Federation of Europe

May 21, 1947

Report Outline
Soviet-Western Split and Europe's Feture
Previous Proposals for European Union
Current Agitation for European Federation

Soviet-Western Split and Europe's Feture

The Deadlock of the victorious powers on basic principles of a peace settlement for Germany has brought an upsurge of public interest in projects for the political and economic reorganization of Europe along federal lines. In the United States and Great Britain, some degree of federalization for western Europe is coming to be regarded as an essential accompaniment of the German settlement. Opening a campaign to promote the cause of a united Europe with an address at London on May 14, Winston Churchill declared: “The central and almost the most serious problem which glares upon the Europe of today is the future of Germany …Except within the framework and against the background of a united Europe, this problem is incapable of solution.”

Two years have passed since hostilities ended in Europe and another six months will elapse before the Council of Foreign Ministers, which concluded a seven weeks' session at Moscow on Apr. 24, takes up the German problem again. Meanwhile, the deadlock between the western powers and the Soviet Union not only is holding the future of Germany in suspense but also is seriously retarding reconstruction and recovery in other European countries. Because there now seems slight prospect for satisfactory adjustment of the differences between east and west at the scheduled November meeting of the foreign ministers, and because the need for action is urgent, the question is being asked whether the United States, Great Britain, and France should not try to reach an independent agreement on western Germany and western Europe.

Possibility of Separate Action on German Problem

Any move on the part of the western powers to take fundamental decisions on Germany without the participation of the Soviet Union, or any official action on their part to promote a European federation, would raise bitter resentment in Moscow. Russia is keenly interested in the Ruhr as a source of reparations and is strongly opposed to any grouping of European nations in a “western bloc.” It is possible that evidence of a determination by the other great powers to proceed in disregard of the Soviet position would induce the Kremlin to cooperate in working out a European settlement satisfactory to all interested nations. It is more likely, however, that independent action would further embitter Soviet-western relations. And in that case a separate settlement would mean abandonment of eastern Germany and eastern Europe to Soviet domination for an indefinite period. But action that improved the economic health of western Europe and promoted its political unity might be expected to have a long-run stabilizing effect.

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Regional Political Affairs: Europe