Advertisement

Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 232–243 | Cite as

The 1967 withdrawal from NATO — a cornerstone of de Gaulle’s grand strategy?

  • Garret MartinEmail author
Article

Abstract

No event better defined Charles de Gaulle’s complicated relationship with his Western allies than his 1966 decision to withdraw France from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Predictably, the story of this unilateral move has been very well documented; but how de Gaulle’s policy towards NATO interacted with other key elements of his grand strategy, namely his attempts to build a Western political union or to promote East–West dètente, has not received the same attention.

Keywords

France General de Gaulle NATO Cold War Europe 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    All translations from French are the author’s.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Bohlen paper, undated, Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1964–68: 12, doc. 27.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See Maurice Vaïsse, La Grandeur: politique étrangère du général de Gaulle, 1958–69 (Paris: Fayard, 1998), 23–4.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    As de Gaulle claimed in February 1951, cited by Paul-Marie de la Gorce, La France contre les Empires (Paris: Editions Bernard Grasset, 1969), 210.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Marie-Pierre Rey, La Tentation du rapprochement: France et URSS à l’heure de la détente (1964–1974) (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1991), 18.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Charles de Gaulle, Discours et Messages, vol. 4 (Paris: Plon, 1970), 179, press conference, 31 January 1964.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    David Calleo, ‘De Gaulle and the Monetary System: The Golden Rule’, in De Gaulle and the United States, 1930–1970: A Centennial Reappraisal, ed. Nicholas Wahl and Robert Paxton (Oxford: Berg, 1994), 239.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Vaïsse, La Grandeur, 39–40.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Charles de Gaulle, Discours et Messages, vol. 2 (Paris: Plon, 1970), 102, speech in Rennes, 27 July 1947.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    FRUS 1961–63: 13, doc. 270.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    See de Gaulle, Discours et Messages, vol. 2, 102, speech in Rennes, 27 July 1947; Charles De Gaulle–Harold Wilson meeting, 3 April 1965, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères Francais [MAEF], Cabinet du Ministre [CM], Couve de Murville [CDM], vol. 379.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Charles de Gaulle, Memoirs of Hope: Renewal and Endeavor (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971), 201.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    John Dumbrell, President Lyndon Johnson and Soviet Communism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), 26.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See Jeffrey Giauque, Grand Designs and Visions of Unity: The Atlantic Powers and the Reorganization of Western Europe, 1955–1963 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002); de Gaulle, Memoirs of Hope, 201.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rey, La Tentation, 17; claimed by de Gaulle in December 1954, cited by Gorce, France contre les Empires, 173.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Frédéric Bozo, Deux stratégies pour l’Europe: de Gaulle, les Etats-Unis et l’Alliance atlantique 1958–69 (Paris: Plon, 1996), 29–30.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See for example Étienne Burin des Roziers, Retour aux sources: 1962, l’année décisive (Paris: Plon, 1986), 60.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    See Bozo, Deux stratégies, 35–6.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Memorandum for Dwight Eisenhower and Harold Macmillan, 17 September 1958, MAEF, Secrétariat Général [SG], Entretiens et Messages [EM], vol. 5.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Maurice Vaïsse, ‘Indépendance et solidarité, 1958–1963’, in La France et l’OTAN, 1949–1996, ed. Maurice Vaïsse, Pierre Melandri and Frédéric Bozo (Brussels: Éditions Complexe, 1996), 225–6.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ibid., 219–20.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    See for example de Gaulle, Discours et Messages, vol 4, press conference, 9 September 1965, 383.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    For example, Charles de Gaulle-Konrad Adenauer meeting, 4 July 1963, MAEF, CM, CDM, vol. 375; Charles de Gaulle-Konrad Adenauer meeting, 10 March 1966, MAEF, CM, CDM, vol. 382.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Charles de Gaulle, Lettres, Notes et carnets, vol. 10 (Paris: Plon, 1987), Charles de Gaulle to Georges Pompidou, 43.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Bozo, Deux stratégies, 170.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    See Jean Lacouture, De Gaulle, vol. 3 (Paris: Le Seuil, 1986), 452–66; Charles de Gaulle–Harold Macmillan meeting, 30 June 1958, MAEF, SG, EM, vol. 5; Charles de Gaulle–John Foster Dulles meeting, 5 July 1958, MAEF, SG, EM, vol. 5.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Alain Peyrefitte, C’était de Gaulle, vol. 2 (Paris: Éditions de Fallois/Fayard, 1997), Council of Ministers, 21 August 1963, 32.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    De Gaulle, Discours et Messages, vol. 4, 204–5.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    See Charles de Gaulle to Maurice Couve de Murville, 1 May 1963, Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques [FNSP], Fonds Maurice Couve de Murville [CM], Carton 8; or Charles De Gaulle–Pierson Dixon meeting, 23 November 1963, United Kingdom National Archives [UKNA], Foreign Office [FO] 371/172078.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    See Helga Haftendorn, NATO and the Nuclear Revolution: A Crisis of Credibility, 1966–1967 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 39–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Bozo, Deux stratégies, 123–5.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Quoted by Thomas Schreiber, Les Actions de la France à l’Est, ou les absences de Marianne (Paris: Harmattan, 2000), 75.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Maurice Couve de Murville–John F. Kennedy meeting, 7 October 1963, MAEF, CM, CD, vol. 376; Charles de Gaulle–Emmanuel Pelaez meeting, 8 February 1963, MAEF, CM, CD, vol. 375; Hervé Alphand, L’Étonnement d’être: journal, 1939–1973 (Paris: Fayard, 1977), diary entry 26 August 1963, 407.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    See Charles de Gaulle–George Brown meeting, 16 December 1966, MAEF, CM, CDM, vol. 385.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    See de Gaulle, Discours et Messages, vol. 4, press conference, 14 January 1963, 72.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Maurice Couve de Murville, speech to l’Assemblée Nationale, 12 June 1963, FNSP, CM Carton 1.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Carolyne Davidson, ‘Dealing with de Gaulle: The United States and France’, in Globalizing de Gaulle: International Perspectives on French Foreign Policies, 1958–69, ed. Christian Nuenlist et al. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010), 111–34, here at 115.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Bozo, Deux stratégies, 86–7.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Erin Mahan, Kennedy, De Gaulle, and Western Europe (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 25, 145; Charles de Gaulle–Ludwig Erhard first meeting, 4 July 1964, MAEF, SG, EM, vol. 22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Pierre Maillard, De Gaulle et le problème allemand: les leçons d’un grand dessein (Paris: Guibert, 2001), 187; Charles de Gaulle–Konrad Adenauer meeting 2, 21 January 1963, MAEF, CM, CDM, vol. 375.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Georges-Henri Soutou, L’Alliance incertaine: les rapports politico-stratégiques franco-allemands 1954–1996 (Paris: Fayard, 1996), 253.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Benedikt Schoenborn, La Mésentente apprivoisée: de Gaulle et les Allemands, 1963–1969 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2007), 59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Charles de Gaulle-Ludwig Erhard meeting 1, 3 July 1964, MAEF, SG, EM, vol. 22.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Maurice Couve de Murville–Gerhard Schroeder meeting, 4 July 1964, MAEF: SG, EM, vol. 22.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Georges-Henri. Soutou, ‘De Gaulle’s France and the Soviet Union from Conflict to Détente’, in Europe, Cold War and Coexistence, 1953–1965, ed. Wilfried Loth (London: Frank Cass, 2003), 173–5.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Gorce, France contre les Empires, 209.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Peyrefltte, C’était de Gaulle, vol. 2, 313, meeting 4 January 1965.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Alain Peyrefltte, C’ètait de Gaulle, vol. 3 (Paris: Éditions de Fallois/Fayard, 2000), 186.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Éric Roussel, Charles de Gaulle (Paris: Gallimard, 2002), 796; Lyndon Johnson to Walter Reuther, 7 March 1966, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, Telephone Conversations, White House Series 6603.03, Citation 9841.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    See for example John Newhouse, De Gaulle and the Anglo-Saxons (New York: Viking Press, 1970), 285; or Charles Bohlen to Dean Rusk, Telegram 5542, 7 March 1966, National Archives Record Administration [NARA], Record Group [RG] 59, Central Foreign Policy Files [CFPF], 1964–1966, Box 2179.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Bozo, Deux stratégies, 163.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Interview with ORTF Radio, 23 April 1966, Documentation Française [DF], La Politique Étrangère de la France [PEF], Textes et Documents 1966–1967.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Peyrefltte, C’ètait de Gaulle, vol. 3, 190.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    François Puaux Draft Circular, March 1966, MAEF, Pactes 1961–1970, vol. 261.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Maurice Couve de Murville–Ion Maurer meeting, 27 April 1966, MAEF, SG, EM, vol. 27.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Maurice Couve de Murville–Wladislaw Gomulka meeting, 20 May 1966, MAEF, CM, CDM, vol. 383.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Georges-Henri Soutou, ‘La décision française de quitter le commandement intégré de l’OTAN (1966)’, in Von Truman bis Harmel: Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland im Spannungsfeld von NATO und Europäischer Integration, ed. Hans-Joachim Harder (München: R. Oldenbourg, 2000), 188; Bozo, Deux stratégies, 194–6.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Helga Haftendorn, ‘The NATO Crisis of 1966–1967: Confronting Germany with a Conflict of Priorities’, in The Strategic Triangle: France, Germany, and the United States in the Shaping of Europe, ed. Helga Haftendorn, Georges-Henri Soutou, Stephen Szabo and Samuel Wells (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 96.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Bozo, Deux stratégies, 176–7; Vaïsse, La Grandeur, 395.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Marie-Pierre Rey, ‘De Gaulle, French Diplomacy, and Franco-Soviet Relations as Seen from Moscow’, in Globalizing de Gaulle, 25–42, here at 36.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Michel Debré, Trois Républiques pour une France: mémoires, tome 4 (Paris: Albin Michel, 1993), 259.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Alphand, L’Étonnement d’être, 513, diary entry 25 August 1968.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European InstituteWashington DCUSA

Personalised recommendations