Latest reports from Metz Hospital, France, say that 74-year old Hobert Schuman, former French Premier and Foreign Minister, is making a good recovery.
Latest reports from Metz Hospital, France, say that 74-year old Hobert Schuman, former French Premier and Foreign Minister, is making a good recovery. He was found unconscious in a lane near his Metz home Jan 4 after police had scoured the countryside for the French statesman.
M. Schuman had left his house on his usual evening walk Jan 3, but it was not until early the following morning that his housekeeper noticed his absence. Police found him lying on the grass. His clothes were soaked by the heavy rain that had ???alled during the night. It is believed that he collapsed after a heart attack.
Born in Luxembourg in 1886, Robert Schuman grew up in Lorraine, at the time when it was part of Germany. Considered physically unfit for military service in 1914 German force, he was out of the conflict which ended in Lorraine being restored to France. In 1919 he entered French politics and remained a Deputy until the fall of France in June 1940. Before the German invasion he was Under-Secretary of State in charge of Refugees, a position he retained under Petain. His independent attitude soon annoyed the Germans, and he was arrested by the Gestabo and deported to Germany. Escaping from prison he joined an underground movement where he remained active until the end of the War.
He returned to politics after the liberation as a member of the newly-formed Christian Democrate Party and was again elected to Parliament. Premier Bidault appointed him Minister of Finance in 1964, where he remained until forming his own Government in 1917 at a time of nation wide strikes and disaster.He survived as Prime Minister for seven months, but returned to power at the head of another Government in 1948, which only lasted for three days.
In the next Cabinet he was Foreign Minister and continued to held office through a series of political upheavals and changing Governments. It was while as Foreign Minister that Schuman was recognized for his policy of closer collaboration between the nations of Western Europe and the United States. At the signing of the Atlantic pact in Washington in April 1949, he represented France. The following month he signed the Statute of the Council of Europe in St. James Palace, London.
Schuman laid the first practical foundations of a closer Western Europe in the sphere of economics in May 1950, when he put forward the "Schuman Plan". His idea was to end what he called the age-old rivalries between France and Germany and form a stronger united Europe. In 1951 a treaty was signed between the two nations which gave effect to this policy. When Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg joined this alliance Schuman was elected President of the European Parliamentary Assembly. It was from this alliance that the Common Market was formed.
Premier Faure brought Schuman into his 1955 Government as Minister of Justice, after he had been out of office for three years. This was the last position he held in any French Administration although he is still often consulted by Ministers who respect his views as France's senior statesman.
Among the many honours accorded M. Schuman were two top German awards. The Charlemagne Prize of the city of Aachen-awarded annually to "personages of merit who have promoted the idea of western unity by their political, economic, and literary endeavours," - in May 1958, and the Grand Cross of the Federal Republic's Order of Merit was presented by Federal President Heuss in June the following year.
Probably the highlight of M. Schuman's ambitions for a unified Europe came in January 1959, when he was re-elected President of the six-nation European parliamentary Assembly, the creation of which he was largely responsible.