist. The proposals of the experts of the Paris Conference suggest that recruitment should be the task of the national authorities, carried out, however, under the supervision of the Commissioner, and in accordance with general rules applicable to all, established as an annex to the Treaty.
In answer to a question from Bech, specifies that the duration of military service would be the same for all, but that the member states would be free to decide on exemptions and other secondary rules.
In reply to Sticker, specifies that the Commissioner would be authorised to recruit directly in the different countries only after the establishment of a true European confederation.
After noting that there do not seem to be serious differences of opinion on the subject, concludes by saying that the principles set out above can be considered accepted.
Sticker: Asks whether the agreement on the length of military service must be reached unanimously.
Schuman: Points out that, since the length will be established in the Treaty or in a protocol, unanimity is obviously necessary. Nevertheless, it remains undecided whether unanimity is also required in order to establish subsequent changes to the length of service. The issue could be submitted to the experts for examination.
De Gasperi: While noting that an agreement seems to have been reached, recalls that the governments are not yet firmly committed on this point. A final decision may be taken only when the governments can examine the whole Treaty.
3. — Incorporation of the Troops.
Schuman: Reports that the committee of experts has proposed the complete incorporation of the national forces into the European army, with a few exceptions (see article 6 of the draft Treaty: colonial forces, police, occupying forces in Berlin and in Austria).
De Gasperi: Feels that there may be difficulties with regard to the occupying forces in Berlin and in Austria. Asks what would happen if the French troops in Berlin or in Austria were to be attacked. Would the Community then enter into war?
Schuman: Explains the reasons why it was deemed necessary, at the express request of Germany, to make the exceptions of Berlin and Austria and, moving on to talk about colonial troops, sets out France’s situation in Indochina, recalling that France needs to be able to guarantee replacements for contingents that suffer heavy losses there.
De Gasperi: Has no objection to the exception of the Indochina troops but raises the problem of the proportion between the quantity of these troops and the quantity made available to the European army. How many contingents would need to be reserved for such replacements in Indochina? Stresses that the question is important, particularly on a psychological level, because in this way France would, in fact, albeit for understandable reasons, get to keep a national army, unlike the other countries.
Schuman: Indicates that a reserve of two divisions is envisaged for Indochina.
Van Zeeland: In his view, an agreement could be possible on the following bases: all the contingents included and listed in the Treaty would be denoted European, while all the other contingents, including the police, the colonial troops and those used for international duties, would remain outside the European army.
Sticker: To avoid misunderstandings, notes that together with the police it would be necessary to include, contrary to what Schuman said, homeland defence forces.
Schuman: Feels that there is a considerable difference between his position and Van Zeeland’s. For Van Zeeland it is a question of establishing, in the Treaty, which contingents are included in the European army; for him, on the other hand, it is a question of establishing which are excluded. In both cases, it can be presumed that all that is not specifically mentioned is, respectively, excluded or included. In the first case, this presumption would work in favour of the nations and in the second case in Europe’s favour.
Van Zeeland: Acknowledges that his proposal is a compromise between the arguments presented and, therefore, the Treaty will list both the contingents included in the European army and those that are to remain national. For example, the anti-parachute and internal defence forces will bespecifically indicated as having a national character.
Adenauer: Agrees with Schuman. If Van Zeeland’s line were followed, the political design of the European Community would disappear.
Van Zeeland:Is willing to forgo the criterion of presumption, to which Schuman alluded, in both on on side and on the other, in other words, there will be no presumption either in favour of the national armies or in favour of the European army.Proposes, therefore, that the experts draw up a complete and exhaustive list of the European forces and the national forces.
Adenauer: Hesitates to accept Van Zeeland’s proposal. It would be detrimental to European integration and would weaken the European idea. And if new forces (e.g. atomic forces) were to be created, it would not be known which category they should be put in.
Schuman: Despite there being two quite different positions, considers that a common solution may be reached. Proposes, and the other ministers accept, that a text should be drawn up by the experts in which the points of agreement and disagreement are recorded.
4. — Ranking (Appointment of Officials).
Van Zeeland: Sets out the Belgian position as follows: the basic rules for appointments and advancements within the European army must be common. However, within homogeneous national groups, these rules must be applied in accordance with national constitutions and by national bodies; i.e. accepts that officers within the European forces should be appointed by the Commissioner, but states that this should not be the case for national divisions, as this would go against the Belgian Constitution.
Adenauer: Cannot accept Van Zeeland’s view which seems incompatible with the European character of the Community. The only possible exception is the monarch’s guard.
Sticker and Bech: Align with Van Zeeland’s position.
De Gasperi: Remarks that every issue that arises also raises the basic problem, i.e. the fact that the creation of a European army is not possible without altering basic laws of the member states and without resolving the fundamental political question: the character of the Community.
Schuman: Sets out a transnational proposal from France: in the countries that are monarchies, appointments would be made by the national authorities on the proposal of the Commissioner; the reverse would happen in the republics, where appointments would be made by the Commissioner in agreement with the national authorities. The system would be temporary, pending the establishment of further, federative formulas.
Adds that care would need to be taken to ensure that the final text did not show embarrassing differences between the situation of the monarchies and the republics.
Is convinced that an agreement can be reached.
De Gasperi: Points out that this is not an easy issue for the republics either, as there is a risk that a republic might be made to seem to defend the national character less well than a monarchy. The problem is particularly serious in the case of republics that do not have ancient traditions.
Adenauer: Expresses support for De Gasperi and asks to what extent, in Schuman’s proposal, each of the two parties would be obliged to confirm the appointment proposed by the other party.
Schuman: Judges that in both cases there would have to be agreement. In other words, both the Commissioner and the national authorities would have a right of veto.
Van Zeeland, Sticker and Bech: Accept Schuman’s proposal, which represents the very most they are prepared to concede.
Schuman: Notes that an agreement has been outlined and shall instruct the experts to draw up a text.
5. — Education.
Schuman: Is of the opinion that education in the army should be based on common principles, and moreover should be organised in a European framework and under the control of the Commissioner. Knows, however, that on this point, some delegations have expressed reservations.
Van Zeeland: States that, in the Community, the essential goals must be common to all, but that the creation and application of the general rules should remain the remit of national authorities, albeit leaving the Commissioner rights of inspection and control. Believes, therefore, that the first phase of military education should continue to be national, and that in the second phase there must be common European schools. The European spirit must not suppress the national spirit.
De Gasperi: Notes that it is difficult to make a decision on this subject when the role of Commissioner is still to be defined.
Sticker: Presses for acceptance of a solution along the lines of Van Zeeland’s proposal.
Schuman: Shall instruct the experts to try and draw up a text.
Afternoon Session (3 p.m. – 8 p.m.)
6. — Powers of the Commissioner and Fundamental Political Question.
De Gasperi: Italy is ready to transfer extensive powers to a European Community provided that it is democratically organised in such a way as to offer guarantees of being able to thrive and develop.Does not deny that there may be a transitional period, but considers it necessary that when the Treaty is presented to the parliaments, the will to create common political institutions, able to ensure the life of the organisation, must already have been plainly stated. Recognises that an integrated Europe will not immediately manage to have a political organisation, but deems that there has to be, from the outset, the certainty that this organisation will, at a given point, come into being. If the entire army is to be transferred to a European power, the parliaments and the peoples need to know how this power will be organised, how will it handle its functions, and how it will be controlled.
For this reason, considers the presence of an Assembly within the European structure to be essential; there needs to be a representative body in the European Community, and this may even be formed through the delegation of powers by the national parliaments.
The European executive, which he believes should be collegial, would be accountable to this European representative body. The executive body should have a president, to be named Commissioner or otherwise. (The word Commissioner may not be readily accepted by Italians because it is a term that recalls the police authorities, or by Germans because it recalls the high commissioners of the occupation). This name is a secondary issue, however; the important thing is that what is envisaged is a commissariat and not a single specific individual. In this collegial body, the presidency, for example, could be held by rotation.
Understands that the creation of a representative Assembly could cause some concern among the smaller countries, whose representation would inevitably be limited, although this may find a remedy in the Council of Ministers, wherein each country would have equal representation, as in a council of states.
Then there is the matter of creating the European army. In the North Atlantic Pact there is, in theory at least, no automatism. With regard to the European army, it would be necessary, in determining the powers of the assembly and the Council of States, to find a formula that allows these organs to be consulted.
In any case, to succeed it is necessary to create something that is attractive to European youth; to launch an appeal to which young people can respond. How can the transfer of such important parts of national sovereignty to common organs be justified without, at the same time, giving the people the hope of realising new ideas? This is the only way to fight resurgent nationalism.
Schuman: While substantially in agreement, contends that De Gasperi’s comments concern a later stage. Today, it is necessary to restrict the examination to what needs to be done immediately.
De Gasperi: Fears that there has been a misunderstanding and that he has failed to express himself clearly. In order to present the Treaty to the parliaments it is necessary not only to say what will be done during the transitory stage, but also to state the goal that it is desired to pursue and that must be reached, albeit without going into detail. It is therefore indispensable to establish, in the Treaty, several principles or general idea. This may be done in just few lines, as long as they are clear and binding. Moreover, it is not difficult to rapidly create an Assembly made up of delegates of national parliaments; this Assembly, however, must have real and clearly defined powers.
It is not with the intention of delaying the conclusion of the Treaty that he demands this. One need only think of the considerable danger to which Italy is exposed on account of its geographical position to understand that, for the Italian part, there can certainly be no question of wanting to employ delaying tactics in the organisation of defence. Considers it necessary, however, that the European Defence Community amount to something more than that which has already been established in NATO, otherwise it would be useless and ineffective.
There is at this point a digression on the automatism question following an interjection by Van Zeeland, who says that he is prepared to accept within the European Community the automatism which is not provided for within NATO.
Sticker: Is somewhat unsure about accepting Van Zeeland’s proposal. Feels that the problem of setting the European Defence Community in motion must be decided in agreement with NATO and therefore cannot be resolved in the present setting.
Schuman: Notes that there are two aspects to the automatism problem: first, as it relates to the European Community — and in his view among the Six the automatism system must be adopted —, and second as it relates to NATO. A reciprocal automatism could perhaps be established between NATO and the European Community, but this is a problem to be resolved with NATO.
At this point the discussion returns to the subject of the general political problem.
Schuman: Has no difficulty outlining, even now, the future political institutions that will characterise the definitive stage of the Community, but recalls that some common organs need to be created immediately, to address the urgent problem of the organisation of the Community. Takes the view that, in the immediate term, the European Community could not be headed by the Council of Ministers, which seems to be the Belgian view, because only a Commissioner could guarantee the rapid and streamlined management that is required.
De Gasperi: Insists that it must be established immediately what the representative bodies in the definitive period will be. Only having established this will it be possible to go on to work out those for the interim period.
Schuman: Proposes that the task of designing the definitive institutions should be left to the experts.
Sticker: Refuses to make a decision today on the question of the definitive institutions. The experts at the Paris Conference have, as yet, not received any instructions on this matter and the problem has not been discussed at all.
De Gasperi: Recalls that the Italian delegation in Paris advanced concrete proposals in a memorandum dated 9 October. The issue, therefore, is not a new one. It was discussed at the Paris Conference, but not resolved.
Adenauer: Agrees that the issue of the definitive institutions was, indeed, raised and discussed in Paris.
Schuman: Appreciates De Gasperi’s wishes and would not be opposed to the Treaty affirming the will to reach a politically organised Europe, possibly with an elected assembly, a second chamber and an executive. But today it is necessary to focus on the immediate problems, first and foremost that of the budget (how, while there is no European political union, a common army might be financed).
The ministers, while not abandoning their discussion of the basic political problem, turn their attention to the budget.
Alphand: Sets out the situation as regards the work of the experts on this subject, drawing attention in particular to the latest French proposal.
Van Zeeland: Stating that the common budget must be limited (i.e. cover only a set of certain, truly common, expenses), expresses the view that it should be prepared by the Commissioner and approved unanimously by the Council of Ministers. As regards a possible intervention on the part of the Assembly in approving the budget, is not really in favour, but is prepared to accept it, on condition that the Assembly can only make recommendations.
In general, can accept the proposal made by the Dutch experts at the Paris Conference. Adds, as a concession to the French position, that the divisions, once they have been equipped by the national budget, should — at this point being ready —, be transferred to the Community and thus gradually brought under the common budget.
Sticker: Agrees with Van Zeeland, specifying that the above refers to a transitional period that should automatically come to an end upon the expiry of the medium-term programme.
Schuman: Again raises the doubt that a common army can be operated in the absence of a common budget.
Adenauer: Agrees with Schuman. A common fund is necessary above all for Germany, which will have to spend forty-eight billion marks to equip its twelve divisions. Remarks that this is clearly impossible without American aid, but believes that the United States would more readily give aid for a common fund than to single countries.
Schuman: Raises the issue of armament plans in relation to the common budget. Within NATO it has not proved possible to achieve standardisation. This might be achieved within the European Community, but only if there is a common budget and only if the Commissioner has, albeit through the intervention of the Council, the power to outline these plans and to oblige the member countries to implement them.
Sticker: Points out that each country has already established national armament plans: their modification by the Commissioner would be detrimental. Moreover, the national authorities are essential for the execution of the said plans.
De Gasperi: Proposes that the consultation should be extended to the defence ministers.
Schuman: Recognises that this is a political and financial problem on the one hand and a technical and military one on the other. It is therefore appropriate that both the aforementioned ministers be consulted.
Van Zeeland: Retuning to the question of the budget, states that the system of a single and totalitarian budget may be adopted only at the end of the transitory period. As regards the transitory period, feels that there is not a huge difference between the French and Dutch proposals. More than anything it is a question of establishing by common accord the extent to which national authorities may intervene in the execution of the armament plans. This is a question that could be examined by the experts.
De Gasperi: Remarks that it must be quite clear that the problem is solely that of thebudget during the transitional period, but fears that the transitional would be likely to develop into the virtually definitive. Asks, therefore, that the experts be clearly instructed to give substance to the formulas already provided for by art. 7 H of the draft Treaty on the powers of the Assembly. This would eliminate the dubious and problematic character that the transitory period would otherwise have.
Adenauer: Agrees that the fundamental principles referred to by De Gasperi must be formulated without delay.
Schuman: Whilst reaffirming his attachment to the European idea, does not feel that on such a serious topic it is possible, in the present session, to specify instructions for the experts.
De Gasperi: Finds the opposition to his idea surprising. All have expressed support for the idea of European political integration, but the delegations’ subsequent attitudes suggest that, in reality, there is a desire to establish the provisional as the definitive.
Sticker: Warns that the above would be dangerous as it could give rise to unfounded illusions about the possibility of a rapid European integration.
De Gasperi: Proposes a text in which, taking up and modifying somewhat Article 7 H of the draft Treaty, instructions are given to the experts to study and respond promptly on the ways in which, in the definitive period, a representative Assembly should be created and on the powers it should have, especially with regard to the voting and control of the budget and the creation of European taxes.
Schuman: Is reluctant to accept the proposal. What De Gasperi is demanding would entail changes to the French Constitution. He cannot commit himself at present.
De Gasperi: Is sure that in France, too, the Treaty on the European army would be more readily accepted by the national parliament if it envisaged a federated organisation. If the proposed text regarding the instructions to the experts cannot be accepted, deems it essential that Article 7 H of the draft Treaty be duly strengthened.
Adenauer: Supports de Gasperi but fears that experts will not be able to draw up proposals by February 2, as would be necessary. This work could be done by the provisional Assembly of the organisation, establishing a reasonable deadline for its work.
De Gasperi: Strongly reaffirms that, at the very least, it is indispensable that, in the evolution of the Community, the presence of a representative Assembly be clearly visible.
Evening Session (10 p.m. – 1 a.m.)
During the break, the experts prepared texts on the topics covered in previous sessions, as instructed by the president, Schuman.
Alphand: Reads the agreed text on recruitment. The text reads as follows: “Le recrutement sera effectué par les organisations nationales sous le contrôle du Commissaire et en application des règles communes établies dans un protocole annexe au Traité. En particulier la durée uniforme du service devra être fixée dans le protocole. Dans la mesure où le protocole le permettra les gouvernements et les Parlements nationaux resteront libres d’établir certaines dispositions particulières (par exemple en matière de sanctions). Ces principes sont sujets à adaptation le jour où il aura été crée une organisation confédérale entre les Etats membres. Les experts devront étudier la question de la modification éventuelle du protocole annexe notamment sur les points de la durée du service”.
Bech: Expresses some difficulty accepting that the duration of military service should be uniform, i.e. the same for everyone.
Sticker: Recalls that, going by what was saidduring the morningon thedurationof service, the decisionmust be unanimous. Given thatitwill be insertedina protocol, even its possible modificationmust be decidedunanimously.
Adenauer: Believes that uniformity of the duration of service is an essential and fundamental point.
Bech: Is under the impression that the agreementsof themorning weredifferent and that exceptions had been established.
Schuman: Acknowledges that the duration of service should differ according to the category, and proposes, to satisfy Bech, an amendment.
The six ministers agree to amend the above text by adding the words: “pour chaque catégorie d’armes” to the last line in paragraph I, which is thus modified as follows: “En particulier la durée uniforme du service, pour chaque catégorie d’armes, devra être fixée dans le protocole”.
Alphand: Reads the agreed text on the appointment of officials: “Atitre provisoire une formule transactionnelle sur la nomination des officiers est établie.Il est convenu que les grades dans les unités de nationalité homogène des forces européennes de défense sont conférés: par décision du Commissaire, sur proposition des autorités nationales, en ce qui concerne le personnel d’origine allemande, française, italienne; sur recommandation du Commissaire, transmise aux autorités nationales, en ce qui concerne le personnel d’origine belge, luxembourgeoise et néerlandaise. Il est entendu que les autorités nationales et le Commissaire ont le droit de veto. Les Ministres des affaires étrangères doivent toutefois réserver la position de leurs gouvernements au sujet de l’acceptation de cette formule transactionnelle. Les grades supérieurs à ceux de commandant d’unité de base de nationalité homogène, sont conférés par décision du Commissaire dans les conditions de l’art. 33. Les emplois sont conférés par décision du Commissaire”.
The text is approved.
Alphand: Reads the agreed text on the incorporation of the troops. (The text is supplementary to what is established in art. 6 of the draft Treaty). “1) Ajouter parmi les forces demeurant nationales: a) les troupes servant à la garde personnelle des Chefs d’Etat, b) les gendarmeries nationales; 2) indiquer dans un protocole annexe qu’à titre provisoire et jusqu’à une date fixée d’un commun accord par les gouvernements des Etats membres, des forces armées nationales pourront être recrutées et entretenues par le Royaume de Belgique jusqu’à concurrence de deux régiments”.
Van Zeeland: At the request of Adenauer explains that Belgium needs to keep two regiments for special security services internally and, again at the request of Adenauer, specifies that the retention of two national regiments will not prevent Belgium from supplying the European army with the quotas established in the Treaty.
Adenauer: Points out the difficulty that would derive from reserving special treatment for Belgium, while leaving Germany without any national forces at all.
De Gasperi: Remarks that Van Zeeland’s request would also constitute a difficulty for Italy, where local defence and the maintenance of security are an even more serious problem than they are in Belgium.
Sticker: Recalls that there are three categories of forces – anti-aircraft forces, internal security forces and naval forces – that are not available to the SHAPE and whose situation, as regards their position in the European army is still uncertain.
Adenauer: Considers this to compound the Belgian request: were the problems indicated by Sticker be resolved,Belgium, in addition to the two regiments already mentioned, could go on to claim that other contingents should remain national. Were Belgium to insist in this claim, Germany, in order to preserve the ratio between what is transferred to the European army and what remains national, should demand to retain twelve regiments at the disposal of the federal government. Points out that is a serious issue also because of its psychological repercussions.
De Gasperi: Concludes that the Belgian formula as presented in the text under discussion is barely acceptable, but thinks that the experts will manage to find another that, substantially satisfying Belgium, will not create problems of form for the other countries.
Schuman: Has to note that, for the moment, it is not possible to reach an agreement on the proposed text, but hopes that an agreement will be reached after a more detailed examination of the question, as indicated by De Gasperi.
7. – Powers of the Assembly.
Schuman: Returns to the question of the powers of the Assembly. States that, during the break between sessions, he realised the need to meet De Gasperi’s demands. To this end, proposes the adoption of a new wording of Art. 7 H of the draft Treaty, hoping that it will meet with the approval of both De Gasperi and the other ministers.
Alphad: Reads the following text: “L’Assemblée étudie, pendant la période transitoire: a) la constitution d’une Assemblée de la Communauté européenne de défense, spécialement élue sur la base du suffrage universel; b) les pouvoirs qui seraient dévolus à une telle Assemblée, y compris celui de voter des impôts de la Communauté; c) les modifications qui devraient éventuellement être apportées aux dispositions du Traité relatives aux autres institutions de la Communauté, notamment en vue de sauvegarder une représentation appropriée des Etats.
Dans ses études, l’Assemblée s’inspirera des principes suivants: l’organisation de caractère définitif qui prendra la place de la présente organisation provisoire devra avoir une structure confédérale. Elle devra comprendre notamment une Assemblée bicamérale et un pouvoir exécutif. Les propositions de l’Assemblée à cet égard seront soumises au Conseil. Avec l’avis du Conseil, ces propositions seront ensuite transmises par le président de l’Assemblée aux gouvernements des Etats membres”.
Sticker: Strongly refuses to approve a text of which, until this point, he had no knowledge.
Schuman: Says he was struck by what De Gasperi told him, namely that De Gasperi would have very serious difficulty getting the Treaty accepted by his parliament unless it included a commitment of the kind embodied by the proposed text. Asks Sticker whether the inclusion of such a text in the Treaty would create difficulties for him vis-à-vis his parliament.
Sticker: Says he has no problems of this kind: the Dutch Parliament is driven by vital pro-European sentiments. But it seems to him unfair to request approval of a text that has been sprung as a surprise. Is willing to concede only that the text be passed to the experts for examination.
De Gasperi: Rejects Sticker’s objection. It is not his intention to take anyone by surprise. On the contrary, he has raised the issue in question from the start of the meeting and has not failed to raise it again each time, in the course of the discussion, it has recurred in connection with other topics (in reality all of them). He made a proposal earlier, to give the experts certain mandatory instructions, a proposal that he dropped after Adenauer remarked that the experts could not complete the work by 2 February. Now feels he must insist. The text in question is the least he is asking; trusts that he will not now be told that it is too late in the evening and Van Zeeland has a train to catch. The problem is of fundamental importance. If he stays, or is prepared to stay until tomorrow, it is because it is absolutely necessary to arrive at an agreed formula. Should a formula of the kind proposed, which for him is already too weak, fail to be accepted, then there is, in his view, much reason to be fearful. It would be bitterly disappointing to conclude in this manner and sincerely hopes that his colleagues will allow him to continue to hope that an agreement might be reached.
Bech (clearly under orders from Sticker): Says he agrees with Sticker. Observes that, moreover, the text is unclear and raises a thousand questions; for example, what it meant by universal suffrage?
Van Zeeland (after De Gasperi’s intervention, has decided not to leave declaring that he has now missed his train): Despite having some doubts, wishes to make an effort to mitigate De Gasperi’s feelings of bitterness. Proposes accepting the text, although not as a final text, while giving instructions to the experts to review it taking into account the comments of Sticker and Bech.
De Gasperi: Is absolutely unable to accept this. Having amended his initial proposals (those regarding the mandatory instructions for the experts) in order to take into account his colleagues’ observations, now finds that Sticker and Bech are reproaching him for the very concessions he made.
If there are difficulties over the reference to “universal suffrage”, is ready to agree to its deletion from the text.
Is amazed that, after hearing everyone speak out in favour of a European confederation, so many difficulties should now arise over such a weak text. The objections that have been raised make him truly doubt that it will be possible to achieve something constructive. Urges his colleagues not to put him in a position in which he is obliged to withdraw the consent he has given to the on texts approved previously, warning that it must be clearly understood that this consent was conditional.
Schuman: Proposes an amended text which reads as follows: “L’Assemblée étudie pendant la période transitoire: a) la constitution d’une Assemblée de la Communauté européenne de défense spécialement élue sur une base démocratique; b) les pouvoirs qui seraient dévolus à une telle Assemblée; c) les modifications qui devraient éventuellement être apportées aux dispositions du Traité relatives aux autres institutions de la Communauté, notamment en vue de sauvegarder une représentation appropriée des Etats. Dans ces études l’Assemblée s’inspirera des principes suivants: l’organisation de caractère définitif qui prendra la place de la présente organisation provisoire devrait avoir une structure fédérale ou confédérale… (the rest of the text is unchanged).”
Sticker: Fears that the Conference has taken a turn for the worse: De Gasperi has talked of feeling bitter and hinted at the possibility of a split. In truth the only thing dividing everyone is whether they must approve the text now or first have it examined by the experts. He is tired; it has been a long night. Requests a few minutes for reflection.
Schuman: With a few conciliatory words, acknowledges the difficulty of the discussion and the difficulties deriving from the fact that everyone is extremely tired.
De Gasperi: Is certain that Sticker is driven by the desire to reach an agreement, but simply wishes to remind him and his colleagues that this is the kind of passing opportunity that is lost if it is not seized. States that he feels the full weight of the responsibility of the moment and is sure that the others feel it too.
Bech: Declares that he is willing to adopt the amended text as proposed by Schuman.
Sticker: Thanks De Gasperi for his words and, while declaring that he is not happy with the proposed text, accepts it to show his good will.
Schuman: Welcoming the agreement that has been reached on his conciliation text, closes the meeting remarking that various issues remain unresolved, including the very basic one of the budget. Thus proposes that, as soon as possible, there should be a further meeting of the foreign ministers, possibly together with the finance and defence ministers.
The ministers, after a discussion, agree that the said meeting shall take place in Paris on December 27, 28 and 29 (possibly also December 30); at the beginning the meeting will also see the participation of the finance ministers and subsequently, separately, the defence ministers.
RESOLUTION ADOPTEE LE 10 SEPTEMBRE 1952 A LUXEMBOURG
PAR LES SIX MINISTRES DES AFFAIRES ETRANGERES
Considérant que l’objectif final des six gouvernements a été et demeure d’aboutir à la constitution d’une Communauté politique européenne aussi étendue que possible;
Constatant que, à la demande du gouvernement italien, a été inséré dans le Traité instituant une Communauté européenne de défense et signé le 27 mai 1952, un article 38 qui a pour objet de confier à l’Assemblée de ladite Communauté l’étude de la constitution d’une nouvelle Assemblée élue sur une base démocratique de manière à pouvoir constituer un des éléments d’une structure fédérale ou confédérale ultérieure, fondée sur le principe de la séparation de pouvoirs et comportant, en particulier, un système représentatif bicaméral;
Rappelant que dans sa résolution n. 14, adoptée le 30 mai 1952, l’Assemblée consultative du Conseil de l’Europe a demandé que les gouvernements des Etats membres de la Communauté européenne de défense fassent choix, en tenant compte de la procédure la plus rapide, de l’Assemblée qui serait chargée d’élaborer le statut d’une Communauté politique de caractère supranational, ouverte à tous les Etats membres du Conseil de l’Europe, et offrant des possibilités d’associations à ceux de ces Etats qui n’adhéreraient pas à cette Communauté;
Conscients que la constitution d’une Communauté politique européenne de structure fédérale ou confédérale est liée à l’établissement de bases communes de développement économique et à une fusion des intérêts essentiels des Etats membres;
Les six Ministres des affaires étrangères de la Communauté du charbon et de l’acier, réunis à Luxembourg le 10 septembre 1952, ont pris la décision suivante, qui tient compte des considérations précédentes ainsi que de leur désir de hâter l’étude du projet envisagé, en lui assurant le maximum d’autorité:
A. — Les membres de l’Assemblée charbon-acier sont invités, en s’inspirant des principes de l’article 38 du Traité instituant la Communauté européenne de défense et sans préjudice des dispositions de ce Traité, à élaborer un projet de Traité instituant une Communauté politique européenne. A cet effet, les membres de l’Assemblée, groupés par délégations nationales, désigneront par cooptation, parmi les déléguées de l’Assemblée consultative qui ne sont pas déjà membres de l’Assemblée charbon-acier, autant de membres supplémentaires qu’il sera nécessaire pour que soit atteint un effectif égal à celui prévu pour chaque pays à l’Assemblée de la Communauté européenne de défense;
B. — L’Assemblée ainsi composée et complétée à cette fin se réunira en séances plénières au siège du Conseil de l’Europe. Elle pourra également se réunir en séances de commission.
Elle déterminera les conditions dans lesquelles des représentants d’autres pays, et notamment de ceux qui sont membres du Conseil de l’Europe, pourront être associés à ces travaux en qualité d’observateurs.
Elle fera périodiquement rapport à l’Assemblée consultative sur l’état et l’avancement de ces travaux.
C. — Les Ministres des affaires étrangères réunis dans le Conseil de la Communauté européenne du charbon et de l’acier seront associés aux travaux de l’Assemblée dans les conditions qui seront fixées d’un commun accord.
Afin de faciliter ces travaux, ils formuleront des questions qui seront soumises à l’Assemblée et qui porteront sur des sujets tels que: les domaines dans lesquels les institutions de la Communauté politique européenne exerceront leur compétence; les mesures nécessaires pour assurer une fusion des intérêts des Etats membres dans ces domaines; les pouvoirs à attribuer à ces institutions.
Les Ministres feront périodiquement rapport au Comité des ministres du Conseil de l’Europe;
D. — Dans un délai de six mois, à dater de la convocation de l’Assemblée charbon-acier, c’est-à-dire le 10 mars 1953, les résultats des études prévues ci-dessus seront communiqués à l’Assemblée de la Communauté européenne de défense, chargée des taches visées à l’article 38 du Traité instituant la Communauté européenne de défense, ainsi qu’aux Ministres des affaires étrangères des six pays;
E. — Les gouvernements déclarent expressément s’inspirer des propositions du gouvernement britannique qui tendent à l’établissement de liens aussi étroits que possible entre la future Communauté politique et le Conseil de l’Europe.
C’est à cet effet que l’élaboration du statut de cette Communauté devra être entreprise et poursuivie en liaison permanente avec les organismes du Conseil de l’Europe.
F. — L’Assemblée consultative du Conseil de l’Europe sera informée de la décision qui précède;
G. — La procédure prévue ci-dessus ne préjuge en rien le Traité instituant la Communauté européenne de défense.
*These documents, together with the introductory remarks and commentary by Mario Albertini, were originally circulated within the MFE in November 1974, and published in Il Federalista, 19, n. 1 (1977) ahead of the first European elections. The Federalist is proposing them again here as a tribute to Alcide De Gasperi and his European action in the year of the 60th anniversary of his death. With the issue of the founding of a European state, through the creation of tax, economic and political unions for the eurozone, once again on the table, their re-publication is also meant to serve as a reminder to the Italian government, during its six-month presidency of the European Union, of the role that Italy has played in the process of European unification and of its capacity in the past — a capacity it could again show today — to advance the federal option at crucial moments.
 See JacquesFauvet, Naissance et mort d’un Traité, in La querelle de la CED, edited by Raymond Aron and Daniel Lerner, Paris, Armand Colin, 1956, pp. 29 and 57. It must also be recalled, contrary to the assertion that the EDC collapsed because it was too advanced a European project, that on February 19, 1952, the French National Assembly — the same one that voted on August 30, 1954 — had approved, by 327 votes to 287, the principle of the European army, setting entirely reasonable conditions that had already found, or were about to find, solutions (British and US guarantees, military integration at the lowest possible level, subordination of the European army to a “supranational political power”, and so on).
 Camillo Cavour, Lettere edite e inedite, edited by Luigi Chiala, Turin, L. Roux e C., 1884, vol. II, p. 429.
 This is what the most serious economists now say. See, for example, Giorgio Fuà, Occupazione e capacità produttive: la realtà italiana, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1976, p. 84.
 This is the progressive series of decisions produced at the time of the EDC, whose consequences would indeed have led, had it not been for the defeat of August 30,1954, to the electoral mobilisation of the European people with a view to completion of the work of the constituent assembly. This is what was formally established by the last official texts, some using almost the same terms as the present author. For example, the Italian bill for the ratification of the EDC Treaty read: “Finally, attention is drawn to the competence that Art. 38 confers on the Assembly within what may be defined a European preconstituent function” (Acts of Parliament, Chamber of Deputies, bill no. 3077, session of December 13, 1952. The italics appear in the original text).
 For the sake of simplicity, the term “European army” is used to denote the European land, sea and air armed forces; only when expressly stated does the term refer specifically to land forces.