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New International, May–June 1954

 

Abe Stein

France & American Foreign Policy

France’s Reaction to International New Look

(September 1953)>

 

From New International, Vol. XX No. 3, May–June 1954, pp. 113–124.
Marked up up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

 

Some well-meaning liberals who swallowed Truman’s doctrine of containment have gagged at the monstrous idea of massive retaliation, grown despondent over the Indochinese fiasco, and fallen into a deep melancholia over the failure of EDC. And yet, Eisenhower and Dulles are but the faithful executors of Truman’s policies; massive retaliation is the inevitable child of containment.

Examine, one by one, the failures that have been the lot of the present administration, and their origins are to be found in the initial successes of its predecessor. It was under Truman that the United States began subsidizing the French mercenaries in Indochina. Dean Acheson, Truman’s Secretary of State, presided over the beginnings of NATO and approved of EDC as a means of creating a West German armed force. The H-bomb project was authorized long before General Eisenhower aspired to the high office of the presidency. Intervention in Korea was ordered by Truman and nurtured into deadlock and frustration under his administration.

Why have Truman’s successes soured into Eisenhower’s failures? The answer lies largely in the poverty of ideas that have guided American foreign policy. Under Truman, policy was determined by the notion that a balance in the world struggle could be struck and maintained only while America had military superiority. Under Eisenhower, the formula evolved one stage further: the struggle can only be resolved by military means. What unites Truman and Eisenhower is greater than that which keeps them apart – the reliance on military means as the major weapon in the struggle with the Moscow-Peiping bloc. Both in the order of logic as in sequence of time, Indochina comes after Korea.

Between 1949 and 1951 it was still possible for the Truman administration to adopt a posture of defense with one hand while it concealed the A-bomb in the other. Russian aggression in Czechoslovakia and Berlin, and the military adventure in Korea created a political climate which permitted Washington to justify its policy of military containment as the main deterrent to Russian imperialism. The bourgeoisie and the masses of Western Europe submitted to American strategy and domination, believing that only the American monopoly of the A-bomb prevented an invasion of Western Europe and the transformation of the “cold war” into a “hot war.”
 

>The dangers inherent in Washington’s strategy were revealed for all the world to see during the Truman-MacArthur controversy over policy in Korea. To the military mind, the posture of defense and the notion of a limited and local war implied in the doctrine of containment was exhausting, wasteful and interminable. In addition, it yielded the initiative to the enemy. Containment did not bring victory, massive retaliation would. To be sure, Truman dismissed MacArthur; yet, MacArthur’s logic triumphed in the Indochinese crisis. It is not the fault of the Eisenhower administration that it failed to win its allies over to its point of view.

It is no secret that as the Indochinese crisis approached fever pitch in the spring of 1954, a furious debate raged in the National Security Council, the real policy making body of the administration. Admiral Radford, chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, argued for intervention in the Indochinese fighting. He was opposed by General Ridgeway, Army Chief of Staff. That the Eisenhower administration at the outset sided with Radford is confirmed not only in the belligerent statements made by Dulles, but by Vice-President Nixon’s speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors. In this “confidential” talk before a few thousand editors, Nixon openly advocated intervention and the dispatch of American troops, if necessary, to Indochina.

The strategy of Radford and the administration was the military equivalent of the Asia First politics of Senator Knowland and the China Lobby. American air and sea power would crush both Vietminh and the Chinese. The political superiority of the Vietminh, fighting a war of liberation against the French with the support of their Chinese overlords, could be destroyed in the cleansing fire of napalm, atomic, and if necessary, H-bombs.

Marquis Childs, the Washington columnist, has described the resistance of General Ridgeway to Radford’s views in the National Security Council. In broad outline Ridgeway argued that American intervention would bring Russian involvement and that American concentration in Asia would leave Western Europe wide open to Russian invasion and easy conquest, bringing in its wake the irreparable loss of Western Europe’s industry and manpower.

Neither in the National Security Council nor in the administration was there an open discussion or any frank admissions on why the Indochinese crisis had taken a military form. Only in Congressional debate was the question posed and answered: how was it, that despite overwhelming military superiority, the French were losing the war and the United States was confronted by disastrous alternatives – either lose Indochina in whole or part, or risk the danger of a. Third World War by intervention. Certain Democratic congressmen denounced the French for fighting a war of colonial reconquest, and damned the Eisenhower administration and Truman as well, for financing it. But this was in 1954, not 1950.

The Truman administration had begun directly financing the French colonial war of pacification in Indochina in 1950 as part of its world policy of containment. The Eisenhower administration inherited and continued the very same policy. And in 1952 it faced a disaster not of its own making.

In 1950, the United States could have chosen to pursue a democratic foreign policy. It could have engaged the Moscow-Peiping bloc and its allies on the plane of political struggle. An independent and democratic regime in Indochina could have commanded the moral and material support of the Asian “neutrals” as well as of the Western world. The prestige of Ho Chi Minh as the standard bearer of national liberation could have been nullified, and the attractive power of the totalitarian Vietminh movement destroyed. Furthermore, the moral “justification” for Chinese intervention would have ceased to exist.
 

>The American ruling class and its political representatives have not learned very much from the Indochinese catastrophe. Its current attempts to forge a military alliance in South-East Asia and to bring about the rearmament of Western Germany bear witness to that.

In the period from 1949 to 1951, the drive toward rearmament and a system of military alliances in Western Europe and Asia were possible. The administration in power could justify the support it gave to reactionary regimes and classes on the grounds that the imminence of war left no alternative. Today, such a course is as disastrous as it is futile as the Moscow-Peiping bloc has already begun to do battle primarily on the political plane. In the struggle for world public opinion, for the support of the “neutrals,” the American ruling class has demonstrated its striking poverty of ideas. And the point has now been reached where its system of alliances is in the process of dissolution.
 

>The retreat of the Eisenhower administration from the Radford position was not decided by the clash of views in the National Security Council. It was forced by the rebellion of the British and French against American strategy. At Geneva, Dulles tried to persuade a perplexed Bidault to continue the war. But as Mendes-France later revealed, the entire French military force in Northern Indochina was in danger of falling into the hands of the Vietminh.

France could not continue the war without the immediate intervention of the United States. But the Americans could not enter the conflict without the agreement and token participation of the British. The Churchill government discreetly but firmly withheld its consent. The first great division inside the so-called Western alliance had taken place. And with the arrival of Mendes-France in Geneva, the European belief in the possibility of co-existence won its first test.

When Winston Churchill rose in the House of Commons on May 11, 1953, and called for a meeting of the governmental heads of the Big Four, it was time to take notice. All the more since it was Churchill who had drawn the official indictment of Stalinist Russia for embarking on the “cold war” and pulling down the Iron Curtain, in his famous speech in Fulton, Missouri.

Churchill is no neutralist, and yet he is the most eloquent spokesman for that political point of view in Western Europe. The ingredients of this outlook are quite familiar. The military disparity between the Western countries and the Russian-Chinese bloc has now been redressed for two reasons. On the one hand, the Western European countries have now been rearmed, with the exception of West Germany, so that they are not altogether helpless against invasion. On the other hand, American superiority has been diminished with the Russian announcement in August 1953 that they had the H-bomb. A greater military balance has therefore been established. But even if there was a greater imbalance, a world war would mean the total destruction of Western Europe, dragging conqueror as well as conquered down to a social abyss.
 

>Since the death of Stalin, Russia has been engaged in a vast process of internal political and economic reforms. For an unforeseeable period ahead, her energies will be totally absorbed by these domestic problems. Similarly, Mao’s regime seeks to bring about the industrialization of that vast country, and is prepared to shun further military adventures. A period of peaceful co-existence is possible if both sides will desist from military and political assaults at the exposed points of the antagonist.

The power and force in Churchill’s logic arises from its limited correspondence to reality. It is quite true that the new collective leadership in the Kremlin has turned its attention to reducing the glaring disproportion between industrial and agricultural development in both Russia and her satellite countries; that it wishes to create a firmer social basis for its rule by raising as much as it can the living standards of the masses. It is just as true that it has yielded to the tremendous pressure of the million-headed bureaucracy for a relaxation of the police terror. For a period of time, the Russian ruling class needs and wants to co-exist peacefully.
 

>To important sections of the European bourgeoisie, above all in England and France, the turn in the political line of the Kremlin has come like manna from heaven. And so greatly has their mood changed, that they consider their interests more seriously endangered by Washington than by Moscow.

With ever greater incredulity, they have watched the anti-Communist crusade inside the United States take on truly nightmarish proportions. The antics of McCarthy, the McCarran police and immigration laws, and now the bill outlawing the Communist Party have not escaped their attention. And they grasp the political implications of this controlled frenzy. Today, the West European bourgeoisie, the loyal ally of yesterday, lives in constant fear that Washington will embark on some mad military adventure that will hasten the Third World War, a fear highlighted by the MacArthur proposals in Korea in 1951, and the Eisenhower-Dulles-Radford attempt to exploit the Indochinese crisis.

If the Churchill prognosis of Russian intentions in the immediate future is correct, why, ask the French bourgeoisie, is it necessary to consolidate ranks into a solid phalanx that can only provoke Russian countermeasures? Why is it necessary to rearm at a pace that aggravates domestic social crisis, and above all is it wise to remilitarize Western Germany? Ever since Stalin’s death, the French have been dreaming out loud of combining NATO with a Franco-Soviet Pact – all at Germany’s expense.

To the peoples of Western Europe, especially France, the great danger to European peace and stability threatens from the immediate neighbor to the East. The spectre that has haunted the French after each war has been the reappearance of a militarized and nationalist Germany. And on this rock of French fear America’s design for Europe is being shattered.

The French argument, based on the narrowest calculation of national egotism, is simple. If Germany is rearmed, she will assert her claim, as she has done in the past, to the Saar. And once she has regained control of the Saar, she will move to seize not only Eastern Germany, but the lands beyond the Oder and Neisse rivers, embroiling her West European neighbors and allies in a war with the Eastern colossus.

From 1950 on, the goal of American policy in Europe has been to put as many German divisions in the field as soon as possible. A shield was needed to absorb the first shock of any Soviet advance into Western Europe, and the only untapped source of manpower lay in West Germany.

In the same period, French policy pursued its historic goal of containing Germany by political and diplomatic means, despite all professions to the contrary. Its purpose was to keep a brake on the American drive to expand German production and rearmament, and to reduce the latter to the barest minimum, if it could not be altogether frustrated. To the American demand that all restrictions be lifted on steel production, the French countered with the Schuman Plan. To the American insistence on a German army, the French replied with the Pleven Plan. In both cases, the French pursued not the goal of West European integration, but of German containment.

Within the framework of the Schuman Plan, later known as the Coal and Steel Community, the French hoped to continue their access to Germany’s coke and coal, and to exercize control over West Germany’s heavy industry through the High Authority and Council of the Plan. The French steel industry was all the more willing to enter the scheme and compete with the Ruhr since it had begun an ambitious program of modernization with the aid of American funds. By 1952, France already possessed the most up-to-date steel industry on the continent, with four large, continuous strip mills. In addition, the productivity of her coal mines had almost been raised to the level of the Ruhr coal pits.

The Pleven Plan proposed to do militarily what the Schuman Plan in essence was designed to do on the economic level. It met the American demand for German armed forces and at the same time prevented the rebirth of a national German army by integrating these units in a supranational force. The plan was sketched by Pleven, then Foreign Minister, before the French National Assembly on October 24, 1950, as follows:

Except for one essential detail, the Pleven Plan was accepted by the United States and rechristened as the EDC. The American amendment increased the strength of the total German contribution to twelve divisions. Confronted by choice between twelve German divisions scattered in a supranational force and a possible German national army of sixty divisions, the French appeared to accept, at least on paper, the American amendment.

The German bourgeoisie was prepared to enter the Schuman Plan. It would lift all restrictions on West German steel production. Furthermore, by placing the Ruhr coal and industries under the plan’s authority, the danger of nationalization, should the Social-Democrats come to power, might be warded off. As for EDC, the creation of German armed units within a supranational armed force was better than none at all. And in any case, it marked the first step in the creation of an essential element of national power.

If one sought a common political aim uniting the French and German bourgeoisie in the proposal to create “Little Europe,” it lay in the mutual reinforcement of reactionary regimes, each dominated by clerical parties and seeking to perpetuate itself through American military and economic might. However, this general tie was too fragile to bind the competing and antagonistic national interests of the French and German bourgeoisie.

Four years of economic competition with an unleashed German industry taught the French that they could not maintain their economic predominance in West Europe. In spite of all initial advantages, the French coal and steel industries were overtaken and outstripped by their Ruhr competitors. In 1949 France, together with the Saar, produced almost eleven million tons of crude steel, while West Germany produced nine million. In that same year France together with the Saar produced 65 million tons of coal, Germany 104 million tons.

In 1953, however, Western Germany produced fifteen and a half million tons of steel and 124 million tons of coal. France, for her part, barely managed to raise her steel production to 12.7 million tons, and increased her coal production by only two million tons. The indices of production in these basic industries reflect the general tendencies in both economies as a whole. While French industries stagnate and her economy stumbles from one crisis to another, all sectors of the West German economy have expanded at an unprecedented rate.

The French bourgeoisie pondered the lesson and came to the conclusion that just as the Schuman Plan had not insured the predominance of French industry, the EDC would not guarantee forever a ratio of fourteen French divisions to twelve German divisions. Given the dynamic drive of German industry, of the country’s larger population, and the pragmatic desire of the Americans for results, it was a foregone conclusion that in a short time the Germans would dominate the councils of the EDC, if it came into being.
 

>The postponement of politics, budgetary deficits instead of financial policy, and a diplomacy of broken promises and deceit – that is how an unkind critic has described the domestic and foreign policy of the dreary succession of governments of the Right and Center that have misruled France in recent years. It is, of course, the description of a society in decay and a ruling class in crisis. What is extraordinary is the length of time which this process of decomposition has dragged on without producing violent social and political convulsions.

Today, in 1954, the French economy has barely risen above the 1929 level of production. French industry is composed not of large, efficient units but of small, family type, tradition-bound shops. And even her large industries are small compared with those of other countries. The largest French electrical group, for example, employs 20,000 workers, whereas the largest German electrical concern employs 100,000. The ten largest factories for chemical products in France produce only 18 per cent of the total French output in that industry. In Germany, three big chemical concerns are responsible for 23 per cent of the total production.

While the number of workers at the productive base of industry and agriculture have declined, the parasitic layers, the small businessmen, the brokers, the merchants and traders have increased by monstrous proportions. According to the French government itself, the number of traders has increased by at least 600,000 since 1939.

With some of the richest land in Europe, France has been forced to import an ever increasing quantity of food, thus adding to its already large external indebtedness. The French deficit in foodstuffs rose from 8 billion francs in 1950 to 66 billion in 1952. The decay of agriculture is a result of the failure of French industry to grow and of the poverty of the working masses, who cannot provide a market for agricultural produce. Again, the state must intervene with subsidies to the farmers to prevent their bankruptcy. In turn, the decline of agriculture has raised the cost of living and accelerated the internal inflation of prices. One result has been the high prices of French manufactures which are unable to compete on the world market. Today, French prices are 15 per cent above those prevailing on the world market.

France lacks the modern industrial base which would permit her to play both the role of a world power and the leader in Western Europe. And yet, despite her internal decay, the French bourgeoisie has desperately striven to maintain its empire as well as its position as the dominant power in the West European concert.

With its own resources, the French bourgeoisie would never have been able to carry on its desperate effort to act like a first-rate power when it has sunk in fact to a fourth-rate level. The secret of the prolonged agony of French society in the post-war period lies not only in the absence of a revolutionary socialist party which could bring about the necessary social transformation but in the subsidies of the United States. The lavish American grants helped the French bourgeoisie to postpone and, thereby, to aggravate its crisis.

Between 1945 and 1947 the United States poured two billion dollars into the French economy to prevent the collapse of the existing social order. Beginning with 1948 and the Marshall Plan, American funds began to flow into France in a more systematic fashion and for a clearly conceived purpose. France was to be the keystone of Western defense, that is, the pivot of American political and military strategy in Western Europe.

Between July 1, 1948 and June 30, 1952, France received almost three billion dollars in aid from the United States. This sum represented more than twenty per cent of the thirteen billion dollars advanced by the United States to its “allies” in this period. How was this money used?

It did not raise the living standards of the French workers. It did not stem the inflationary rise in prices brought about by budgetary deficits. It did not go into the building of new housing for the masses. Nor did it go into the modernization of agriculture.

About one-fifth of these funds was used in executing the Monnet Plan of modernizing French heavy industry. The steel, coal, electrical generating plants, oil-refining, cement, were reequipped and expanded. However, while the heavy industries were rehauled, neither agriculture nor the consumers industries – industries affecting the level of consumption – were so favored. Precisely those industries were modernized which could serve as a basis for an armaments program.

Another substantial portion of American funds went into the domestic rearmament program. In 1949, France was spending one and a quarter billion dollars on defense. By 1953 that sum had quadrupled and reached more than four billion dollars. And under defense must be included the billions wasted on the war of reconquest in Indochina and the maintenance of troops in the North African colonies. Under the delusion of its own imperial mission and the pressure of Washington to carry on a full-scale program of rearmament, the French bourgeoisie rushed head-long toward collapse. The grandeur of its misery was expressed in its budgetary expenditures and deficits. French government expenditures quadrupled between 1947 and 1953, with military expenditures climbing in the latter year to 36 per cent of the budget. At the same time, the budgetary deficits, that poisonous source of inflation, rose from year to year. From 345 billion francs in 1950 to 398 in 1951, with a sharp leap upward to 793 billion in 1952.

The perpetual, nerve-wracking cycle of wage-raises to keep up with rising prices, and the leap ahead of prices under the stimulus of further budgetary inflation and military expenditures, sharpened class antagonisms to an unbearable and dangerous point. The revulsion of the masses against a state governed by deceit and deficit finally occurred in the late summer of 1953. The critical point of social convulsion had been reached.

The first shock came in August of 1953 when the workers of the Socialist-led Force Ouvrière and the Catholic CFTC employed in the nationalized industries rose up spontaneously to defy the Laniel decrees that threatened the pensions of state employees. All the workers in the nationalized industries joined in this elemental movement of protest against a government which sought to stave off its own disaster at the expense of the miserable pensions of the state employees.

The second shock came in late August and October of 1953 when the farmers took direct action to enforce their demands for government subsidies and price supports. The spectacle of the traditionally conservative peasant striking against a government that claimed to represent him was sufficient warning to the ruling class of France that the time was approaching for a drastic change.
 

>When a political figure rises on the parliamentary scene in the role of “national savior,” as the man who stands above classes and narrow factional and party interests, we are witness to the opening of the Bonapartist drama, whether in democratic or reactionary costume. The parliamentary forms of bourgeois democracy no longer function and must be curtailed bit by bit. All, of course, in the name of – bourgeois democracy. No matter how Mendes-France may conceive his role, this is the part circumstances have forced and are forcing him to play.

Between 1951, when the Socialists left the government and went into opposition, the French governments have been composed of a coalition of the Right and Center. The parties that have been involved in this conspiracy against the best interests of the French people have been the MRP, the Catholic Center Party, the Right-Wing Conservatives of the Independent-Peasants and the Gaullists. This coalition ruled on the basis of a compromise which insured the promotion of the most important interests of each political group and the social layers they represent. The Gaullists were allowed to dictate policy in Indochina and the North African colonies. In turn they muted their opposition to EDC while it remained a paper project. The pro-American MRP was permitted to enter the Schuman Plan and pay lip-service to the idea of EDC. The Independents were guaranteed a socially reactionary domestic policy which placed the main tax burden on the workers while the business classes and the wealthy escaped entirely.

By mid-summer of 1954, the basis of the reactionary coalition had been destroyed by domestic and international events. The elemental revolt of the workers and farmers in late 1953 showed the danger of continuing a blatantly oppressive policy of low wages, high prices and unfair taxes. It was impossible to continue the Indochinese war without courting complete disaster there and giving impetus to upheavals in North Africa. And in Europe, the United States was pressing for a decision on EDC, while a resurgent Germany grew restless under the limitations on its sovereignty.

If a coalition on the Right was no longer possible, a coalition on the Left was equally impossible. By the common consent of all other parties, the Communist Party was excluded from participating in the formation of a government. The creation of a Left-Center coalition which would command a majority was excluded by the fact that while the Left-Wing of the MRP would have joined a coalition intent on a program of domestic reforms, it was firmly committed to EDC. The Socialist Party was completely split on this question as was the left-wing of the Radical Socialist Party.

The political conditions for the appearance of a “national savior” existed. Mendes-France was that man.
 

>On more than one occasion, Mendes-France has made clear he shares Churchill’s conviction that a profound change has taken place in Russian policy and that co-existence is possible. Mendes-France went to Geneva with that conviction and won the day. From the viewpoint of the French bourgeoisie, the first fruits of co-existence were fairly palatable. Instead of losing all of Indochina or risking a Third World War by continuing the struggle with American aid, Mendes-France saved half of Indochina for French imperialism. And it should not be forgotten that the larger part of French investments are concentrated in Cochin-China, the part still held by the French.

Having turned a national shame and imperial disaster into a personal and popular triumph, Mendes-France returned to Paris to begin the resolution of the most critical issue in French politics today – the question of the EDC Treaty.

In the cabinet discussions which took place around the amendments which Mendes-France was to take to the Brussels meeting of the EDC foreign ministers, he met his first crisis. Although the thirteen amendments were clearly designed to destroy the supranational character of the European Army, three Gaullist Ministers, led by the Minister of Defense, General Koenig, resigned in protest over their conciliatory character. Despite their resignation, Mendes-France could continue his type of struggle against EDC since he knew he had a majority in the cabinet and the National Assembly.

At the Brussels meeting, Mendes-France was adamant in his insistence that the chief amendments be adopted. It is worth pausing to describe their character. The first rejected the supranational character of the European Army, leaving France complete mistress of her armed forces. The second amendment demanded greater veto powers for France in the Council of Ministers, giving France a wider area of control over West Germany and the means to check the growth of her armed forces. The third insisted that the integration of armed units only take place in the “forward areas,” that is, West Germany. The final amendment made the life of the European Army dependent on the stay of British and American troops in Europe.

Did Mendes-France really believe his amendments would be accepted by the other countries associated in the EDC, above all, West Germany? That so realistic and sober a politician could be blind to the meaning of his proposals, all of them designed to tear the heart out of the European Army, is hard to believe.

What the Premier expressed first of all are the imperial interests of France. By retaining complete independence of her armed forces, France indicates that her interests do not run in exact parallel lines with those of the United States, which would like to subordinate the armed forces of her allies to her strategy in Western Europe. Second, there is the unconditional fear that France and her smaller neighbors cannot possibly control a rearmed West Germany. Both the insistence on a complete veto in the Council of Ministers and the linking of the European Army’s existence to the stay of American and British troops in West Europe underline French fears. Finally, one must point to the unpleasant element of national chauvinism in Mendes-France’s proposal that integrated units be stationed only in “forward areas.” With this proposal, Mendes-France provided fuel for German nationalists.

There was one unspoken amendment that Mendes-France did not make at the Brussels Conference, but to which he has alluded on other occasion: the hope for a Big-Power Conference with Russia to settle the German issue on lines that would satisfy French hopes and fears.

On August 30th, Mendes-France fulfilled another promise he had made on taking office: that he would force the National Assembly to decide the issue of EDC one way or another. By a vote of 319 to 264, the National Assembly voted to indefinitely postpone debate on the EDC Treaty, effectively killing it once and for all. Mendes-France himself played an effective part in defeating the treaty. On his return from Brussels, he made clear that he would not link his cabinet and himself to the fate of the treaty by calling for a vote of confidence on the issue.

By taking his thirteen amendments to Brussels, and by refusing to urge the passage of EDC, Mendes-France identified himself with the anti-EDC coalition of Stalinists, Gaullists, and dissident Socialists of the Moch-Mayer faction. What Mendes-France shares with these political elements is the belief that the creation of EDC would permit an armed Germany to dominate and drag a West European coalition after her in dangerous adventures to restore her territorial integrity and to recoup her lost lands beyond the Oder and Neisse. Furthermore, there is the desire to leave the door open for negotiations with Russia, a door that would be closed if Western Europe were organized under American aegis in a single, integrated European army.

Mendes-France declared in his speeches to the National Assembly that one of his reasons for forcing a vote on EDC was to heal the unnatural divisions that have fragmented the parties in the National Assembly on this issue and to permit him to create a stable parliamentary basis. He has insisted that his main concern is not EDC but his program of “national renovation.” His ambition is to carry out a series of domestic reforms that would permit France to play the role of a first-rate world power and of the dominant nation in Western Europe.

But in forcing the vote on EDC, Mendes-France did not heal the divisions which have fragmented the political parties. In reality, the manner in which the vote was forced only aggravated the antagonisms between the different groupings that have taken shape on EDC.

To carry out his program of economic reforms, Mendes-France needs the votes of the entire Socialist Party faction as well as of the left-wing of the MRP. But the entire MRP is committed to the EDC, and is now convinced that the premier has become the standard banner of the “neutralists” and the Stalinists. Instead of healing party divisions, the EDC vote aggravated them. In the case of the French Socialist Party, the Executive Committee expelled four of its leading members, Jules Moch, Daniel Mayer, P. Lapie and Max Lejeurne. It has also asserted that the fifty-three other members of the SP’s parliamentary faction which voted against EDC do not represent the party and cannot speak in its name. Will the Guy Mollet wing of the SP, which favors EDC, continue to support Mendes-France on his domestic and colonial program of reforms?

Premier Mendes-France has voiced his belief that Western Germany must be permitted to arm, and it is this view which separates him from the “neutralist” coalition which brought down EDC. What will happen if Mendes-France attempts to introduce a new treaty, proposing a loose military coalition or alliance, which would grant Western Germany this right? The Stalinists, the Gaullists and the dissident Moch-Mayer Socialists all passionately oppose any form of arming West Germany. On this issue, they would even vote down Mendes-France.
 

>The defeat of EDC by the French National Assembly marks a turning point in European and world politics. America’s Europe has been still-born and her strategy shattered. The six nations of Western Europe have not yet been converted into a single military force totally submissive to Washington’s dictates.

To that degree, the defeat of EDC represents an opportunity to work for the genuine unity of Western Europe, a Western Union based on the needs and aspirations of the people within its framework and independent of both power-blocs. Such a federation can be created only if socialists and democrats in England, France and Western Germany strive for its realization. A united and sovereign Germany must be fought for and brought to her rightful place within such a democratic union of nations.

The counter-proposals offered by Mendes-France are as reactionary as America’s original design for Western Eurpoe. Mendes-France remains a representative of his class and of its interests all conceived in the narrowest of national terms. The French program of “national renovation” is a challenge to the egotism of the German bourgeoisie, and can only excite the meanest of national rivalries.

As for the neutralists, their proposals are folly and delusion. Within this limited space it is impossible to deal with their ideas, except to note one central thought from which all others radiate: the delusion that coexistence and the stabilization of Europe can be purchased at Germany’s expense. A divided, disarmed or neutralized Germany is both monstrous and unrealistic. The German people cannot be denied either their sovereignty or their unity. And any political tendency which bases itself on this idea is preparing to feed the fires of nationalism and chauvinism in Germany.

September 14

 
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