Prime Minister speaks to the nation about the Schuman Plan for a European Economic Union.
MS and CUs of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and President of the Board of Trade, Peter Thorneycroft. Macmillan speaks to camera: "There has been a lot of public discussion lately about developments which are taking place among the countries of Western Europe towards a closer economic association. And the great problem has been much discussed of what we're to do about it in this country. Now that's one of the things that I have been talking about together with my colleague Mr.Thorneycroft, the President of the Board of Trade, when we met the finance ministers of the Common- wealth countries in Washington last week". C.U. "Now the background to all this really is the movement to get more trade, that's what we all want. And all British governments since the war have taken a part in this and particularly through the work so far as European Trade is concerned of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation in Europe. Now a new stage has been reached and what is happening in this. Six of the countries, what are called "The Brussels Powers", France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg, have been working out details for what is called "A Customs Union" and they try to form that between themselves, that would mean a complete elimination of tariffs between these six countries for the next 10 or 12 or 15 years. So what we have been trying to do is to see whether there is any way in which we can associate with Europe to get the advantage of freer trade in Europe and at the same time preserve and develop the great trading links between the Commonwealth. Now that's the problem! Well now, it's obvious if we could get the advantages of a great trading area of the whole of Western Europe, 250,000,000 people or something of that kind. But that's going to be a tremendous strength to us and to the whole of the free world because now days it's the big units that matter and to get big units of production you have got to get big markets. That's how the great large scale of production of the United States has been built up and that's how I have no doubt the large scale production of Soviet Russia has been built up.
Now one form of association which we have been studying is what is called the partial free trade area. It would consist of the Customs Union of the Sixth associated with us and other 10 or 11 or any number that may come in of the other European countries in such a free trade area. We would of course have the right to preserve our own tariff arrangements against other countries, who are not members of the free trade area, and that's the difference between the Free Trade area, it's rather complicated, is the difference between that and the Customs Union. We would have the right to maintain our tariff arrangements against other countries." SCU. "Government has not reached final decision, and will not reach them until it's completed all its studies and even then it's a question of giving our delegates in these discussions to go ahead with a view to trying to find out a plan which will work on these lines. Whether it will succeed or not or whether we should decide to go into it or not, I can't tell you. I think there are great dangers but it is a constructive, creative plan and it may be that we have found a way to harmonise our two great ranges of duties, responsibilities and interests. That is our position as the great European power that we are and our still greater position as the head of the great Commonwealth. Thank you."