Cabinet Secretaries' notebooks (CAB 195/19): European Economic Community
E.Q. Mtg. Some statement before Parlt. rises - either announce we will apply & see what condns. we can get : or we are p'poning until autumn.
M'while let us hear results of C'wealth visits.
Serious misgivings & anxieties in 3 countries wh. I visited - old members on pol. side : those with greatest tradns. Preference on econ-side.
Surprise was strength of their doubts on political. Natural they shd. dislike economic aspects, for in short run bound to involve some damage to them.
N.Z. most diff. : wd. be ruined unless we made special arrangements for their butter & lamb. But easiest because we clearly cd. not leave them in lurch - & E.E.C. if they want us must see they will have to make concessions here. N.Z. Govt. are ready to trust us to do our best.
A. & Canada. Most diff. issue was political aspects. Menzies not interested in econ. aspects - only its effect on C'wealth relationship.
Ditto. Canada. They can't say specifically where the harm wd. lie : but strong hunch it wd. damage C'wealth link. Tried to make it plain we wd. not enter any pol. union in Europe : for rest N.A.T.O. already affects our f. policy. Canada also fears being drawn closer to U.S.
They all recognise, however, tht. it is for our decision & they have no veto. Moreover, they think we are going to negotiate; and don't want or expect further consultn. beforehand.
Easy for me, qua C.R.O. to say this is too dangerous. If I had to choose betwn. Europe & C'wealth, I wd. choose latter. But decline in econ. strength & importance of Britain wd. destroy C'wealth even more than anything. Shock to C'wealth: but strong enough to bear it. My advice : if on genl. grds. thght right to open negotns. then fr. C'wealth angle we can go ahead, w'out fatal damage.
What condns. wd. we need?
Special arrangements on lamb : butter - slow to share market betwn. France, Denmark & N.Z. Soft wheat : cd. make arrangement : nor Canadian hard wheat. Or manufacture Canada realises no sp. arrangement cd. be made.
They understand tht. duty free entry wd. have to go.
On pol. aspects no safeguards cd. be negotiated. x.
Have not excluded P.M.M. at appropte. moment.
Can't p'pone decn. Must have decn. before next mtg. of C'wealth
Finance Ministers in Ghana.
x. Nor can we say much to re-assure Doms. w'out appears to Europe to reject their aims.
Special relationship, under clause 238 of Treaty, between E.E.C. & particular Doms.
N.Z. interested in this.
Apart from sp. arrangements for commodities, can we avoid situation in wh. relns. of Doms. are with E.E.C. as a whole.
Yes. Fr. have done it for Community.
Asia. We are free to negotiate with E.E.C. They expect us to do so.
Real anxieties pol. and econ. Their special interest is in certain commodities. Sp. arrangements cd. be made for these w'out damage to structure of E.E.C.
India : serious pol. doubts. Reserve final judgmt. until after negotn. Dislike A.O.T. because wd. divide C'wealth countries into 2 classes. Prefer commodity approach. Clear they wdn't change their own arrangements to suit us, if we didn't join E.E.C.
Africa. More pol. suspicion than expected. Hinges on A.O.T. agreement which gave former African/French countries privileged position : they got this when Colonies & preserved it after independence. Smacks of Colonialism. A.O.T. due for review next year : will be pressure then for difft. status.
In Fedn. they will take A.O.T. status for econ. reasons & don't care about pol. overtones. Nervous we won't try to get it for them.
Alternatives : article 238 or commodity agreements.
These Govts. won't be surprised if we decide to apply. Want closest consultns. thro' negotiations.
W'out negotns. we can't discover what safeguards we can get for C'wealth.
No real alternative therefore but to apply.
Talks with farmers' leaders. They have bn. Costive (consulting) : say little.
In areas where opposn. is voiced (eg. Turton in Yorks.) this has evoked big response. Leaders inclined to say - nil doing unless Europe adopts our system of agric. support. Likely they will now stir up opposition.
In H/C. N.F.U. losing support because of intransigence.
No grounds now for delaying appln. Cdn't explain it
Now see we can't negotiate w'out making appln. Will be a row.
My pol. inclinn. is v. going in to Europe. But still think we must find out what terms we can get. Favour announcement tht. we will apply in order to find out.
Pol. dangers. Quite a few will misunderstand "apply to join"? Have suggd. formula, makg. it plain we aren't committed to join.
With that, we may hold them.
Hope we can indicate we shall be going out for condns. to s'guard C'wealth e.g. quota for temperate foods.
Manufactured goods fr. under-developed : better if concession on that is obtainable.
Agriculture. Sorry no more success with Woolley. Party is ahead of them - knowg. our subsidy bill is too heavy. Must show some hope for future. Promise no loss of income and we may get thro'.
But if N.F.U. intend to agitate, we shall be in jeopardy in marginal agricultural seats.
A. v. dangerous course - qua. both C'wealth and agriculture.
D.E. Must now negotiate, to find out.
C'wealth hunches on pol. aspects are interesting. Signs of it in Party here. This is nothg. to do with economics. Unless you can have assocn. based on friendship, little hope for world.
Are we going to damage that. Members of E.E.C. are not v. good at relns. with emergent countries.
Not more than 50/50 shame of holding Party on this. Must therefore try to get it across tht. by this we can open European windows - not that U.K. will disappear into Europe.
No answer to them to say it will make U.K. industry more efficient.
Had thght we ought to take longer to consider C'wealth re-actions.
See now we must apply in order to see what terms we caught.
Must consider too Ghana mtg. & Party conference. Cdn't dither.
Chances of success now v. small. Conditions too hard. Agree we must apply : but care tht. in negotns. we don't give C'wealth case away.
Likely to fail. Dislike going on, with risk to C'wealth etc. in somethg. so unlikely to succeed. But this (Berlin) is not a moment to divide ourselves. I wd. therefore go along.
Favour appln. But gt. doubts - esp. because de G. doesn't want us.
But if we fail, better to do so after negotn. - showing we won't sacrifice C'wealth for our own advantage.
Support I.M. Only fear is tht. we mayn't carry Party because we seem only to be trying temperature in order to run away. Let it be an act of courage.
France doesn't want us : they may play us along for too long.
If we do this, must be step twds. larger concept. Can we make this the b'ground to our approach. Unification of free world.
Scottish opinion favours this more than opinion in South.
Sc. T.U.C. have come out in support. Sc N.F.U. sounder than E. & W.
Main Sc. worry : sacrifice of sovereignty.
We shd. apply.
Distinguish betwn. negotn. (to find out condns.) and appln. to join.
Awkward tht. we have to "apply to accede". Must get it across tht this isn't decision to join.
E.F.T.A. Danes wd. wish to apply with us. Norway too - tho' announce later (election). Portugal in some form. The neutrals would move later.Agreed on E.F.T.A. tht. none wd. sign unless legitimate interests of others met.
French don't expect us to apply. If we do, their attitude may change.
Certainly, other influences in Europe will be released - to our advantage.
Don't overlook strength of competn. wh. U.K. industry will have to face - & opposn. when industry begins to realise it. Shipping alone has faced it & dislike it. Also T.U.'s.
Taken from C.C. 42(61) - Meeting held on 21 July 1961