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No clear course: Harold Macmillan, Richard Austen Butler, agricultural politics and the first British application to the European Economic Community, 1961-3.

Twining, Diana (2010) No clear course: Harold Macmillan, Richard Austen Butler, agricultural politics and the first British application to the European Economic Community, 1961-3. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis explores how senior members of British political life attempted to come to terms with certain aspects of the key post-war issue of European integration. It adopts a political approach to the first application, comparing the roles taken by Cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, Whitehall officials and a powerful interest group, the National Farmers' Union, in addition to examining the underlying economic factors. Its central focus is to establish how the Macmillan government thought it could make an application to the European Economic Community, which would involve membership of a Common Agricultural Policy, whilst at the same time adopting strategy and tactics intended to placate domestic opinion opposed to change to the existing British agricultural support system. It opens by explaining why an issue, as seemingly as parochial as domestic agriculture, was on the list of British priorities in what was a set of international negotiations. It goes on to trace how British strategy and tactics for agriculture failed to alter even though it quickly became apparent that several of the founding members of the European Economic Community were unlikely to agree to what the British were asking. Ultimately it presents new evidence to develop the argument that the negotiations as a whole were marred by a failure to choose between conflicting ideas about the relative importance of domestic agriculture and undermined by a reluctance to confront personal political rivalries. There was no clear course in British strategy and tactics for domestic agriculture and this was a stumbling block in the development of closer ties between Britain and Europe in the post war era.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, European, Political Science, International Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > International History
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2765

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