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  1. 1967: De Gaulle pulls France out of NATO’s integrated military structure.
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Username Password Forgot password? Shibboleth OpenAthens. Restore content access Restore content access for purchases made as guest. Article Purchase - Online Checkout. The fleet would be armed with Polaris missiles and its establishment would thus apply military integration to nuclear weapons. Uncertainty about the future of the North Atlantic Alliance will continue even if the fleet is built and accepted as part of the Alliance's armory. For, unless there is a clear intention by the United States to give the European members some control over the fleet's nuclear weapons, another source of anxiety would remain.

Two Strategies for Europe: De Gaulle, the U.S., and the Atlantic Alliance

This is most clearly stated by the French Government. This is what General de Gaulle meant when he talked of the uncertain protection of the United States. He and many others cannot believe that America would retaliate with nuclear weapons if, by so doing she invited Soviet attack upon her own cities. This is the rationale behind the building of France's nuclear force. It is the reason whytheidea of a European nuclear force, cooperating with the United States, has a growing appeal on the Continent.

Two Strategies for Europe : De Gaulle, the United States, and the Atlantic Al

The settlement of this issue is closely linked to another that troubles the Alliance. There is a school of thought that holds that Europe is defended, not by large and expensive ground and air forces aligned from Norway to Turkey, but by the American nuclear weapons. This being the case, the proponents of this school argue that politically it might be advisable to thin out the forces in Germany.

They reason that, if this was done, the Soviet Union would have no valid reason for maintaining its own forces in East Germany and elsewhere. Above all we have to maintain our independence, the basis of our foreign policy for the past half-century.

As part of its strategy of geopolitical synergy, www. Nevertheless, most European countries have believed, up to the present day, that their defence is the one provided for them by the United States, and many of them drew the conclusion that therefore no particular effort was required of them. The East European countries have reinforced this majority, since, even if they have joined Europe for the sake of prosperity, they still count on the United States—and hence on the Atlantic Alliance—for their security.

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There have of course been some achievements in the realm of European defence, but they are still limited. For General de Gaulle, and for those who followed him, sovereignty over our fundamental decisions was an absolute imperative. Independence does not mean isolation. Independence should be consolidated by an alliance, on condition that it is a genuine alliance between equal partners, and not mere membership of a bloc, with the dependence that that implies.

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With the refusal of the three-country directorate United States, United Kingdom and France that de Gaulle wanted, it seemed clear to him that the United States would simply do as it pleased, followed, as always, by the British. But, and this is the fundamental issue, France should never be tied to an integrated system if it can thereby be automatically committed to decisions other than those that correspond to its own vital interests and to its perception of world affairs.

It must always retain sovereignty over its fundamental decisions, and this concerns, in the first place, the military domain. But this determination to retain independence has never been to the exclusion of solidarity. From the moment that we withdrew from the integrated military structure, the Ailleret-Lemnitzer agreements defined the parameters of our military contribution.

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  • In recent years we have been present in a growing number of NATO military bodies, and participated in more and more military operations. But that should not jeopardise the non-automatic character of our commitments, a rule which was constantly reaffirmed.


    In the autumn of , the Americans wanted to reinforce and to structure economic cooperation between members in the NATO framework. Finding that things were moving too slowly, and irritated by the hesitations, notably of France, President Ronald Reagan, in a speech, gave the impression that everything was signed, sealed and delivered. After this retrospective, there are today a number of questions that need asking.