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Democrat May-June 2011 (Number 123)

American interference via
European Movement

Herd of elephants in the room

Declassified American government documents have shown that the US intelligence services ran a campaign in the 1950s and 60s to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement. The documents were found by Joshua Paul, a researcher at Georgetown University in Washington. They include files released by the US National Archives.

One memorandum, dated 26 July 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen. William J. Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor of the CIA. Washington’s main tool for shaping the European agenda was the American Committee for a United Europe, created in 1948. The chairman was Donovan, ostensibly a private lawyer at that time.

The vice-chairman was Allen Dulles, director of the CIA in the 1950s. The board included Walter Bedell Smith, the CIA’s first director, and a number of ex-OSS figures and officials who moved in and out of the CIA.

The documents show that the ACUE financed the European Movement, the most important federalist organisation in the post-war years. In 1958, for example, it provided 53½ per cent of the movement’s funds. The “European Youth Campaign,” an arm of the European Movement, was wholly funded and controlled by Washington. Its director, the Belgian René Boël, received monthly payments into a special account. When the founder and secretary-general of the European Movement, the Polish-born Joseph Retinger, bridled at this degree of American control and tried to raise money in Europe, he was quickly reprimanded. The role of the United States was handled as a covert operation. ACUE’s funding came from the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation as well as business groups with close ties to the US government.

The president of the Ford Foundation, Paul Hoffman—a former OSS officer—doubled as head of ACUE in the late 1950s. The State Department also played a role. A memo from the European Section, dated 11 June 1965, advises the vice-president of the European Economic Community, Robert Marjolin, to pursue monetary union by stealth. It recommends suppressing debate until the point at which the “adoption of such proposals would become virtually inescapable”. And that policy has been adhered to ever since.

The Democrat has reported on this funding in a series on the 'History of the EU'.