Feeds

France and UK discussed 'merger'

Secret documents reveal 1950s talks

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.