Harold Macmillan and the origins of the 1961 British application to join the EEC.
This thesis seeks to show that the origins of the 1961 British application to join the
European Community lay primarily in the long standing personal commitment of Prime
Minister Harold Macmillan both to the idea of supranational European aaangemeats,
and to full British participation in them. It argues that fiom the beginning of his political
career in the late 1920's, Macmillan displayed a strong commitment to an
internationalist political philosophy dedicated to creating a new European and world
order that would transcend and replace the nation-states of Europe and their colonial
empires, and suppress European economic and political nationalism.
His work and close involvement with the leading promoters of this world view is
charted, including his membership of groups such as the Round Table, the Royal
Institute for International Affairs (RIIA), and Political and Economic Planning (PEP).
In particular, his active role in the establishment of the post 1945 European Movement
and in his consistent dedication to the creation of supranational European institutions, is
It is shown, moreover, that Macmillan maintained his European Movement connections
throughout his time in high political office, and it is advocated that they hold the key to
explaining the evolution of the application to join the European Community which he
orchestrated as British Prime Minister in July 1961. It is also argued, that a logical
manifestation of Macmillan's internationalist world view and commitment io European
supranational integration, was a long-standing sympathy with the ideas and methods of
the Soviet Union, and a belief that stable world management could be achieved as a
result of a close collaboration with it.