The United States and the European Pillar in the 1970s and 1980s: Concluding Assessment

  • William C. Cromwell


During the 1970s and 1980s, the United States did little to encourage strengthening European Political Cooperation as a pillar in the transatlantic relationship and often projected attitudes and conducted policies that indirectly discouraged it. As the case studies have shown, earlier American complaints that it did not have a European partner with whom to negotiate were gradually replaced by a pattern of irritation over European responses when it was able to speak with one voice. Moreover, having only indirect access to epc deliberations (via Gymnich-type consultations), the United States became wary of the growing political weight of a collective European body with which it had but limited influence. Regular US—epc consultations did develop as an adjunct to the traditional bilateral and multilateral patterns of Atlantic diplomacy. Yet the American interest in these consultations was primarily to influence the character of the European position that would eventually emerge, rather than to reinforce the epc structure itself as a collective body speaking and acting for Europe. Hence, the American tendency was to emphasise bilateral contacts with individual European governments and multilateral consultations in the Alliance — both of which provided larger and more differentiated scope for US influence on European policies.


Foreign Policy European Government American Policy European Position Strategic Dependence 
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  1. 2.
    Gregory F. Treverton, Making the Alliance Work ( Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985 ) p. 23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 3.
    Michael Welsh, ‘Collective Security: The European Community and the Preservation of Peace’, in Alfred Cahen, The Western European Union and NATO ( London: Brassey’s, 1989 ) p. 103.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© William C. Cromwell 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Cromwell
    • 1
  1. 1.The American UniversityWashingtonUSA

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