Simms: Americas held as the mirror to new Europe (12-30-42)

The Pittsburgh Press (December 30, 1942)

Simms: Americas held as the mirror to new Europe

Count Kalergi, disciple of Briand, gives outline for post-war election
By William Philip Simms, Scripps-Howard foreign editor

Washington –
Some sort of Pan-American union or United States of Europe is certain to be considered when “the guiding principles of this worldwide new democracy,” of which Vice President Henry Wallace spoke, are blueprinted in 1943.

What the Vice President seemed to see ahead of us was a new world organization composed of regional groups with regional responsibilities, like Pan-America. This dovetails with the Pan-American idea advocated by Count R. N. Coudenhove-Kalergi, president of the Pan-Europe Union, now of New York University.

Count Kalergi for years was an associate of the late Aristide Briand, many times Premier of France and leader of the movement for a United States of Europe. It never proved practicable in the French statesman’s lifetime. Count Kalergi, however, is convinced that it is practicable now, and several high Washington officials express agreement with him.

Workable formula

Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill is on record in favor of such a union.

He said in 1930:

The conception of a United States of Europe is right. Every step taken to that end which appeases the obsolete hatred and vanished oppressions, which makes easier the traffic and reciprocal services of Europe, which encourages its nations to lay aside their precautionary panoply is good in itself, is good for them and good for all.

Count Kalergi’s formula, as he explained it to me here, seemed to be workable. While Europe is under the control of the occupational forces of the United Nations, he suggests that an election be held in each of the countries to decide whether or not it favors a United States of Europe. A Pan-European constitutional assembly would then meet to put the federal idea into concrete form.

Worth a try

If the assembly fails, it would dissolve and peace would be concluded in the ordinary way. But if the majority of the assembly approved of the idea, it might then proceed with the framing of the European constitution and the negotiation of peace, along with the other members of the United Nations on the basis of the Atlantic Charter.

Such a United States of Europe, said the Count, would deprive Germany and the other continental nations of the power to produce arms, maintain aggressive armies and generally follow selfish foreign policies. That is about the only way in which Europe can be insured against the revival of German imperialism. For it must not be forgotten that only European dismemberment made it possible for the Nazis to crush their smaller neighbors one by one. In a united Europe, such a thing could not happen.

Worked here, he says

A return to the old European system of sovereign states, he declared, would be disastrous. After a short period of chaos and misery, a third world war would be inevitable.

Count Kalergi compared Europe with India. Both, he said, are subcontinents of Asia. Through Sir Stafford Cripps, the British government has proposed that immediately after hostilities case, steps be taken to set up an elected body charged with the task of framing a new constitution for India. Why, he asks, should not the United Nations do the same thing for Europe?

He does not seem to believe that either the Soviet Union or Great Britain would join, at least for the present. But he is optimistic concerning most of the others.


Is this a hint at the EU i.e the current one we have?

If this means throwing away the borders so that no European wars can occur, then what about countries that are poor say Spain, Portugal etc. What about the economies of those nations?


You could say that, yes. Not exactly, but still.


Yeah in a sense. It started also with the Marshall plan which included the cooperation requirement. The EU is far from perfect but in any case cooperation is better than these massive wars.

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