Feeds

France and UK discussed 'merger'

Secret documents reveal 1950s talks

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Be prepared to choke your beef and oyster pie of Olde England: previously-secret documents at the National Archive reveal how in 1956 the French Prime Minister travelled to London to propose a possible merger between the two countries.

On 10 September, Anglophile Guy Mollet made the suggestion to his Brit counterpart Sir Anthony Eden, the Telegraph reports. At the time "France was in economic difficulties and faced the escalating Suez crisis", the paper notes.

A Cabinet paper reveals: "When the French Prime Minister, Monsieur Mollet, was recently in London he raised with the Prime Minister the possibility of a union between the United Kingdom and France."

The British quickly kicked this idea into touch. Mollet then came back to the table with a back-up plan: that France should join the Commonwealth. Eden apparently liked this scheme, and a document dated 28 September 1956 records a conversation between him and his cabinet secretary, Sir Norman Brook:

"Sir Norman Brook asked to see me this morning and told me he had come up from the country consequent on a telephone conversation from the Prime Minister, who is in Wiltshire.

"The PM told him on the telephone that he thought in the light of his talks with the French: That we should give immediate consideration to France joining the Commonwealth; That Monsieur Mollet had not thought there need be difficulty over France accepting the headship of her Majesty; That the French would welcome a common citizenship arrangement on the Irish basis."

Sacre Bleu. Quite whether the French would have received the proposal with enthusiasm is open to debate. In any case, once Britain pulled out of Suez, "all talk of union faded away". A year later France "signed the Treaty of Rome with Germany and the other founding nations of the Common Market" and the happy bands of brothers we now call the EU was born. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.