The European Union Was An AMERICAN Idea

The U.S. government has repeatedly warned the British people about the potential dire consequences of leaving the EU. As I reported for WOLF STREET in November last year, it’s not just about money:

Naturally the U.S. would much prefer to deal with just one partner – Brussels – in its convoluted trade negotiations with Europe. It also wants to safeguard Europe’s transition to a fully supranational system of governance, a project that the U.S. government has strongly supported and actively (and covertly) assisted since the creation, in 1951, of the European Coal and Steel Community. That’s over half a century worth of political capital. And now that capital is at risk.

In his latest blog post George Washington has picked up and expanded on the same point. Here’s the first part of that piece:

The European Union Was An AMERICAN Idea

After writing this post, we stumbled upon an article written in 2000 by the lead financial writer at the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, noting:

Declassified American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe.




The head of the Ford Foundation, ex-OSS officer Paul Hoffman, doubled as head of ACUE in the late Fifties. The State Department also played a role. A memo from the European section, dated June 11, 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 “adoption of such proposals would become virtually inescapable”.


The former Bank of England head Mervyn King said this week that the “depression” in Europe “has happened almost as a deliberate act of policy”. Specifically, King said that the formation of the European Union has doomed Europe to economic malaise.

He points out that Greece is experiencing “a depression deeper than the United States experienced in the 1930s”.

The depths of Greece's depression
The depths of Greece’s depression Credit: RBS economics/RBS


Moreover – as Martin Armstrong has warned for decades – letting countries like Greece join he Euro without first structurally adjusting their debts was a recipe for disaster.

So it is fascinating to learn that the U.S. was largely behind the creation of both the European Union and the Euro.

The European Union: Funded By the CIA

Professor of International Security at the University of Warwick Richard J. Aldrich reviewed available historical documents, and concludes that the European Union was largely an American project:

Professor of International Security at the University of Warwick Richard J. Aldrich reviewed available historical documents, and concludes that the European Union was largely an American project:

US officials trying to rebuild and stabilize postwar Europe worked from the assumption that it required rapid unification, perhaps leading to a United States of Europe. The encouragement of European unification, one of the most consistent components of Harry S. Truman’s foreign policy, was even more strongly emphasized under his successor General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Moreover, under both Truman and Eisenhower, US policymakers conceived of European unification not only as an important end in itself, but also as a way to solve the German problem.’

One of the most interesting US covert operations in postwar Europe was the funding of the European Movement. The European Movement was an umbrella organization which led a prestigious, if disparate, group of organizations urging rapid unification in Europe, focusing their efforts upon the Council of Europe, and counting Winston Churchill, Paul-Henri Spaak, Konrad Adenauer, Leon Blum and Alcide de Gasperi as its five Presidents of Honour.

The discreet injection of over three million dollars between 1949 and 1960, mostly from US government sources, was central to efforts to drum up mass support for the Schuman Plan, the European Defence Community and a European Assembly with sovereign powers. This covert contribution never formed less than half the European Movement’s budget and, after 1952, probably two-thirds.

The conduit for American assistance was the American Committee on United Europe (ACUE), directed by senior figures from the American intelligence community. This body was organized in the early Summer of 1948 by Allen Welsh Dulles, then heading a committee reviewing the organization of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on behalf of the National Security Council (NSC), and also by William J. Donovan, former head of the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS) [predecessor to the CIA].

The International Organizations Division [a newly-established branch of the CIA] was also involved in the fourth type of US covert operation — provoking dissonance in the satellite states. This effort was channelled through the National Committee for a Free Europe, later known as the Free Europe Committee, which controlled Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Much of the work, done with the help of irascible exile groups under the Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN), was coordinated by the CIA’s burgeoning Munich station, which also gave aid to resistance groups within eastern Europe.

The ACUE and its short-lived predecessor were only two of many `American’ and ‘Free’ committees established during 1948 and 1949. Well-documented examples include the National Committee for a Free Europe (later the Free Europe Committee) and the Free Asia Committee (later the Asia Foundation). The Free Europe Committee, formed in 1948 by the retired diplomat Joseph E. Grew at Kennan’s request, worked closely with the CIA to maintain contact between exile groups in the West and the Eastern bloc.

Their campaign ‘to keep alive the hope of liberation in Eastern Europe’, was launched publicly in 1949 by the recently retired American military governor in Germany, General Lucius D. Clay.” The initial membership included many senior government figures such as the former Assistant Secretary of State, Adolphe Berle, Allen Dulles and ex-OSS personnel such as Frederic R. Dolbeare. The Free Europe Committee purported to draw its resources from private subscriptions and various foundations, but in reality the majority of its funds came from the US government through channels managed by the CIA.

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