Europe; drawing by David Levine

Four of the nine books here under review have for their subject the present state of what is usually called the Atlantic Alliance; four are centered on Western Europe; one tries (rather unsuccessfully) to come to grips with East-West relations and the Soviet sphere. If one likes one can treat this division as a rough guide to the current state of public opinion, though a continental European would probably give more weight to West European integration, and less to trans-Atlantic repercussions. But the term “European” already introduces a sizeable bone of contention. Who belongs to Europe and who doesn’t? Are the British part of it in any sense except the obvious one of geography? Do their Commonwealth ties mean more to them than their proximity to the Continent? Is there in fact, as there certainly is in rhetoric, an Anglo-American world? For that matter, what part does rhetoric play in determining these alignments?

If we knew the approximate answers to these questions, we might be better able to judge the long-term significance of political rifts such as that introduced by last year’s blocking of the British application to enter the Common Market. Was this just a temporary hitch, or has it deflected the current of history (supposing there to be such a water) into different channels? It certainly was not ordained, since it represented the outcome of a political crisis which might have gone the other way. But chance events may have lasting consequences. The manner in which Bismarck unified Germany left its mark on the national consciousness. Just conceivably the newly emerging Western Europe may come to bear the Gaullist stamp. If it does, the crisis of January 1963 will be seen in retrospect to have determined the political character of whatever common institutions the West Europeans manage to set up over the coming decade. Again, the British may decide, so far as in them lies, to turn their backs on the Continent. If they do, it is going to take more than economic logic to draw them back. (The economic argument anyhow is by no means compelling.)

Mr. Kleiman, who was stationed in Europe as a correspondent for over fifteen years and is now on the editorial staff of The New York Times, attends to the political side of the matter. As a good reporter should, he sticks closely to the facts, including some of the less publicized ones, such as the virtual breakdown in Anglo-French relations which occurred during the final Macmillan-de Gaulle meeting in December 1962: one month before the General rang the curtain down on Britain’s attempt to join the Six. The public was never told very clearly what happened when de Gaulle and Macmillan met at Rambouillet. Silence was preserved, so far as the British were concerned, for good reason, since the incident cast a new light on the British Government’s tortuous approach to “Europe.” As Mr. Kleiman rightly says, it was not the Polaris deal at Nassau, later in December, that decided de Gaulle to block Britain’s entry: Nassau only confirmed him in his resolution and provided him with a convenient excuse. The hardening in his attitude had occurred earlier and was due to a growing conviction that the British were determined to preserve their “special relationship” (read: nuclear partnership) with the USA at all cost—to the point of actively discouraging the sharing of America’s nuclear arsenal with France. On top of his, London was plainly trying to gang up with the other Five against France in economic matters, and there was more than a suspicion in the minds of the European bureaucrats at Brussels that Britain’s entry would mean the wrecking of the complicated farm compromise which had been worked out, at great cost to everyone’s nerves, during the preceding year. All this together proved a bit too much, and so the British found the door shut in their faces when de Gaulle, in January 1963, took his calculated gamble. Just as he had foreseen, France’s partners, after a brief flurry of indignation and a few months of well-advertised sulking, made the best of it and went on with the cementing of the Common Market. The only people to be really surprised were the doctrinaires in Washington and London, whose enthusiasm for a vast Atlantic free-trade area had led them to overlook the fact that the “inward-looking” Europeans had problems of their own.

Mr. Kleiman is very good on the circumstances of the breakdown, and on the reason why the Kennedy Administration missed the boat during those weeks. He makes the point that President Kennedy “could not bring himself to terminate the special U.S.-British relationship, nor to extend it completely either to France or to the new Europe.” Polaris, he thinks, should have been offered to Europe, not to Britain: “Europe” in this context signifying a joint Anglo-French effort. Perhaps the chance will recur, in which case one may suppose that the same mistake won’t be made twice. There is of course an excuse for the US policy-makers: any French government but a Gaullist one would probably have caved in. But then the Fourth Republic was overthrown, and the Fifth installed, partly because the French were tired of weak governments which trailed obediently behind London and Washington. It may be a misfortune that so many Americans take their view of France from the British press. During the long months of the Brussels negotiations only the weekly Statist (whose Paris correspondent was in touch with Gaullist quarters) correctly predicted the final outcome. The others—with the renowned Economist in the lead—consistently misled their readers until the day when the roof finally fell in. The Observer—a Sunday journal I have always regarded as the concentrated essence of silliness—was particularly effective in confusing its numerous clientèle on both sides of the Atlantic. Many of them still haven’t recovered from the shock they suffered, and now revenge themselves by pretending that Europe doesn’t exist.


It does, though. This is the moral of Mr. Ronald Steele’s brief but brilliant essay, and of the rather more academic study published by Professor Frank Munk, Mr. Steele, a former U S Foreign Service officer, has first-hand knowledge of Europe, and is making a name for himself as a political commentator. He belongs to the “realistic” school, fathered by Walter Lippmann, which believes neither in the permanence of the Soviet-American antagonism, nor in the need for an American nuclear monopoly. This last, as he observes, is Pentagon doctrine and goes together with the notion that the Europeans should be encouraged to build larger land armies so as to be able to fight a “conventional” war if the need arises. Such a strategy confirms European suspicions about being regarded as expendable, and thus undercuts Washington’s effort to isolate France. It also renders questionable the often-heard assurance that Europe needs no nuclear arms so long as the US “deterrent” is adequate, for on this supposition there is no need for larger conventional forces either. If Washington envisages the possibility of “limited” war, does this not mean that it reserves for itself the right to decide when (or whether) the “deterrent” should be brought into operation? At best this offers Europe the prospect of being occupied by the Russians and then devastated by US nuclear bombs. Mr. Steele quotes de Gaulle’s remark on the subject (“It is possible to imagine that on some awful day western Europe should be wiped out from Moscow and eastern Europe from Washington. And who can say that the two rivals, after I know not what political and social upheaval, will not unite?”), and suggests that these fears are not unreasonable.

So far as European union is concerned, Mr. Steele is sympathetic to the argument that Britain can get into Europe only if she is willing to take the plunge, with all that this implies, including the surrender of nuclear sovereignty. Unlike many of his countrymen, he is not alarmed at the thought of a unified Europe with its own nuclear arsenal—perhaps because he thinks that the United States is already moving toward a “Fortress America” position: “The prerequisites for nuclear disengagement from Europe have now been laid: the closing of overseas bases, the downgrading of battlefield atomic weapons, the discouragement of national nuclear arsenals, and the demand for a large European conventional army.” It only remains to retire the American ground forces and “disengagement” will be complete, though the US “nuclear umbrella” will remain as a useful bargaining counter in the coming global negotiations with Moscow.

From a European viewpoint it may be added that all this is pretty clearly understood in London and Paris, which is why the British and French governments cling to their respective nuclear “counters,” though the rationalizations are different. Incidentally, I share Mr. Steele’s conviction that if a British Labour government (now a distinct probability) scraps the “deterrent,” it will merely earn the contempt of the French and throw away its only means of purchasing entry into the Europe of the Six. It may of course be said that the Labour Party is on principle opposed to the whole idea of West European integration on the Brussels model, and would much rather enter into a loose confederation with the Scandinavian countries. In the long run a Social-Democratic Britain will anyhow come to resemble Sweden. Whether this prospect is going to appeal to the British people is not yet certain. If they get bored with Mr. Wilson and his friends, there may be a swing back to a Gaullist form of Toryism around 1970: just in time for the formal revision or dissolution of the NATO pact. This is the French calculation, and for all one knows it may come off. Meantime it suits Paris to keep the British out, until they learn to become more Europe-minded.


The official US response to all this so far has been to tighten the screws on those reliable allies, the West Germans. Their loyalty to NATO is much esteemed in Washington, and their readiness—so far—to let the US have control of the nuclear arsenal makes them look like prize pupils. Indeed it is arguable that in relation to Germany the Gaullist construction has sprung a leak. The General’s ever-watchful critics have not been slow to note that Germany is much more of an “American Trojan horse” than Britain, which at least clings to its own “deterrent.” This, however, may be a temporary phenomenon. As “Europe” acquires its own personality, while the US moves toward disengagement and global arrangements with Moscow, the Germans cannot help seeing the logic of the argument that an integrated Western Europe should have its own nuclear defenses—if only so that it can afford to “sit out” a possible armed conflict between America and China. In Paris at any rate the General and his advisers are confident that they have only to sit tight and wait for everyone to come round to their position.

Mr. Steele is resigned to this outcome, indeed inclined to welcome it, on the grounds that it will facilitate a global understanding between America and Russia. The Atlantic Alliance, he thinks, has outlived its usefulness and become a burden on all its members. As for the “Atlantic Community,” it is nonexistent. This last is emphatically not the opinion of Professor Frank Munk whose scholarly study is sponsored by the Atlantic Institute, in Paris, and prefaced by Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge. In this view, differences of interest between America and Europe can be transcended only at the level of the emerging Atlantic community: every other approach simply means a return to nationalism. If America and Europe drift apart—as they must if there are no over-arching Atlantic institutions to hold them together—only the common enemy will benefit. The way out of the present impasse is to go forward to a true Atlantic union. Even the economic conflicts can best be resolved in an Atlantic setting. In short, Professor Munk takes what might be called the orthodox Anglo-American view, which was that of the Kennedy Administration and presumably continues to be that of its successor. As he sees it, NATO should be superseded by true political institutions embracing both Western Europe and North America, though falling short of federalism and not involving anything like the establishment of a single Atlantic “capital.” The “irreducible minimum” of common action will anyhow have to be located at the strategic level: a “common approach to problems of nuclear deterrence and of defense in general” will have to involve both Americans and Europeans. The snag here is that one does not quite see the United States relinquishing its ultimate control. Is Atlanticism going to be more than a sop to European feelings? Can the US really share its power of decision, to the extent perhaps of giving foreigners a veto on its actions? From the European side it all looks a bit like camouflage, though in fairness to the distinguished proponents of such schemes this is not what they have in mind.

At any rate, Professor Munk is aware of the dilemma and makes no bones about the obstacles to a genuine fusion of national sovereignties. I should say myself that it will take a major crisis—if not necessarily another catastrophe—to create the necessary climate. But then excessive heat may engender fission as well as fusion. One does well not to be dogmatic about the future course of events. Professor Munk refrains from dogmatism—indeed he stresses the danger that things may go wrong, though in his concluding passage he asserts that “there is no substitute for an Atlantic Community,” which is just what writers like Mr. Steele deny. Since both argue from shared premises (American premises at that), the European commentator can only record the fact that the debate continues. For the factual background, students can consult the Cottrell-Dougherty volume, which gives a useful account of NATO since its founding in 1949, but does not greatly advance the discussion of fundamentals. The authors carry caution to excess—the most they permit themselves in the way of generalization is the statement that if NATO is to survive, “compromise [is] necessary on both sides of the Atlantic.” This does not get us much further. If Professor Munk and Mr. Steele are right in their different ways, we are in for a dramatic choice between “Atlantic Union” and “Fortress America.” In any event NATO can hardly continue in its present form beyond 1969—the year when the Treaty comes up for renewal.

Mr. George Liska’s work brings one back to the theme of Mr. Steele’s essay, but this time from what may fairly be called a European viewpoint, though the author (who took his doctorate in Prague) is now an American academic. His rather involved argument defies summary, but one of his key statements may be quoted: “The unity of Western Europe can no longer be brought about by the United States; it must probably be accomplished, to some extent, in opposition to the United States, in the sense of being an act of self-differentiation from America.” Mr. Liska believes that the US can afford to tolerate such a movement, and would indeed be well advised not to oppose it, since this would merely raise European hackles without permanently altering the course of events. A self-confident Europe makes a better partner, he thinks, than a weak and divided one. For the rest Gaullism has merely traded on European sentiment. “A measure of defection of a confederate Europe from the rudimentary Atlantic union was inevitable once the United States did not promote closer Atlantic unity in the period of its unquestioned moral and material sway.” There is nothing to be done now about European nuclear autonomy, but since it cannot be true independence, the Atlantic partnership can ultimately be restored at a higher level Meanwhile American policy-makers should not lean too heavily on West Germany, or on complicated technical gimmicks like the so-called “multilateral force.” All this is sound advice, though in the light of past experience one may doubt whether it will be taken.

Mr. Liska’s work covers a good deal of ground, including large chunks of European history. As a historian he sees the post-war world in a longer perspective than is common among political scientists. The current set-up makes sense to him only as a temporary device “until the revolutionary drive of the Communist powers has subsided or the evolutionary possibilities of an Atlantic Community have matured.” In the long run, Eastern and Western Europe may come together again, and anyhow this is the only sensible aim for Europeans to work for. None of this, I expect, will be music to some of his readers, but at least they won’t be able to say that they haven’t been warned.

Europe’s future is also the central theme of the other works here under review. The brief volume edited by Dr. Krause for the Brookings Institution may fairly be described as semi-popular. It is addressed to the general reader, and the distinguished contributors—among them Jean Monnet and Dr. Hallstein—are more concerned to expound general principles than to delve into analytical problems. But for all that, it is a competent and wellwritten introduction to the subject, and should be useful to students. Western Integration and the Future of Eastern Europe, edited by David Collier and Kurt Glaser, is a different affair. It too has some prominent names to its list and includes at least one first-rate essay: Professor Carrington’s discussion of the British Commonwealth as an economic unit. But much of the volume belongs to the spate of Cold War writing which flourished a decade ago, and some of the contributions are a trifle rhetorical—notably that by Wenzel Jaksch (a German Social Democrat who does not really represent the prevalent attitudes of his party) and the companion-piece by Baron von Guttenberg, who has lately functioned as foreign-policy adviser to the small but active body of “German Gaullists.” The book appears to have grown out of an international study conference held at Wiesbaden last year, and the notion that Eastern Europe may yet be “liberated” (but how?) runs like a leitmotiv through many of these essays. For the rest, the authors give due emphasis to the theme of Franco-German reconciliation, without perhaps quite realizing that a Franco-German bloc may escape from American control. There are of course some Europeans who would not be sorry to see this happen.

With Mrs. Camps we are on different ground. A former State Department official, a long-time resident in England, and a steady contributor to the Economist, she is close to the heart of Britain’s checkered relations with the European Economic Community: So close that now and then she loses sight of the wood for the trees. It is also possible to feel that she has over the years identified herself too closely with the hopes of these who pressed for British entry to perceive the strength of the European (not merely Gaullist) obstacles to the implications of such a move. But these are matters of judgment. When it comes to relating the events that led up to last year’s breakdown, her account has the ring of authority. Indeed it is likely to become the standard work on the subject—until someone produces an equally weighty and documented study from the viewpoint of the French or the Brussels Commission.

Finally there is the bulky tome assembled by Dr. Stephen Graubard: with contributions from so many prominent historians, economists, sociologists, philosophers, and even theologians, that it would be invidious to single out individual names. It is a most impressive collection of learned papers, and perhaps the only possible summary is to the effect that A New Europe? merits its title: it is unique in covering almost the entire field—there are even some photographic illustrations of recent West European architecture. This principle might perhaps have been extended to some of the other chapters. Education, science, technology, the class structure, and the new intellectual climate, are all taken care of, there is surprisingly little verbiage, and technical terms do not obtrude. If there is such a thing as the intelligent general reader, here is the book for him. A critical hint may be in order: the new technocratic orthodoxy—Aron. Dahrendorf, Myrdal, Lipset, et al.—has placed its stamp so heavily on the sociological contributions that the relative novelty of this viewpoint is not always apparent. The present reviewer (whose own modest efforts in this field are generously cited by some of the contributors) is conscious of the seeming perversity of swimming against the current, but it really needs to be said that traditional socialism is not quite as dead as some of these writers seem to imply. It is of course arguable that technocratic forms of planning are all that is left of the socialist inheritance, but this belief is not yet universally shared. The Editor might have done well to balance the contributions from Raymond Aron and Michel Crozier by inviting M. Serge Mallet to give his views on the new technocracy. But that raises wider issues. As matters stand, this volume must be regarded as the most ambitious effort yet made to trace the outline of the society which has arisen from the aisles of the Second World War. As a literary production it is both solid and readable; even a touch of elegance is not lacking: rare enough in works of this sort to merit praise. And now that this monument to the new streamlined and affluent Western Europe has been erected, how about a companion volume compiled by critics of the new order?

This Issue

September 10, 1964