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7th October, 2017

Heath's EEC Deception

Having previously published extracts from FCO:30/1048, we have decided to publish the full version with annotations by Richard North and first published by theeuroprobe .org in 2012, and available, along with many other EU related articles on their website - to provide perspective for the "Withdrawal Bill" currently being debated in Parliament  - and to highlight the continuation of Heath's deception and treachery by some of our current elected Representatives- mostly on the political left, including Labour, the LibDems, Greens, Plaid Cymru and the statist SNP.

2012-003 Edward Heath and a letter from the Foreign & Commonwealth office 1972

Posted on 18 September, 2012 | 4 Comments

The 1971 Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO:30/1048) letter to Ted Heath stating in no uncertain terms that the  then so called Common Market was, in fact, a deceitful ploy to transfer UK sovereignty to Brussels. When he said in parliament and to the British people that it was nothing more than a trading arrangement he was lying and he knew he was lying.

In 1972 Edward Heath said that the EU was only a COMMON MARKET. “There are some in this country who fear that going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified. Thus he deceived the UK into joining the EU. He was lying and he knew perfectly well at the time he was lying.

When challanged later as to why he lied he said ‘the British public are too stupid to be involved in governing themselves’.  So there!
                                                 Sovereignty and the European Communities

FCO 30/1048  A document kept secret from the British public until it that came to light under the 30 year rule.

Annotated by: Richard North – 17 February 2002

The truth is out: 1975 referendum, voters were DUPED

SECRET Cabinet documents released from Whitehall this week gave a fascinating insight into the way voters were duped in the run-up to the 1975 referendum on Britain’s links with Europe. The Foreign Office papers were declassified following a year-long freedom of information battle by the Eurosceptic pressure group Britain for Business. And they reveal that official advice given to ministers in Harold Wilson’s Labour government about the full impact on the country of joining the European Economic Community, the forerunner to today’s European Union, was not disclosed to the public.

Ministers were warned that the lawmaking powers of the Brussels bureaucracy would lead to “a gross infringement of the sovereignty” of the Westminster Parliament.
And a senior official told Mr Wilson, who was then prime minister, that transferring powers to the Brussels-based European Commission threatened the “most serious attack on Parliamentary democracy with which this country was faced”.

These disturbing revelations raise fresh questions about the 1975 vote in favour of remaining in the EEC. They also add to the urgent case for a new national poll on whether Britain should quit the EU. The papers are bound to be raised in the Commons in the coming weeks when MPs debate the Tory bill attempting to pave the way for an In/Out referendum on the UK’s EU membership by the end of 2017.

But some Tories are already concerned that an attempt to discreetly wreck the bill with parliamentary procedure is already being plotted by EU enthusiasts. It is expected that many MPs will try to use up Commons time with lengthy discussions about two Lib Dem private members bills scheduled to be debated ahead of the referendum measure. One Tory MP said: “We need to kill the two Lib Dem bills that are in the way. The danger is we are running out of time to pass the Referendum Bill.”

MPs have a historic chance to allow voters a real decision about Britain’s future in Europe after the discredited poll that took place nearly 40 years ago. It would be unforgiveable if Westminster dirty tricks nobbled the process again.

In 1971, during the final stages of the negotiations for Britain’s entry into what was then termed the “Common Market”, the “anti-marketeers” – as they were then called – had made some impact with the claim that membership would involve an unacceptable loss of sovereignty.

This claim clearly had a significant impact on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, sufficient at least for anonymous civil servants to write a detailed briefing on the sovereignty issue. This confidential document was never published and, for the last thirty years has lain in an F&CO file, guarded by official secrecy. Only under the thirty year rule was it finally released and its contents laid bare.

The document is massively important for many reasons, not least because it demonstrates that the F&CO had a very
clear idea of the repercussions of joining the “Community”, as it put it. It knew that it would involve a major loss of sovereignty and, in due course, an end to parliamentary democracy. Despite knowing this, it offered the advice that Her Majesty's Government (HMG) and “all political parties” should not “exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular measures or unfavourable economic developments to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community”.

Entitled “Sovereignty and the European Communities”, had this document been published during the debate which led up to Britain joining the EEC, it is hard to believe that public opinion would have been unaffected. In fact, so great would probably have been the outrage that it is hardly likely that any political party could have sanctioned our entry.

It is a measure of the deceit perpetrated by the then government, therefore, that its findings were kept confidential.

If the magnitude of the concepts explored by this document are even now fully understood, it is hard to see how any rational person could wish for the United Kingdom to remain a member of what has now become the European Union. For that reason, the paper has been reproduced here, together with a running commentary, which brings home the stunning duplicity of the F&CO and the terrible deceit that has been perpetrated on the British peoples.

Original portions of the text are reproduced in italics, retaining the original numbering scheme. The Annex is reproduced without annotated comment, the inferences from this being self-evident.

The F&CO paper
The object of the paper was, according to the F&CO author(s), “to examine the implications of entry into the European Communities for British Sovereignty”. This was a subject, it was felt, that aroused “widespread if somewhat vague public concern and which could become the central political issue in the national debate on entry to the Community”.

Nevertheless, the paper did not seek to provide a comprehensive philosophical analysis of sovereignty, but set out to clarify the various ways in which the term was then commonly used. The authors also sought to “identify the relevant changes which will be involved in joining the European Communities” and suggested “a number of conclusions and implications for policy”.

The concept of sovereignty
1. Historically the concept of sovereignty has been of major importance to both political scientists and jurists. The growth of its use was closely associated with the development of the system of nation states in Western Europe: there was no full mediaeval equivalent and the wider claims of the Holy Roman Empire and the temporal power of the Pope cannot really be considered in terms of national sovereignty or nation states.

So wrote the authors, who immediately position sovereignty as an academic issue, distinct from the concerns of ordinary people. The bias is there from the start, and continues throughout the paper. They continue with a rudimentary, if accurate, summary of the historical status of sovereignty:

2. Sovereignty was initially invoked to describe the powers of the ruler within his State. When dealing with other States the ruler asserted his (internally) sovereign status, an attribute which, given the identification between the ruler and his State, attached, also to his State. Since the other States similarly had sovereign rulers, and regarded themselves equally as sovereign States, the relationship between such sovereign States had to be formally one of equality and independence. On the international plane the Sovereignty of the “sovereign” State is not a truly international sovereignty, but a transposed internal concept of sovereignty – a description of a legal status possessed in some other (i.e., the internal) legal order.

In the next paragraph, however, the authors come to the nub of the matter. In distinguishing between “internal” and “external” sovereignty, they note that external sovereignty “has been primarily a negative matter of denying the existence of an external sovereign authority”.

Under this dictum, the United Kingdom is legally “independent of all other sovereign states”:

3. Consequently, from the outset the antithesis between the connotation of “sovereignty” in its internal and external aspects has been evident. Internal sovereignty has been primarily a matter of positive possession of ultimate power in a hierarchically structured internal legal framework, so that interest has lain in identifying the location of that power within the State; but external sovereignty has been primarily a negative matter of denying the existence of an external sovereign authority, with consequent emphasis on equality and, independence as the legal framework for international relations. In the particular instance of the United Kingdom the State, externally, is legally equal to and independent of all other “sovereign” States; the international personality is that of the United Kingdom as a State, represented internationally by the Crown as head of State (a situation accurately reflected in our internal constitutional law by the Crown’s prerogative in matters of foreign affairs). Internally, the sovereign power in the State (at least in matters of legislation) is usually considered to be located in the Queen in Parliament.

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23. We have examined the two main aspects of sovereignty: external and parliamentary sovereignty will be limited, while in the case of parliamentary sovereignty it will be real and novel but not likely to damage British interests. There are in addition major aspects of public concern which are evoked by reference to sovereignty though that is not what they are about – national identity, opposition to change, mistrust of bureaucracy and a belief that Britain standing alone should control its destiny. These may be at the source of much anxiety about and instinctive opposition to British entry. Finally we have argued that in the longest term the progressive development of the Community could indeed mean the weakening of the member states’ independence of action and in the last resort of their national institutions and their sovereignty.

There it is again: “…in the longest term the progressive development of the Community could indeed mean the weakening of the member states’ independence of action and in the last resort of their national institutions and their sovereignty”. Remember, that “longest term” is the end of the century.

From there, the FCO authors then identify a number of “implications to be drawn from this analysis”:

24. (i) although public concern is not over technical sovereignty itself but over more generally national traditions it is real and important and can be evoked by reference to sovereignty. Before entry it is important to deal squarely with the anxieties about British power and influence (masquerading under the term sovereignty) by presenting the choice between the effect of entry and on Britain’s power and influence in a rapidly changing world.

Interestingly, without adducing any evidence whatsoever, apart from their own opinions, the writers thus decide that the way to handle the entry concerns is to deal with the “anxieties” which they themselves have defined. Note also the pejorative, patronising use of the word “anxieties”. People do not have “concerns”, valid or otherwise – they have “anxieties”, as if they are little children who need soothing. And those “anxieties” concerning sovereignty and not actually genuine. They are a “masquerade”, with the real agenda “loss of power and influence”. Thus concerns about sovereignty are not to be addressed. We are to be offered eulogies about how Britain’s “power and influence” are to be improved if we enter the (then) Common Market.

Then, the deception continues:

After entry there would be a major responsibility on HMG and on all political parties not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular measures or unfavourable economic developments to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community. This counsel of perfection may be the more difficult to achieve because these same unpopular measures may sometimes be made more acceptable if they are put in a Community context, and this technique may offer a way to avoid the more sterile forms of inter-governmental bargaining. But the difference between on the one hand explaining policy in terms of general and Community-wide interest and, on the other, blaming membership for national problems is real and important.

In the age of “spin doctors” we are perhaps used to the cynical manipulation of news, but here is its genesis – an active, deliberate encouragement to conceal the bad news. The authors are aware that some of the Community activities may be unpopular, but they are to be “spun” in a Community context to make them more acceptable. Nevertheless, it is not all plain sailing:

(ii) the transfer of major executive responsibilities to the bureaucratic Commission in Brussels will exacerbate popular feeling of alienation from government. To counter this feeling, strengthened local and regional democratic processes within the member states and effective Community regional economic and social policies will be essential.

How true this first observation has proved to be. And now is revealed the British “take” on the regionalisation process. Anticipating the destruction of national democracy, the authors propose to supplement it with “strengthened local and regional democratic processes”, bolstered by “effective regional economic and social policies”.

And, with Parliament having thus been rendered obsolete, these civil servants have their own recipe for the deployment of redundant MPs:

(iii) Parliamentary sovereignty will be affected as we have seen. But the need for Parliament to play an increasing (if perhaps more specialised) role may develop. Firstly, although a European Parliament might in the longest term become an effective, directly elected democratic check upon the bureaucracy, this will not be for a long time, and certainly not in the decade to come. In the interval, to minimise the loss of democratic control it will be important that the British Parliamentarians should play an effective role both through the British membership in the European Parliament and through the processes of the British Parliament itself. Few if any of the Parliaments of the Six make the most of their role in either respect. It would be clearly in the interest of the UK that British parliamentarians should acquire a position of influence in the European Parliament against the day when it assumes effective powers.

Some lip-service is paid to the scrutinising role of Parliament:

(iv) The process of consultation between the Commission, Government experts and the European Parliament is complex. The issues dealt with are neither “foreign affairs” nor wholly domestic to the member states. The form of the consultations is such that they can hardly be watched over by the House of Commons as a whole – despite the flexibility of Question Time. The result in the present member states is that Community affairs are largely the prerogative of the executive to be endorsed after the event by the elected representative body as though in foreign affairs. To meet this new problem the creation of a Select Committee on Community Affairs or some quite new parliamentary device might be considered.

…but it really is a waste of time.

(v) It will be recognised that the more the Community considered is developed as an effective wide-ranging and democratically controlled organisation the more Parliamentary sovereignty will be eroded and the less importantexternal state sovereignty will become. The ability and the ultimate political right in the last resort to withdraw will remain for a very considerable time though it may come to have mainly theoretical significance. In that last resort the ultimate sovereignty of the State will surely remain unchallenged for this century at least. Meanwhile it will continue to be important to stress the potential gains in real international influence (albeit indirect) through participation in the Community’s policies and to contrast this with the highly formal and technical nature of the “sovereignty” that will be eroded.

Parliamentary sovereignty is steadily eroded, until it comes to have “mainly theoretic significance”, while the “potential gains” of community membership are stressed, in order to suppress our anxieties.

25. The conclusions and implications we have drawn are highly political and may be judged beyond the competence of the FCO to advise. Nevertheless the impact of entry upon sovereignty is closely related to the blurring of distinctions between domestic political and foreign affairs, to the relatively greater political responsibility of the bureaucracy of the Community and the lack of effective democratic control.

And there we have it, the take-over by the civil servants, as they assume “relatively greater political responsibility”. And thus is their role ordained:

26. To play an effective part in the Community, British Members of the Commission and their staffs and British officials as negotiators will necessarily assume more political roles than is traditional in the UK. The Community, if we are to benefit to the full, will develop wider powers and coordinate and manage policy over wider areas of public business.

While other measures are foreseen to eliminate the vestigial influence of the national Parliament:

To control and supervise this process it will be necessary to strengthen the democratic organisation of the Community with consequent decline of the primacy and prestige of the national parliaments.

Finally, and chillingly, these civil servants applaud the process. They know what they have to do:

The task will not be to arrest this process, since to do so would be to put considerations of formal sovereignty before effective influence and power, but to adapt institutions and policies both in the UK and in Brussels to meet and reduce the real and substantial public anxieties over national identity and alienation from government, fear of change and loss of control over their fate which are aroused by talk of the “loss of sovereignty”.

And to think we were told by the Heath government that entry to the “Common Market” would involve “no essential loss of sovereignty”. Liars they are all.




1. In general it should he noted that there are very few if any areas in which Parliament will be wholly incapable of action or in which Parliament will be wholly free from restraint. It should also be noted that the boundaries which distinguish these areas are changing all the time, as Community policies develop.

2. Much depends upon the way in which the Community has taken action in any particular area. In the case of action by way of Regulation there is, once the Regulation has been made, no room for Parliamentary action (other than, possibly, to supplement the Regulation or mere debate). Generally speaking Parliament must take the Regulation as it stands, and while with Regulations made by the Council, a United Kingdom Minister (whois subject of course to Parliamentary pressure) will take part in the proceedings leading up to adoption of this Regulation, this is not the case with Regulations made by the Commission. Regulations made by the Commission are however essentially of an implementing rather than policy-making nature. Community action by way of a Directive leaves Parliament freedom of choice as to means but no freedom as to the result to be achieved. A Recommendation leaves Parliament free to decide not only on the means, but also upon whether to comply with the Recommendation at all.

3. Given these major qualifications the lists below, which are by no means exhaustive, identify the areas of legislative action which will be principally affected and those which will not.

Customs duties and all other matters incidental to the formation of a customs union;


Free movement of labour, services and capital;


Monopolies and restrictive practices;

State aid for Industry;

Coal and Steel;

Nuclear energy industry;

Company Law;

Insurance Law;

Value added tax;

Social Security for migrant workers.


The general principles of criminal law;

The general principles of’ the law of the contract;

The general principles of the law of civil wrongs (tort);

Land Law;

Relations of landlord and tenant;

Housing and town and country planning law;

Matrimonial and family law;

The law of inheritance;

Nationality Law;


Social services (other than for migrant workers);



Local government;

Rates of Direct Taxation


In addition to the areas listed above, there are a number of important areas in which membership of the Community would impose obligations vis-a-vis the Commission or other Member States. These obligations which will restrain our freedom of action in areas hitherto within the discretion of the Executive may be divided into two classes: (a) present obligations to consult; (b) future obligations to consult, or to coordinate policies.

2. Present obligations to consult include:

(i) Economic Policy: Articles 103-9 of the Treaty of Rome enjoin a wide measure of consultation and coordination on policy on current trends on balance of payments problems.

On exchange rates each member State is required under the Treaty “to treat its policy… as a matter of common interest”. In practice the main common interest has been the need to allow the CAP to work smoothly; but this has not prevented member states changing parity sometimes with, sometimes without, much consultation.

On balance of payments difficulties member states are allowed (under the Treaty) to pursue policies necessary to preserve or restore equilibrium, preferably with consultation beforehand. The Commission is empowered to investigate and to make recommendations but national freedom is not significantly restrained at this stage.

(ii) Foreign Policy. The Davignon report (1970) provided for six-monthly meetings of Foreign Ministers and quarterly meetings of Political Directors to coordinate foreign policies and Governments should consult on all important questions. Two such meetings of Foreign Ministers have so far occurred. But no effective restraint exists upon national responsibility for foreign policy as such, and the obligations go no further than those we already have under WEU.

3. Future obligations, where we as members would of course have a full and equal voice in the creation of the detailed policy, include

(a) Economic and Monetary Union

The Council of Ministers adopted a programme of action on 9 February 1971 aimed at establishing economic and monetary union of the Six (and by implication of an enlarged Community of Ten) in ten years. Only the first stage is agreed: Central Banks are to coordinate their monetary policies; the Commission and member governments are to consult three times a year with a view to coordinating their economic policies and are to produce a joint annual report on short-term economic policy; arrangements were to be instituted for a first step in narrowing the margins of fluctuation of members’ currencies against each other. These measures are to remain in force for five years and then lapse if agreement has not then been reached on the second stage, which ought to begin on 1 January 1974. Although the arrangements for narrowing the exchange margins have been postponed by the May currency crisis and the German Government’s decision to float the D-mark, it is likely that on entry the UK will have to adhere to the agreement summarised above, assuming that current difficulties in implementing these agreements have been overcome by the time we join. We shall of course take part as full members in the discussions which must precede any move to the second stage.

(b) General provisions for harmonisation of legal practices

There are two relevant general provisions.Article 100 of the Rome Treaty, on the Approximation of Laws and article 220 on the negotiation of mutually beneficial agreements which could in theory both lead to encroachment in the future on areas where our freedom to decide on policy is not now significantly restrained. A large number of miscellaneous regulations of little political significance have already been made under Article 100. They are designed to facilitate intra-Community trade by the establishment of uniform standards and practices. After entry we should of course have a full say in the scope and application of future work in this field.


During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Conservative Prime Ministers Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath attempted to negotiate Britain’s entry into an agreement with a number of
Continental countries, each of which had signed the Treaty of Rome and formed themselves into a European Community. Eventually in 1972 Edward Heath negotiated Britain’s entry. The British people and Parliament were told that Britain was joining a Common Market, a ‘trading agreement’ with its Continental partners. Much of that which was laid before the people was misleading or untrue. Even more was hidden.

In 1971, for example, Pierre Werner, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, produced a report on the European Community (suppressed until 2001) stating ‘…the long term objectives of EMU (Economic and Monetary Union) are very far reaching indeed….and the degree of freedom vested in national governments might be less than the autonomy enjoyed by the states of the USA…’

(Daily Telegraph 7.1.2001).

A 1971 Foreign Office memo warned’….the Community is a process of fundamental political importance implying progressive development towards a political union.’ This document was suppressed for thirty years.

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
(Filed: 25/07/2005)
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



US blamed rift with Britain on ‘Gaullist’ Heath
By James Langton
(Filed: 14/05/2006)

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

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.”