14. Mai 1953: Desire for Integration with the West

By Dr. Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

"Inspired by the resolve to preserve its national and political unity and to serve world peace as an equal partner in a united Europe, the Germans people ..." This words stand at the head of the preamble to the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. They enshrine, in a succinct and unvarnished form, the programme of the Federal Republic in the field of foreign policy.

The Basic Law - the constitution of our faith - was the work of all the democratic parties, and was approved by them. Thus, the goals set for its foreign policy were recognized not by the present Government parties alone. Rather, the Basic Law expresses a conception which in very truth inspired the whole German people - namely, that its unity and a better future for all Germany can be realized only within a European union grounded in common interests an ideals.

National Adjustments

This conviction rests on the recognition, forced upon the consciousness of the broad masses, that the European national States re not in a position to preserve each for itself the welfare, freedom, and peace of their citizens. The evolution and the form of the common life of nations must be adjusted to technical advance. That is possible only when nations combine in international and supra-national communities.

The conviction is not only a consequence of defeat. Nor is it a consequence of Soviet pressure. The history of the European movement goes back to before the first world war. In advance of their age and generation, those who were aware and awake perceived that nationalism was out of date spiritually, politically, and economically. Nationalism was no longer able even to recognize the phenomena of our time, much less to find a solution for them.

After the first world war the attempt was made to translate this recognition into practical politics. We know that the attempt finally failed, notwithstanding the great efforts of eminent men. All of us know that might and power politics led the world to a new universal catastrophe and brought Germany herself to the very brink of total destruction.

A Higher Union

The teaching of history has been heeded. Above all, the younger generation, rejecting every form of nihilism, has taken up as its own cause the European idea as herald of the future. Moreover, it has become ever clearer that the man who loves his homeland and is a good patriot in precisely he who sees that the fulfilment of his desires and his hopes for his country can be assured only in al higher union which is more than the sum of its parts and which dedicates national strength to the good of the community - a community which, in turn, opens up to each partner the wide domain of the whole union.

The impelling spiritual, economic, and political reasons for European integration are so manifest that the desirability, and, indeed, the necessity, of such integration is everywhere acknowledged. Public opinion in all countries of the continent in which freedom of rule obtains demands a European union. In this respect the people are ahead of their Governments. Opinions differ how best to bring about European integration, and the controversy is still in full swing.

Here we have to face the following facts. Six nations - France, Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg - have agreed, by the renunciation of sovereign rights, to build supra-national communities. The first step along the road has been taken in the realm of coal and steel because here it was a matter of calculable modalities unfettered by hampering emotional considerations. M. Robert Schuman and his friends in the six countries knew, however, that the first step would inevitably involve further steps. The extension of the principle of supra-national cooperation to other fields would logically lead to political and, finally, to military integration.

The Communist aggression in Korea, however, constrained the western world to turn to the raising of adequate defences with all speed. The western allies posed the question of the necessity for a German contribution, and answered it in the affirmative. We categorically pledge ourselves to ensuring that the solution of this problem should also serve the cause of European unity. For that reason we decided in favour of the European Defence Community. That is the guarantee of internal peace within Europe and its shield against the outside.

Military Questions

The bitter necessity of applying ourselves to military questions has, however, made our political projects more pressing than ever. In the meantime our labours for bringing about the Political Community have progressed so far that there is a justified prospect that both the Defence Community and the Political Community will come into being almost simultaneously.

Our critics have held it against us that we were building "a little Europe". In truth, the six countries already formed the nucleus of European integration, which has found further expression in, for example, the Council of Europe and the O.E.E.C. This community is open to every European country which wishes to join and acknowledges its principles. The nucleus does not hamper but facilitates further integration. It has made it possible that, by the way of association, practically every degree of cooperation can be achieved without difficulty. There are no doctrinaire inhibitions. We respect the attitude of wait-and-see which Britain has adopted towards supra-national cooperation. Her attitude is to be explained by her position in the Commonwealth. The cooperation of the communities with Britain is, however, a striking example of the wealth of practical possibilities of working among one another and for one another by the method of association.

The European Community needs this cooperation; for only so will it have the prospect of enduring stability, when it has the blessing of the whole free world.

Quelle: The Times vom 14. Mai 1953.