On 24 January 1956, General Pierre Gaston Billotte, French Minister for National Defence and the Armed Forces, sends a confidential letter to Edgar Faure, President of the French Council, and to Antoine Pinay, French Foreign Minister, in which he emphasises the need for France to be militarily independent in terms of nuclear weapons, irrespective of its commitments within Euratom.
A few days before the beginning of the diplomatic Val Duchesse Conference on the preparations for the Rome Treaties, Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, French Defence Minister, makes Christian Pineau, his counterpart at the French Foreign Ministry, aware of his determination to safeguard France’s freedom to manufacture nuclear weapons independently of its accession to Euratom.
‘Regular portions of nuclear weapons’. In August 1958, the image of a French cockerel fed on nuclear weapons by a soldier, a businessman and a conman symbolises what the Soviet press considers to be the ultimate objective of France’s policy: acquiring nuclear weapons.
‘The atomic miracle. “Before, I was ignored. Now, …”’ In February 1960, the German cartoonist, Fritz Behrendt, illustrates France’s new status on the international stage after the explosion, on 13 February at Reggane in the Algerian Sahara, of the first French atomic bomb.
‘Both feet firmly in the clouds.’ On 27 October 1960, the German cartoonist, Pi, takes an ironic look at the political and military ambitions of General de Gaulle, President of the French Republic, after the explosion, on 13 February at Reggane in the Algerian Sahara, of the first French atomic bomb.
‘Gloria in Excelsis Charlo’. On 10 January 1963, parodying the birth of Christ in Bethlehem and the scene of the ‘Adoration of the Magi’, cartoonist Esenti illustrates the importance of French nuclear deterrence in the eyes of General de Gaulle. In line with the basic principle of independence that underpins French defence policy, this gives France its own nuclear strike force that is fully independent from the United States. From left to right, US President John F. Kennedy, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer are depicted as the Magi at the cradle of the divine child, full of admiration for France’s achievement.
In an article published in the French daily newspaper Le Monde on 20 July 1963, Maurice Faure, leader of the French Radical Party, speculates on the real deterrent capability of the national strike force.
In January 1957, the Milanese daily newspaper Il nuovo Corriere della Sera comments on the remarks made by the American, Robert McKinney, President of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, regarding the importance of nuclear energy for Western Europe.
In 1957, inspired by the creation of the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom), Francis Perrin, French High Commissioner for Atomic Energy, extols the apparent virtues of the industrial and domestic use of the atom. Advertisements are included in the brochure on the peaceful use of the atom.
On 15 and 16 November 1958, the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung outlines the benefits of nuclear power and emphasises how important it is for Western Europe to respond efficiently to the increased demand for energy.
On 1 March 1962, the Frenchman Pierre Chatenet, President of the Commission of the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC), gives an interview to the French daily newspaper Le Monde in which he outlines the objectives of Euratom’s second five-year plan.
In 1962, at the Seattle World’s Fair, Pierre Chatenet, President of the Commission of the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom), explains to his US audience what Euratom is and the importance of atomic energy for Europe.
On 22 January 1964, in Brussels, Pierre Chatenet, President of the Euratom Commission, delivers a lecture to the Belgian Royal Institute for International Relations (IRRI) on the advantages and dangers of nuclear energy.