France and the Alliance

February 20, 1963

Report Outline
Exclusion of Britain from Common Market
Gaullist Europe vs. Atlantic Community
French Desire for Bigger Role in Nato
Debate Over French Nuclear Deterrent

Exclusion of Britain from Common Market

President De Gaulle of France has managed in the past few weeks to shake the Western alliance, alienate allies in Europe and America, and provoke the wrath of the Soviet Union. The French veto of Great Britain's application for membership in the European Economic Community (Common Market) was the immediate but not the sole cause of the present disarray in relations of the Western powers. De Gaulle's insistence on building an independent French nuclear deterrent has long been a source of friction between Washington and Paris. And signing of the Franco-German treaty of cooperation not only brought misgivings in European capitals but also aroused Russia's deep-seated fear of a vengeful and nuclear-armed Germany.

The present policy of France strikes at the heart of President Kennedy's “grand design” for an Atlantic community embracing the countries of Western Europe and America north of the Rio Grande. De Gaulle seems intent on a very different grand design. His pronouncements on the future of Europe are couched in vague terms, but he appears to envision a confederation of sovereign European states, led by France and powerful enough to constitute a “third force” in the world balance of power. Ultimately, this Europe would be “balanced between the Atlantic and the Urals.”

De Gaulle's plan is not without support in a Western Europe that is both economically strong and increasingly critical of Washington. At the same time, Europeans are aware that they are almost totally dependent on the United States for their military security. British Prime Minister Macmillan had this in mind when he told the House of Commons, Feb. 11, that present French policies might compel “an agonizing reappraisal” of its position by the United States.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 03, 1978  French Parliamentary Elections
Feb. 14, 1973  French Elections, 1973
Apr. 10, 1968  French-American Relations
Nov. 24, 1965  Election of De Gaulle: Past and Future Policies
Nov. 20, 1963  French Policy Under De Gaulle
Feb. 20, 1963  France and the Alliance
Nov. 07, 1962  French Governmental Crisis
Mar. 10, 1960  Status of France
Sep. 15, 1955  Future of France in North Africa
Dec. 16, 1953  French Political Instability
Nov. 15, 1952  France and Germany in West European Defense
Jan. 29, 1947  Empire of France
Sep. 01, 1945  France in Transition
Aug. 08, 1944  Relations with France
Mar. 21, 1942  Relations with France
Apr. 10, 1934  Constitutional Reform in France
Jun. 30, 1929  The French Debt and the Young Plan
Apr. 27, 1928  The Briand-Kellogg Correspondence
Mar. 30, 1928  French National Elections - 1928
Aug. 24, 1926  French Currency and Exchange
Jun. 30, 1925  The Moroccan Problem
Jun. 17, 1925  The French Debt to the United States
Apr. 11, 1925  The French Financial Problem
May 07, 1924  The French National Elections
Sep. 21, 1923  French Reparation Policy in the Light of the Dariac Report
Regional Political Affairs: Europe