FCO 30/1048 How Whitehall thought British public TOO STUPID to be trusted with EU decision
A SECRET document prepared for pro-Europe Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath shows how the Foreign Office knew EU membership would dismantle Britain as a sovereign nation.
PUBLISHED: 09:01, Fri, Nov 24, 2017 | UPDATED: 17:35, Fri, Nov 24, 2017
Former Prime Minister Edward Heath assured the British that Britain will retain its sovereignty in the EEC after signing a Treaty with the EEC. But it was a lie.
More damningly, in line after line, the faceless Whitehall mandarins behind the astonishing briefing paper FCO 30/1048 actively welcome Britain’s decline and Europe’s predominance.
The briefing paper acknowledges that Britain would in time become little more than a puppet state of Brussels, after ceding judicial and executive powers to the fledgling EU – then called the EEC.
But, instead of sounding alarm bells, the authors of the paper warn ministers to hide the truth from the British public.
Crispin Tickell, Heath’s henchman, told all MPs they must not discuss the implications of joining the EEC with their constituents.
But damningly for Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath, and all those who kept quiet about the findings in the early 70s, the document, known as FCO30/1048, was locked away under Official Secrets Act rules for almost five decades.
The classified paper, dated April 1971, even suggested the Government should keep the British public in the dark about what EEC membership means predicting that it would take 30 years for voters to realise what was happening by which time it would be too late to leave.
Bizarrely FCO 30/1048 reads more like an educated anarchists’ guide to crushing Britain’s political standing on the world stage than the sober briefing of civil service pillars of the British establishment.
Faceless Whitehall mandarins behind the astonishing briefing paper FCO 30/1048 actively welcome Britain’s decline and Europe’s predominance
The language suggests repeatedly that the British people are too stupid to grasp the implications of joining the EEC (which became the EU in 1993) and that indeed this stupidity could be used against them to hide the truth until it was essentially too late to do anything about it.
Again and again they assert that Britain’s parliament will be sidelined and that, sooner rather than later, there will be a United States of Europe with a single currency.
Here we read between the lines of the most damning paragraphs of the FCO 30/1048 and explain what the writers really meant:
The paper starts with a academic discussion of sovereignty – arguing that sovereignty is not necessarily a good thing.
By page five we are left in no doubt as to the author’s position on sovereignty as he writes:
“Sovereignty is a technical concept with in many ways only limited bearing on the questions of power and influence that form the normal preoccupation of foreign policy.”
And after some rambling paragraphs about the Queen having sole sovereign law making power in Britain he cuts to the chase saying:
“Membership of the Communities will involve us in extensive limitations upon our freedom of action.”
The first acknowledgement that Britain was about to transfer significant powers to Europe.
European leaders attended a lecture at the European Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden
A few paragraphs later he confirms this saying: “we shall be accepting an external legislature which regards itself as having direct powers of legislating with effect within the United Kingdom, even in derogation of United Kingdom statutes, and as having in certain fields exclusive legislative competence, so that our own legislature has none.”
And further the authors not only concede the handing over of power but that this is a no-going back deal:
“we shall be accepting that the Commission will jointly represent the member states, who to that extent will have their individual international negotiating powers limited; and we shall in various fields be accepting a wide degree of coordination of our policy with that of the rest of the Community. All of this we shall be accepting “for an unlimited period,” with no provision for withdrawal.
In a clumsy attempt to diminish the massive changes to the way Britain is governed the writer says: “Overall it is clear that membership of the Community in its present form would involve only limited diminution of external sovereignty in practice.”
But just a page later the author makes it crystal clear that it is just a matter of time before Europe starts eating away at Britain’s ability to govern itself saying: “The loss of external sovereignty will however increase as the Community develops, according to the intention of the preamble to the Treaty of Rome ‘to establish the foundations of an even closer union among the European peoples’.”
Paragraph 12(I) is one of the most damning – as it clearly details the way in which EU law will trample over British law. But that this must be kept from the common knowledge of the British people.
He writes: “By accepting the Community Treaties we shall have to adapt the whole range of subsidiary law which has been made by the Communities. Not only this but we shall be making provision in advance for the unquestioned direct application (i.e. without any further participation by Parliament) of Community laws not yet made (even though Ministers would have a part, through membership of the Council, in the making of some of these laws). Community law operates only in the fields covered by the Treaties, viz, customs duties; agriculture; free movement of labour; services and capital; transport; monopolies and restrictive practices; state aid for industry; and the regulation of the coal and steel and nuclear energy industries. Outside this considerable range there would remain unchanged by far the greater part of our domestic law.
“Community law is required to take precedence over domestic law: i.e. if a Community law conflicts with a statute, it is the statute which has to give way. This is something not implied in other commitments which we have entered into in the past. Previous treaties have imposed on us obligations which have required us to legislate in order to fulfil the international obligations set out in the treaty, but any discrepancy between our legislation and the treaty obligations has been solely a question of a possible breach of those international obligations the conflicting statute has still undoubtedly been the law to be applied in this country. But the community system requires that such Community Law as applies directly as law in this country should by virtue of its own legal force as law in this country prevail over conflicting national legislation.”
Clause III adds with shocking prescience that the seismic legal shift would in effect be creating a federal law in a United States of Europe. And this was 46 years ago, back in 1971.
He writes: “The power of the European Court to consider the extent to which a UK statute is compatible with Community Law will indirectly involve an innovation for us, as the European Court’s decisions will be binding on our courts which might then have to rule on the validity or applicability of the United Kingdom statute.
The Law Officers have emphasised that in accepting Community Law in this country we shall need to make it effective as part of a new and separate legal order, distinct from, but co-existing side by side with, the law of the United Kingdom. They have referred to the basic European Communities Treaty provisions as amounting “in effect to a new body of ‘Federal’ statute law.”
Next he deals with the reality of the homogenising of British life into European life and says:
“In lay terms we may say that if Britain joined the Community there would be many implications for both external and internal (particularly parliamentary) sovereignty. Some of these would be wholly novel, and the general effect particularly in the longer turn would be of more pervasive and wide-ranging change than with any earlier commitments. Largely this is because the Community treaties when drawn up were seen as arrangements not merely for collaboration but for positive integration of large parts of the economic and social life of the Member States. As a result the conventional theoretical line dividing internal from external affairs has become blurred, a process which as we have seen is already advancing with the development of transnational economic activity.”
The patronising tone deepens further as the writer suggests Britain is populated by xenophobes who have a large ‘mistrust of foreigners.’ He bizarrely quotes novelist Nancy Mitford saying: “Nancy Mitford’s Uncle Matthew was not alone in considering that: “Abroad is hell and foreigners are fiends.”
15.(i) National Identity: “We are all deeply conscious through tradition, upbringing and education of the distinctive fact of being British. Given our island position and long territorial and national integrity, the traditional relative freedom from comprehensive foreign, especially European, alliances and entanglements, this national consciousness may well be stronger than that of most nations.
“When “sovereignty” is called into question in the debate about entry to the Community, people may feel that it is this “Britishness” that is at stake. Hence Mr Rippon’s pointed question “are the French any less French?” for their membership. There is another, less attractive, aspect of this national pride. This is the large measure of dislike and mistrust of foreigners that persists in Britain. Nancy Mitford’s Uncle Matthew was not alone in considering that: “Abroad is hell and foreigners are fiends.”
(iii) Remoteness of the Bureaucracy: It is generally acknowledged that in modern industrialised society the impersonal and remote workings of the Government bureaucracy are sources of major anxiety and mistrust. The operations of democracy seem decreasingly fitted to control the all-embracing regulatory activities of the Civil Service. In entry to the Community we may seem to be opting for a system in which bureaucracy will be more remote (as well as largely foreign) and will operate in ways many of which are already determined and which are deeply strange to us. This bureaucracy is by common consent more powerful than compared with the democratic systems of the Community than is ideal. Yet the way to remedy this balance without reducing the Community to a mere standing association for negotiation between national Ministers is by strengthening the Community’s democratic processes which in turn means more change and more “loss of sovereignty.”
The following paragraph iv is so damningly anti-British it reads like the ramblings of some pseudo Guy Burgess type Oxbridge communist attacking, as it does, Britain’s idea she has any power on the world stage as fantasy.
National Power: As explained in paragraph 6 above, questions of power and influence have a close popular connection with ideas of sovereignty. The British have long been accustomed to the belief that we play a major part in ordering the affairs of the world and that in ordering our own affairs we are beholden to none. Much of this is mere illusion. As a middle power we can proceed only by treaty, alliance and compromise. So we are dependent on others both for the effective defence of the United Kingdom and also for the commercial and international financial conditions which govern our own economy. But this fact though intellectually conceded, is not widely or deeply understood; instinctive attitudes derive from a period of greater British power. Joining the Community does strike at these attitudes: it is a further large step away from what is thought to be unfettered national freedom and a public acknowledgement of our reduced national power; moreover, joining the Community institutionalises in a single, permanent coalition the necessary process of accommodation and alliance over large areas of policy, domestic as well as external. Even though these areas may be less immediately relevant to survival than defence, as covered by NATO, the form of the Community structure and the intentions explicit in the preamble to the Treaty of Rome emphasise the merging of national interests.”
In a section that could have been written 46 minutes ago rather than 46 years ago he deals with the inevitable – and welcome – single currency, and the prospect of an EU army.
He writes: “…but it will be in the British interest after accession to encourage the development of the Community toward an effectively harmonised economic, fiscal and monetary system and a fairly closely coordinated and consistent foreign and defence policy. This sort of grouping would bring major politico/economic advantages but would take many years to develop and to win political acceptance. If it came to do so then essential aspects of sovereignty both internal and external would indeed increasingly be transferred to the Community itself.”
Towards the end the anti-British, pro-Europe rhetoric is in full flow, accepting Britain’s notion of itself as an independent state would be completely dismantled. Britain would be a European state, its Parliament neutered.
“19…then over a wide range of subjects (trade, aid, monetary affairs and most technological questions) Community policies toward the outside world would be common or closely harmonised. Although diplomatic representation would remain country by country its national role would be much diminished since the instructions to representatives would have been coordinated among member states. By the end of the century with effective defence and political harmonisation the erosion of the international role of the member states could be almost complete. This is a far distant prospect; but as members of the Community our major interests may lie in its progressive development since it is only when the Western Europe of which we shall be a part can realise its full potential as a political as well as economic unit that we shall derive full benefits from membership.”
- …of the functions of the Community could probably only take place with concomitant development of the institutions of the Community. It is hard to envisage the necessary decisions being taken under the present organisation of the Community; more effective decision-making at Community level would either require majority voting on an increasing range of issues in the Council or stronger pressures to reach quick decisions by consensus. In either case the role of the Commission would become more important as the Community became responsible for the regulation of wider areas of the internal affairs of the member states and this would in turn increase the need to strengthen the democratic institutions of the Community, including perhaps a directly elected Parliament. In that event the development of a prestigious and effective directly elected Community Parliament would clearly mean the consequential weakening of the British Parliament as well as the erosion of ‘parliamentary sovereignty’.”
FCO 30/1048 even predicts Michel Barnier’s current attempt to bully and punish Britain for having the temerity to leave the EU saying member states would probably nominally have the ability to leave until about the year 2000, but such a move would have increasingly damaging economic consequences for the defector.”
And in yet another sideswipe at the British public he says it will be important for politicians to deal with – or cover-up – “anxieties about British power and influence (masquerading under the term sovereignty) by presenting the choice between the effect of entry and on Britain’s power and influence in a rapidly changing world.”
And the pressing need to cover-up the realities goes on in the next paragraph where he writes:
“After entry there would be a major responsibility on HMG and on all political parties not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular measures or unfavourable economic developments to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community. This counsel of perfection may be the more difficult to achieve because these same unpopular measures may sometimes be made more acceptable if they are put in a Community context, and this technique may offer a way to avoid the more sterile forms of inter-governmental bargaining. But the difference between on the one hand explaining policy in terms of general and Community-wide interest and, on the other, blaming membership for national problems is real and important.”
Finally, in conclusion, the writers concede openly that Parliament will be made effectively redundant saying:
“To control and supervise this process it will be necessary to strengthen the democratic organisation of the Community with consequent decline of the primacy and prestige of the national parliaments.”