On 11 December 1952, referring to the plan for a European Political Community (EPC), Johan Willem Beyen, Netherlands Minister for Foreign Affairs, sends his European colleagues a memorandum in which he proposes the establishment of a tariff community that would lead to the gradual abolition of all customs duties on imports and to the introduction of a common external tariff.
On 14 February 1953, Jan Willem Beyen, Netherlands Foreign Minister, outlines to his counterparts from the Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) the proposals of the Netherlands Government regarding economic and political cooperation among the Six which are to form the basis of the May 1955 Benelux memorandum on the revival of European integration.
On 5 May 1953, Johan Willem Beyen, Netherlands Foreign Minister, sends a letter to his counterparts in the Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in which he outlines the means for establishing general, rather than sectoral, economic integration in order to establish progressively a genuine common market in Europe.
On 24 March 1955, drawing the appropriate conclusions from the failure of the European Defence Community (EDC), Johan Willem Beyen, Netherlands Foreign Minister, submits a note to his government colleagues in which he advocates reviving European integration through a joint Benelux initiative for a wider common market.
On 16 April 1955, the French Ambassador to the Netherlands, Jean-Paul Garnier, sends the French Foreign Ministry the translation of a press release by Dutch Foreign Minister Johan Willem Beyen. The Ambassador goes on to comment on the fact that the Dutch government is counting on support, including that of the French government, for the revival of European economic integration.
On 20 April 1955, shortly before the publication of the ‘Beyen Plan’, the French Ambassador to the Netherlands, Jean-Paul Garnier, informs his government of the ongoing discussions within the Netherlands Government and between the Netherlands and Belgian Governments on the plans for a revival of European integration. Public information remains limited, but the Ambassador is hoping for further details after the forthcoming meeting between the Dutch Foreign Minister Johan Willem Beyen and his Belgian counterpart Paul-Henri Spaak.
On 28 March 1955, the Netherlands Council of Ministers examines the proposal of Foreign Minister Johan Willem Beyen, whose note of 24 March recommended that the Benelux countries adopt a joint initiative for general economic integration in Europe.
On 20 April 1955, a note from the General Directorate of Economic and Financial Affairs in the French Foreign Ministry outlines the possible economic and political consequences of the European integration process for France. Referring to a study by the Economic Commission for Europe, the note analyses the potential effects with regard to deindustrialisation and falling living standards for French workers, and also the possible risks for agriculture. In political terms, the concern is that European integration will lead to a return of German political and economic hegemony.
On 23 April 1955, a telegram from the French General Directorate of Economic and Financial Affairs outlines the nature of the discussions that took place during an unofficial meeting held at the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) on the recent plans for European integration in the area of transport and energy. The exchange of views particularly focused on the appropriate framework for cooperation in the field of energy.
On 22 and 25 April 1955, as debates take place on the revival of the European idea, two meetings are held at the French Foreign Ministry to examine the areas in which progress might be made with a view to future European cooperation. The discussions focus on energy and transport, including the new fields of atomic energy and aviation as well as the traditional sectors of coal, electricity, gas and oil.
On 26 April 1955, Jean Rivière, French Ambassador to Brussels, sends French Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay a telegram in which he reports on a meeting he had with Paul-Henri Spaak, Belgian Foreign Minister, concerning the question of the European revival.
On 29 April 1955, an internal note from the General Directorate of Economic and Financial Affairs in the French Foreign Ministry offers a critical analysis of the proposals in the Beyen Plan, which recommends general economic integration in Europe on the basis of a common market.
On 2 May 1955, a note from the General Directorate of Economic and Financial Affairs within the French Foreign Ministry examines the advantages and difficulties of sectoral economic integration as opposed to overall integration. The option for overall integration in Europe, as proposed in the ‘Beyen Plan’, poses several challenges in the areas of customs tariffs, relations with overseas territories and monetary questions.
On 6 May 1955, Jean-Paul Garnier, French Ambassador to the Netherlands, informs the French Foreign Affairs minister, Antoine Pinay, of a meeting he held with the British Ambassador to the Netherlands, Sir Paul Mason, during which the British Ambassador expressed the UK’s hesitations over the ‘Beyen Plan’.
In his memoirs, Johan Willem Beyen, former Netherlands Foreign Minister, outlines the nature and objectives of the Netherlands’ February 1953 memorandum on economic and political cooperation among the Six.
In his memoirs, Johannes Linthorst Homan, former Head of the Netherlands Delegation during the intergovernmental negotiations on the Common Market and Euratom, recalls the international situation prevailing when, on 14 February 1953, Johan Willem Beyen, Netherlands Foreign Minister, forwards to his counterparts from the other five Member States a memorandum in which he proposes horizontal European economic integration instead of sectoral integration.
At the conference held from 25 to 28 March 1987 in Rome to mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom), Charles Rutten, former Secretary of the Netherlands Delegation for the intergovernmental negotiations on the European Defence Community (EDC), on the EEC and on Euratom, considers the activities of Johan Willem Beyen, Netherlands Foreign Minister at the time, with particular regard to the revival of the European integration process through the establishment of a Common Market.
In this interview, Charles Rutten, former member of the Netherlands Delegation to the intergovernmental negotiations on the European Defence Community (EDC), the European Economic Community (EEC) and Euratom, recalls the work of Johan Willem Beyen, Netherlands Foreign Minister between 1952 and 1956, with particular regard to the revival of European integration, after the failure of EDC, with the establishment of a comprehensive common market.
In this interview, Edmund Wellenstein, official in the Private Office of the Queen of the Netherlands from 1947 to 1950 then Head of the ‘Germany’ Division and Director-General for European Affairs in the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1950 and 1952, describes the doctrinal position of former Foreign Ministers Dirk Stikker and Johann Willem Beyen with regard to the European integration process.