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7th October, 2017
Heath's EEC Deception - 7
Despite all these, and many other warnings, Heath persisted in telling the British people the direct opposite. In his White Paper to parliament and in a pamphlet to the nation he wrote ‘There is no question of Britain losing essential national sovereignty.’ In the same pamphlet he asserted that ‘The British safeguards of habeas corpus and trial by jury will remain intact. So will the principle that a man is innocent until he has been proved guilty’. Both of these reassurances were lies.
Heath knew that the British people were opposed to the Common Market. A Tory poll found that 53% of voters were against joining with 32% in favour. Further, 62% of all voters and 59% of Tory voters wanted a referendum before making a decision. The results of this poll were suppressed.
In order to give the illusion of support Heath used the Information and Research Department of the Foreign Office in a campaign of misinformation. A programme of only pro-European letters were published in The Times. Only favourable European stories were presented in the ‘Today’ programme, ‘World at One’, ITN news and ‘News at Ten’. It is alleged that Jack Di Manio, a popular presenter on the ‘Today’ programme, was sacked because he disagreed with this propaganda campaign.
Sir Crispin Tickle, one of Heath’s negotiators, has admitted that the Government covered up the full implications of membership, saying the policy governed by the rule ‘Don’t talk about this in public’.
Realising that public opinion was against Common Market membership, Heath decided not to allow the British people a referendum and pushed the acceptance of the European Communities Act, through Parliament in 1972 with a tiny majority in favour.
In a BBC interview in 1990 Heath was asked if he had known all along that Britain was signing up to a federal European state, he replied, ‘Of course, yes’. Also hidden from the electorate was the fact that Heath gave away British sovereignty of its territorial fishing waters. Up to that point fishing had not been included in any treaties (it was not even mentioned in the Treaty of Rome). In the final weeks leading up to Britain becoming a signatory to the Treaty of Rome Heath used the fishing industry as a bargaining tool regardless of the consequences.
Cabinet papers (Scottish Office Memo – 9.11.70) eventually released in January 2001 revealed that ‘as the horrific implications of handing over our waters dawned on our MPs, Ministers and civil servants adopted a systematic policy of concealing what was happening. [Ministers considered] it vital not to get drawn into an explanation of what was going on or to admit what a disaster was in store for Britain’s fishermen [who] in the wider context must be regarded as expendable.’
(Sunday Telegraph 14.01.01).
At the same time that these matters were being kept secret Heath, in a Government White Paper to Parliament entitled ‘Britain and Europe’, was writing ‘the Government is determined to secure proper safeguards for the British fishing industry’.
In addition, Geoffrey Rippon, a Cabinet Minister and part of Heath’s negotiating team, told the Commons on 13.12.71, ‘We retain full jurisdiction over our coastal waters’. Although strictly true at the time, this was deliberately misleading. The British fishing industry immediately became subject to the EU Common Fisheries Policy resulting in the decimation of the industry and the destruction of some of the finest fishing waters in the Western world.
On the 1st of January, 1973 Britain became a member of the Common Market. The British people didn’t know it then but they had been signed up to membership of the European Union and becoming part of a federal European state. All this and they had never been asked if they wanted to join.
Such was Heath’s treachery
“Never in the field of British politics have so many been so betrayed by so few.”
Britain would be happy to scrap the pound, Heath told French
By Ben Fenton
Unknown to his political colleagues or the electorate, Edward Heath was prepared to take Britain into Europe with the full intention of seeking economic and political union, newly-released papers show.
The then prime minister told Georges Pompidou, the French president, that this country could never have a “satisfactory partnership” with America “even if Britain wanted it” because of the disparity of power between the transatlantic allies. The documents, released after a Freedom of Information Act request by the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, show that Sir Edward, as he later became, was at least as keen on monetary union as the French leader.
According to the official minutes of the summit, held in Paris in May 1971, he told Mr Pompidou that the British Government “did not regard sterling as an instrument of prestige nor did they feel sentimental about it”. He said he believed that members of the European Community, as it was then called, should move as soon as possible to “co-ordinate their monetary policies”.
After reading the papers, Lord Deedes, a former editor of The Daily Telegraph and a backbench MP at the time, said he and his fellow Tories would have been “astonished” and deeply disturbed if they had known what the prime minister had said in their names. “It goes to show the depth of his commitment to Europe,” Lord Deedes said. “But it also shows that all of his critics, especially Margaret Thatcher, who believed he was prepared to give away anything to get us in Europe, and keep us there, were absolutely right.”
Piers Ludlow, a senior lecturer in international history at the London School of Economics, said the papers filled in the final gap in our knowledge of how Britain persuaded the French to drop their opposition, begun by President Charles de Gaulle, to British membership of the EC. Dr Ludlow said he thought that voters at the time, and MPs on both sides of the House, would have been very concerned by the positions Sir Edward took on relations with America and on the ideas of political and monetary union.The official record quotes him, in indirect speech, as saying: “It was sometimes said that Britain only sought partnership with the United States.
“His frank reply was that there could be no satisfactory partnership, even if Britain wanted it, between two powers one of which was barely a quarter the size of the other. “In Europe, on the other hand, such a partnership was possible with countries of the same size and within a European Community applying the same rules and working to the same principles.”
Sir Edward’s view of Britain’s role in the world was made clear at the outset of the summit and would not sit comfortably on the lips of a current Tory leader. “Historically, Britain had always been part of Europe. “It was only during the past 25 years that it had come to seem as if our natural connection might be with the United States. “But we were in fact still part of Europe; and his Government were giving evidence of this in the extent to which they were orienting their policies so as to bring them into line with the European Community.”
The files can be seen at www.margaretthatcher.org/RECORD/eec.htm
US blamed rift with Britain on ‘Gaullist’ Heath
By James Langton
A top secret United States diplomatic telegram has revealed that Washington feared a serious deterioration of the “special relationship” under Edward Heath and blamed the rift with Britain on the Conservative prime minister’s “anti-American feeling”. The Tory leader, who negotiated Britain’s membership of the EEC – the forerunner of the European Union – was “a kind of British Gaullist, with a bias towards France and a receptivity to long-standing French arguments”, according to America’s senior official in London.
Walter Annenberg, the US ambassador, supplied the account of Heath’s pro-European stance in a classified briefing to Henry Kissinger, President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, in November 1973. The telegram is one of thousands made public by the US State Department last week, more than 30 years after it was sent. It reveals deep reservations within the Nixon administration about the Tory prime minister and his impact on relations with Washington.
“The ‘special’ quality of the Anglo-American relationship has been more apparent than real for some time,” Annenberg reported. “Heath is the architect of British policy in all its dimensions,” he continued. “He is unsentimental about Anglo-American relations.”
In contrast with Sir Alec Douglas-Home, the previous Tory prime minister and then foreign secretary, the telegram said, Heath has “a strain of anti-American feeling”.
Another telegram tantalisingly hinted that the US ambassador may have had a mole inside the Labour government, elected the following year, who enabled Annenberg to give Washington an account of sensitive attempts by James Callaghan, then foreign secretary, to renegotiate the terms of Britain’s EEC membership. The ambassador referred to “a reliable and knowledgeable Labour Party source close to Foreign Secretary Callaghan” who, he said, had provided “an additional titbit on Callaghan’s private meeting with Chancellor Brandt in Bonn [on] March 21.”
Annenberg, a Republican powerbroker, was appointed by President Nixon in 1970 and blamed the deteriorating diplomatic relationship under Heath on Britain’s exclusion from talks between the US and China and the Soviet Union. Nixon’s announcement that he would end years of hostility to China by making a state visit was not well received by Britain, which believed that it should have been consulted in advance because of its Hong Kong colony.
By contrast, in a report a year later about Labour’s new foreign secretary, the ambassador writes: “From the first, Callaghan enjoined his officials to adopt a positive approach to all dealings with the United States and in doing so clearly had the approval of Prime Minister Wilson.”