Interview with

Arthur Cockfield

Interview by A. Crozier
London 24/08/1998

Voices on Europe collection

Francis Arthur Cockfield

Interview with Lord Cockfield (AC) conducted on 24 August 1998
Interviewer Dr Andrew Crozier (AJC)

'This is the European Commission Oral Programme carried out by Jean Monnet
Chairs of History.
It is taking place at 10.00 am on Monday 24 August at Lord Cockfield's home,
Connaught House, Mount Row, London.

AJC Do you agree to allow the transcript ofthis interview to be usedfor scholastic
and research purposes under terms and conditions which you may wish to set
and with a date for access set by you.

AC Broadly speaking, yes, but if one is to be perfectly frank about some of the

things that one would wish to say it is, I feel, important that I should see the
transcript when it is available, and if there are passages in it which I think
ought to be put under embargo for a period of time, I will so indicate.

AJC Thank you Lord Cockfield. You have had a very long and varied career,
particularly you were responsible with others for a number of reforms at the
Inland Revenue where you functioned as a Commissioner, 1 think I'm correct
in saying.

AC That is right

AJC And you thereafter went into business, 1 think with Boots for which you were

the Chairman, is that correct?

AC In those days there was a division between an independent Chairman and a

Chief Executive. I was the Chief Executive, and I was the Chairman of what
was called the Executive Management Committee, which was a Committee
which effectively ran the business. There was, in fact, a majority on the Board

of members of that Executive Committee. The company had been organised

on the American model. It was, in fact, American owned between the early

1920s and the early 1930s and it's not surprising that they adopted the system
of an independent non-executive Chairman, the company effectively being run
by a Chief Executive and I was the Chief Executive.

AJC Thank you Lord Cockfield. In these years in business the European Union, as
it now is, was clearly taking shape. Did you have any direct interest in the
process of European integration in the 1950s into the 1960s and if so what
were your views then on the subject?

AC I was involved in this in two quite separate capacities. First of all in the very
early days in the 1950s, and in the early 1960s, industry was consulted

1 This text excludes comments by Lord Cockfield on which he has placed a thirty year embargo for

citation or publication.

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© Archives historiques de l'Union européenne
© Historical Archives of the European Union

working out what was a major tax reform programme extending over the whole field of taxation. this of course was on a voluntary basis. before the 1964 election. After I left Boots it was my main interest in life. I was in fact a member of the Grand Committee of the FBI for what that is worth. Francis Arthur Cockfield AC I was involved in this in two quite separate capacities.. and in the early 1960s. I was a member of the group which was dealing with economic and financial policy. I had therefore a general interest in the United Kingdom coming into the European Economic Community as it then was. Before the 1964 election when Ted Heath was put in charge of forming policy he set up a large number of very. AC This is another story. I had a long long-standing connection with the Conservative Party in the sense that I had worked for Rab Butler when I was a Commissioner of Inland AH Revenue at Somerset House. First of all in the very early days in the 1950s. Rab was also Chairman of the Research Department of EU the Conservative Party. very big groups studying a great range of different policies. It was therefore essential from the point of view of the company's own future that the country should join the European Community. industry was consulted principally through bodies such as the FBI as it then was and which was the forerunner of the CBI. That was when I first met him. Indeed Rab was my senior supporter when I went into the House of Lords and the connection had been maintained right through this period. Ted Heath UE took the place of the previous Minister responsible for the Department of Trade and Industry. am 1 right in saying. who had become Chancellor of the Exchequer. Later on I did a very great deal of work with lain Macleod and Ted Heath. In the early 1960s I started doing some work associated with the Research Department and this greatly expanded before the 1964 and the 1966 elections. indirect as well as direct. lain Macleod had access to an apartment in the Hyde Park Hotel but it was much more convenient for him to come and E talk here because we are only about 200 yards away. I spent an enormous HA amount of time on this. I had already met Ted Heath: I was a member of HA the original National Economic Development Council known as NEDDY and after the night of the long knives when Harold Macmillan sacked five of his cabinet ministers. died just after the election. AJC You were obviously very close. After the election defeat in 1964 I started doing a great deal more work for Ted Heath including the AH major design of the tax reform programme which was introduced by the Heath Government in 1970. lain Macleod. The European Economic Community was from the onset based upon a Customs Union where there were no fiscal barriers inside the Union. and particularly so because the company had interests outside the United Kingdom and we felt as a company it was very important that we should be in Europe. although I did work for them. with Ted Heath? . This was particularly so UE after the 1964 election. A great deal of the preparatory work U on tax was in fact done in this flat. particularly as if you manufactured in the United Kingdom you needed free access to the European market. So that when the Heath government came into office in 1970 it was probably much better prepared to introduce a tax reform programme that any government has been before or since and certainly much better prepared than the present Labour Party has been. a feat not excelled until the days of Mr Yeltsin. It was an enormous Archives: Lord Cockfield 2 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union .

I mean. Francis Arthur Cockfield body. and in my opinion remains. 3 and so on. That story does now appear in some detail in the short book on the Single Market that I wrote a few years ago. There are various facets of this story which are of some interest.if we went in we would have to have a Value Added Tax because the Value Added Tax was presented by the First and Second VAT directives. Ted said we were to proceed on the basis that we were going into the UE Community. Thus Harold Wilson who was then AH Prime Minister welched on the long standing tradition under which six months before an Election the opposition party is given access to officials. Embargoed text One of the great problems that Margaret Thatcher faced was that nobody was prepared to tell her the truth and this is the great problem faced by all people of great ability and a dictatorial temperament. a much superior tax to the VAT . So we had to bring in Professor Wheatcroft as an intermediary. Reggie Maudling. At that time we had two minor taxes. and HA very valuable he was. as the one and only turnover tax which would be permitted in the Community. I retell a similar incident in my book in which I was involved with her when she was contesting the right of the Community to harmonise the Excises and I told her that it was in the Treaty of Archives: Lord Cockfield 3 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . This was the body which in fact drew up the whole of the tax reform programme. It was supplemented by the EU Labour Party in the 1964-1970 government by the Selective Employment Tax.incidentally I was the Secretary of the Committee which invented the Purchase Tax and the Purchase Tax was. neither of which conformed to the VAT.(a) they would have got sacked but (b) she would at least have thought again. He was the spearhead of every conceivable lobby which wanted to introduce AH an exemption or a lower rate of tax and the Purchase Tax in the end became an unwieldy instrument but it was a great tragedy because in principle the Purchase Tax was a better tax than the VAT. When therefore we were sitting down to consider the future of British taxation we had two turnover taxes. It was ruined by the UE activities of the House of Commons and particularly by the activities of Mr Nabarro. There was Ted himself. the owner of a series of motor cars known as NAB 1. myself. If somebody had only got up and said "You can't do that" . I speak with authority as one the principal authors of it -it was a much better tax. presumably on the grounds that I U knew too much about the subject and therefore it would have been of grave embarrassment both to the Wilson Government and possibly even to the E Customs. So we decided we had to introduce a VAT. and David Montague (later Lord Swaithling) who died recently. because if we went in we would have to abolish the existing taxes and introduce a VAT. After the second defeat in 1964 the committee was purged and it ended up with about five people of which I was one. And HA therefore I had to know if we were going to join the Community. Mrs Thatcher was one of the people who didn't quite understand this because there's another story which does not appear in my book. And that was about all. we had the original Purchase Tax . lain Macleod. 2. both dated 11 th April 1967. Harold Wilson refused to let the Customs see me. The point of this story really is this: I had to know whether we were going into the European Community or not because this was absolutely critical . Unfortunately.

saying that there was now agreement in Brussels that they would harmonise on the basis of the French imputation system. that the imputation system was unintelligible and a mistake but nevertheless in the European context there Archives: Lord Cockfield 4 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . it appeared in the manifesto and a green paper was issued. so much of the tax relates to that dividend". I opened it up at Article 99 and read it. I took it then. Francis Arthur Cockfield Rome and she said it wasn't.. you ought to have read it before you signed it". you deduct it from the dividend so that the company is left paying HA the tax on its share of the profit. by deduction at source. a tax on the company's profit after deducting the dividend.. I said it was. was a very sound one. I take it now. which says that the Commission shall present proposals for the harmonisation of indirect taxes. The Secretary of the Cabinet sat there poker faced and absolutely silent after this exchange of pleasantries.. I don't want to go into that in detail. So the then Secretary of the Cabinet was sent to get a copy. AC You want to look at the original because it's terribly interesting. the shareholder paying tax on his share. "shall" not "may". "but you were a member of the Government which did and there is a doctrine called Cabinet collective responsibility". That UE effectively is the original system introduced by Addington who reintroduced the Income Tax a couple of years after Pitt had introduced the original income tax in 1799.. when it paid a dividend you followed the deduction at E source principle. All we needed to do was to separate the two and say "Right". so it s very EU AC I mean the actual Hansard Report? HA AJC J've read extracts from it in books." This goes back to the fact that in those days Hansard was unofficial as there were not supposed to be reporters present and therefore it was started with the words "Mr Pitt was understood to AH say "My comment is that in these days ministers are very often misunderstood to say. . I said "Well. "I know you didn't sign it" I said.. There was a dead silence. but over 160 years most things get into trouble. This was adopted as party policy.. she said it wasn't.. It got into certain troubles. You tax the company on U the whole of the profit. I said "This is a disaster. The Millennium Dome hasn't taken quite as long as that but generally speaking that's the timescale for getting into trouble. a tax on the dividend. But the Income Tax as introduced by Pitt and reintroduced by Addington. (Embargoed text) He came back hot foot with intelligence from Brussels where he had just been. and you said "well. And really this is one incident in my life where I feel such tragic regret." But nevertheless the decision had been taken and we would have to go in on the French system. "I didn't sign it" she said. AC The other disaster was the Corporation Tax. By the way have you read Pitt's speech in 1799 when he AH introduced the Income Tax? AJC As an undergraduate. I'd advised Ted Heath very very clearly he should go in for what is now called a split rate system.. I've always taken the view. AJC If J could . it starts with UE the words "Mr Pitt was understood to say .

we took it up again and we went out to consultation. in other words the second half..obviously you had no direct involvement . to follow in the steps of Good KingWenceslaus. lain Macleod always regarded consultation as a great mistake. This was in the early days. When I became Secretary of State for Trade I was responsible for most of the E issues which subsequently went into the Single Market programme (or the HA Internal Market Programme as we originally called it). just ask you before you go on. ifyou could say something ofwhat you thought about Britain s relationship with Europe in the J970s. I didn't in those days either. This AH illustrates that I had some considerable background knowledge of the European Community. Lord Coclifield. Nobody has seemed to have understood this. Francis Arthur Cockfield seemed no alternative. So the result of any consultation is seriously biased. when I was in the Treasury I was directly involved in the financial negotiations. he said the effect of consultation is that the "nos" always have it. have gradually gone back to the Harold Wilson system AH under which you tax dividends twice . they'd gone UE through the agony of putting it in and they didn't want it changing. So when we came in the 1980's on consulting whether we should stick to the imputation system the almost unanimous view of industry. but I'm just wondering. In the event the Germans didn't adopt it. was that although they didn't like the imputation system. What did you feel about Labour s position on renegotiation and a referendum and do you feel that had Mrs Thatcher not won the election in J979 that the British budgetary question would still have Archives: Lord Cockfield 5 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . Did you feel.but did you feel that perhaps the Ted Heath government was rather too keen actually as it were to get into the Community rather than worry too much about the terms. Unfortunately we didn't and we adopted the imputation system. (Embargoed Text) This shows you how people react to what they regard as unfair. Now the present Labour government. the people who might benefit. Now they get an exemption on one bit of it only. these are very very interesting comments that I'm hearing. and you'll find the details of that set out in the book that I wrote. Sadly Lamont was the first man to go down the line of reintroducing the HA double taxation of dividends by restricting the tax credit. Pension Funds used to have a total exemption on EU their dividend income. at least of those who made a great fuss. This sort of nonsense happens all the time and we ought to have stuck to our guns. is something which is beyond all human understanding and UE certainly beyond mine. AJC Could 1. And this is how they've succeeded in taxing all the Pension Funds. the first few months of 1970. in other words the "yeses". just before we get to the J980s. How any Conservative Government in possession of its full faculties could ever have allowed this. keep their mouths shut in case they lose the tax the whole profit once and you tax the dividend again a second time. Much later in the 1980's when Geoffrey Howe had become Chancellor of the Exchequer. that perhaps Ted Heath was rather . Much more importantly of course. and I've explained this in the House in detail. And it opened the road for the Labour Party to come along. The trouble was that most people in those days and most people today do not understand how things work in Brussels. in the J970s. particularly as I U was one of the few people at that stage thought to understand the Community. So we were left with it. for example. the people who have a grievance all yell to the skies. I was the member of Cabinet in charge when the Internal Market Council was set up in 1983.

Then the idea of the European Community was revived and it went through remarkably quickly. because it's the most trenchant analysis of the British economic situation and the British outlook? He described Britain as the "monumental exception". which have recently been revealed? They show that Harold Macmillan U realised there would be grave public opposition and. he E embarked upon the pathway of not telling the children more than they needed to know.we'd refused to join the original Coal and Steel Community . about 18 months. i. The first option was the EU Euratom Treaty. the negotiations leading up to that. The Euratom Treaty was then signed on the coat-tails of the Treaty of Rome. this is right back in 1951 . having got into Opposition after one of the biggest defeats in history. we were strongly against it. nuclear energy being a natural "follow on" of Coal and Steel. deciding they had better go anti-European. it was indignantly rejected by the HA Community in 1963. But nevertheless immediately after having decided not to go in and much to AH our surprise we found the Continentals sink their differences and sign up to the Treaty of Rome. When he applied for membership. You see the same today with the Conservative Party. It was not the first option. we thought it ought to be a Free Trade Area and the idea of this "Community" seemed to us at the time to be going far too wide. It's nothing of the sort. we weren't prepared to get involved with these Continentals. had been rejected by the National Assembly in France. I repeat in my book the exchanges which occurred in the House of Commons when the Solemn Archives: Lord Cockfield 6 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . Have you read the Cabinet Minutes of this period. What I say is based upon what Emile Noel told me. the Euratom Treaty which was the next one in line was HA bogged down in difficulty. It's difficult to say exactly why: first of all. that was a Foreign Office decision. When the Labour Party came into power they applied again and that was also rejected. And this is exactly what happened with the Labour Party going further and further to the Left. because you hear Ministers of the Crown talking of Europe as a Free Trade Area. It's absolutely amazing this. when Macmillan AH realised that he'd got this wrong and decided that we ought to join the European Community. it ought to have been a Free Trade Area. a UE Customs Union is something very much more important and very much wider. But EFTA had not been going for very long. we'd nationalised our industries. There's a story behind the Treaty of Rome which again I set out in that book which is little understood. But we in the UK felt the UE whole thing was wrong.that was Ernie Bevin. I don't think we ever fully understood the difference between a Free Trade Area and a Customs Union. They were led of course by Michael Foot. Then when it came to the Treaty of Rome. Francis Arthur Cockfield created substantial friction between Britain and her fellow Community members? AC The answer's this: if you look at the history when we refused to join . Have you read de Gaulle's speech that he made to the press in 1967 following this second rejection? Again I cited that in my book. The Defence Community had failed. putting it politely. After this dual rejection the Conservative Party nevertheless decided that they would go on trying to join.e.we'd refused to go in on the grounds that we were strong enough to stand on our own. We objected to all this other stuff associated with it and Macmillan then set up EFTA. The Labour Party was going more and more to the left and they decided it would be a very good thing to be anti-European. And today people don't.

this is now a matter of history and the history needs to be written down. it was a "Colloquium" as they call it in Europe. "They've got us into this mess". and incidentally this is why I wrote my book.but gradually as he got into further and further difficulties it got further and further demoted and it was only with a great deal of pressure on my part that the meeting was held at all. claiming that the internal market programme was launched by the European Archives: Lord Cockfield 7 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . and among them (I regret to say) was Jacques Delors himself. They cast no great credit on Mrs Thatcher either. he said "they've now got to get us out. For years the Conservative Party removed HA me from everything that was said or went out relating to the Single Market." So they never understood a word of it. HA effectively and very amicably over a long period of time. and Tony Blair's awfully similar to Jacques Delors. the great architect of the Single Market".admittedly it had not been 100% complete. there are far too many people trying to rewrite history. But I'll tell you a minor incident on this. but with the difficulties which became associated with UE Monetary Union particularly with the onset of the recession he realised that he had better have his name attached to something which was a success instead of AH having his name attached to something. had his own spin doctor. You will recall Orwell's "1984" when Goldstein was removed from all the pictures and records. I've set them out in detail in my book. Jacques Delors began then to move a bit back again. But there it is. So that having been. later they began to refer to it as a "Conservative Party" achievement not acknowledging the fact that the achievement was by one of their bete U noirs. There are far too many people. They would never associate the Single Market with myself. When. There was a terrible swing against the Commission when the recession came in the early 1990s. Did you not realise this? UE AJC No. his own "Mandelson". he has written in his own handwriting "To Arthur Cockfield. I was damned if I was going to be removed from it by Jacques Delors with whom I'd cooperated loyally. but it was no longer a "Celebration" of 1992. later. Originally Delors regarded the Single Market as a subsidiary project that would support his great ambition of Economic and Monetary Union and the Citizen's Europe. They would never reply to a speech I AH made in the House. But you need to read the actual exchanges which took place. Delors decided that in December 1992 there would a great "Celebration" of the completion of the internal market . And you actually had the President of the European Parliament. Jacques like Tony Blair. This was one of the most important documents in the history of the Community. It's in my study. and that's written in his own handwriting. And that's in my book too. removed from the group photograph by E my own party and my own government. but it was well on the way . Francis Arthur Cockfield Declaration was signed at Stuttgart in 1983. Monetary Union began to take off. AC I was deleted by the Conservative Party. And in his own book. and this is what I've always been up against. This was because he got into serious trouble over Monetary Union. I may say. EU And I decided they were certainly not going to rewrite it so far as I was concerned. and the reaction of the Labour Party of Michael Foot is most interesting. who set about busily rewriting history. namely Economic and Monetary Union which everybody thought at the time was going to be a failure. as it were.

You had to face them on their own ground. And Margaret was absolutely 100% right. including the naming of the members of the awkward squad.a fourpenny pound.000. Well in some ways my wife was too. AJC I wonder if I could ask you a question of interpretation here. The way she did it you can object to. Its publication was delayed because of the death of my wife. 1 was by far and away the oldest member of the Cabinet.we UE got our contribution down from a bit under £ 1.000. living here in London is a congenial place in which to live and also being a member of Cabinet has its advantages. you know. AH AC (Embargoed text). 1 knew 1 would never be there beyond the next Election. It upset them. as 1 say in the House of Lords. 1 didn't name the third member and 1 won't now but it's got remarkably close to the truth. and the figures are in Hansard and 1 repeat them . The lecture was then printed and circulated in a number of languages by the European Commission. Archives: Lord Cockfield 8 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union .000. But still.that if ever we joined the Community we would pay dearly for so doing. namely the United Kingdom and Denmark. That is one and the other is the Address 1 gave to the "Colloquium" which should have been a "Celebration". The original deal proved to be a very effective one. I've put this UE question to . There are two documents in the Appendix of the book.. but some of these Continentals are impossible people. because they weren't used to being talked to straight.000 to less than £200. Margaret Thatcher did what needed to be done. This is what is called "sovereignty" in the monetary field.and he said it HA publicly .. Francis Arthur Cockfield Parliament in 1987.she got rid of everybody who disagreed with her and there was nobody left who would stand up to her. that's the background to it.. 1 would have thought so. This was in the 80s. and even Geoffrey Howe with his infinite patience until finally he turned. but the British tend to be rather more straightforward in what they say than people on the Continent. And there it is. But it was an absolute outrage what was going on. an absolute outrage that de Gaulle had rigged the finances of the Community to ensure . or Elspeth turned. one is the lecture 1 delivered at Florence just after 1 had left the Commission which very accurately forecast what in fact has now happened. let me not follow my own particular U bent on these matters. and this is. Absolute nonsense. We decided therefore that we would be retiring but 1 was then offered the job in Brussels and my wife took the view that it was much better that 1 kept active. But as all of these chaps were busy rewriting history 1 thought "1 'm not having that one" so 1 sat down and wrote this book of my own. You must remember that money was worth a lot more in those days than it's worth now. So there it was HA and really it was a great tragedy of life that in her latter days she got too dictatorial .000. is what they're proud of . 1 thought at least 1'm going to set down my story whether or not anybody reads it. tell them what you EU thought. And unless you know how to deal with them you don't get anywhere. She may have been a bit E rough in the way she talked to them. AJC Do youfeel that Elspeth Howe was probably more important? AC She had the reputation of being a much tougher individual than him. So she was absolutely right. A pound is now worth fourpence compared to what AH it was worth at the end of the War.

To what extent - there is a phenomen known as ex-post rationalisation . Nigel got to within a hair's breadth of it. It's the facilities that are available to you. Nigel is a quarrelsome man anyway. When you said that she felt that she had been conned. Really to go around and excuse U your change of policy on the ground that you've made a frightful blunder a few years earlier doesn't seem to be the right credentials for people to put their E faith in you in the future. other people will give you a totally different explanation. She made them over the European Community. Mind you he was wrong . were you thinking of the Foreign Office or were you thinking of a wider dimension? Is it possible that Mrs Thatcher felt that she had been conned by the continentals too? AC You're asking a question that I can't answer. The influence of one's wife can be critical in these matters. It was simply an error of judgement. and she promptly sacked him or -made him resign or whatever you like. He was single handedly responsible for the great depression we had in the 1990s. so she got rid of him. All of these things are beyond price. it's what goes with the pay. just as the great crash of 1929 on Wall Street was followed by the great recession of 1931. AJC You mean taking the brakes offafter the 1987 election? UE AC No. As simple as that.I was simply saying that this was the explanation she gave. AJC In conversation with Sir Michael Butler. I took a very simple view of this . we were now in for the same scenario. That is my explanation. the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which she felt had misled her. he said to me that after 1985 Mrs Thatcher became rather cross with. it's the status. the trouble comes when they try and do it themselves.there was nobody in the end who would really stand up to her. Nobody's ever got up and said so. but still. AH She began to make serious errors of judgement. And he was EU going to be the one Finance Minister in the Western world who had foreseen this and had taken the right steps to deal with it and he would go down in history in the same way as Roosevelt and Keynes had as the men who had got HA America out of the recession. it wasn't that. and the great point about newspaper writers is that they're admirable at telling everybody else AH what they ought to do. But to return to Margaret Thatcher . he was going to be the one man in the Western world who'd saved the United Kingdom from a recession. what matters isn't the pay. that's a rather different view from that taken HA by a lot of people. He decided.his monetary policy was a disaster for the country. or was. Francis Arthur Cockfield When politicians plead poverty don't pay much attention. So he expanded the economy just at the time when really one ought to have gone slow and it led UE directly to the subsequent boom and bust.and to what extent her Archives: Lord Cockfield 9 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . Margaret Thatcher would not tolerate dissent or disagreement and in the end it led to her own downfall. she always maintained that she'd signed the Single European Act without realising what it meant. it was a bit later. In your book you yourself refer to Mrs Thatcher 50 reaction to the ultimate realisation of the Single European Act as one of having been conned. The Stock Exchange crash came in 1987. Nigel was an academic economist plus a newspaper writer. It's what happens to you when you travel abroad.

We did..when he said that he knew that his Presidency had been a disaster but he said that it was all due to the British budget contribution. this was the point. his meetings went right on late into the night very often while Cabinet over here meets at eleven and goes away for lunch by one o 'clock. in fact. And he said "But of course you were right" . There's a great truth in that. I would say "that is the programme the Heads of Government have agreed." It totally altered the whole atmosphere and the sort of things that U happened. He was perfectly content to leave me to run the Internal Market Programme. they had the programme. all that in 1985 the Heads of Government had put their money on the Single Market. unless you were there. And the one thing I'd learned as a result of fifteen years in the Civil Service was to recognise nit-picking when I saw it. I've said. the Heads of Government reacted with enthusiasm. but he was very. go back and argue with AH Helmut Kohl or with Mrs Thatcher or with whoever else it is. Suddenly finding put in front of them in a matter of weeks a major programme which would take the Community forward in the direction UE which had been signposted by the Treaty of Rome but never fulfilled. It gave them time to get enthusiastic about the grand vision. he really was. You have to remember also that Delors was avery.. well knowing that I would never do Archives: Lord Cocktield 10 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . things that had been started by other Presidencies being put on one side. but the point that I've made repeatedly is that the Single European Act was a direct child of the Solemn Declaration. it's nothing to do with me. this was a decision by the Heads of Government and that was that. The Luxembourg Presidency introduced the idea of the E rolling programme to get away from this nonsense of every Presidency having HA its own pet ideas. play what was almost a trick on the Heads of Government in that we didn't send the AH programme to them until ten days before the actual meeting of the Heads of Government. the enormous enthusiasm that that programme created when it was produced. But to come back to the Single Market. and it completely altered the atmosphere inside the HA Commission's services. He had a very clear vision. it's no good you arguing with me. The Community had lived through the dark days of the Thorn Presidency and I tell the story of what Thorn said to me when he asked me to come and see him - his apologia pro vita sua . his vision was one of Economic and Monetary Union essentially leading to European Union. For once they had a clear positive remit as to what they were to do. But there it was. And the Belgian Presidency. very good indeed as a Committee Chairman. that the Single Act had a dual provenance. looking back. deciding that we were to go ahead with majority voting despite the fact that the Treaty had not been ratified. Like all Continentals he took a long time to do things. were unbelievable before 1985 and equally probably unbelievable today. Absolutely unbelievable and they stuck to it too. very able leader or President of the Commission.but it's no good being right if all the others are against you". You cannot understand. and once that programme had been approved by the Heads of Government I would never argue with anyone whether it was the Council of UE Ministers or their officials. it didn't give their officials time to get down to the hard task of nit-picking at EU which all officials are greatly skilled. if you don't like it. Francis Arthur Cockfield reaction when she said she'd been conned was ex-post rationalisation I just do not know. It was first of . In future you had a troika. and I explajned this in my own book. it had totally changed the whole of the atmosphere and it was a story of success. it was in the White Paper. so you were carrying on automatically from one Presidency to another.

a terrible error of judgement. His attention turned to Economic and Monetary Union and he got the Heads of Government to declare that the Single Market was a success and therefore the time had come to tum to Monetary Union and they set up a grand committee to propose what were called "Concrete Steps" to Monetary Union. or at the most two years. It never seemed to occur to her that the greatest victories are won HA by your subordinates.just a few of us sitting round in a little room. I never did. By the time of the Summit at Hanover in June 1988 his mind was turning from the Single Market which had then only been running effectively for less than two and a half year into what was an eight year programme. saying what wonderful chaps they were. I'm sorry. that I would ever be there for more than one term. I took the Single Market portfolio on the ground that I'd agreed with Margaret Thatcher that that's what I would do and we had Delors to dinner at Number 10 Downing Street . AJC What I wanted to ask you about Jacques Delors is this. And of course it was then compounded by the fact that Margaret decided not to UE reappoint me. and she just told him. if not approaching sixty years so why should I worry. she felt they were challenging her supremacy. I never expected to stay on. when I took the job on. before the whole project would have been in the bag and successfully completed. In a way I thought it was a tragedy. Clinton Davis bitterly resented being what he described as 'being sacked'. but I never expected. and he more or Archives: Lord Cockfield 11 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . But so far as the Single Market was concerned it took the eye off the ball a year or two years early. It is Eisenhower who claims to have won the War. Quite clearly he was keen on the completion of the internal market. It would only have been a year. and in many ways it's this partnership that grew up between us which underpinned the success of that programme. Francis Arthur Cockfield anything that I knew he objected to without having it out with him first. But she never learned that lesson. So they then have HA had to have a great drive to do what they ought to have been doing in 1988 and 1989. but was his main priority from the beginning Economic and Monetary Union and did he select as it were after his Cook s Tour ofEurope to opt for the Single Market programme as a means ofgetting a regeneration ofthe Community going? AC It wasn't like that at all. I've always refused to get involved in public debate on this. And UE instead of as it were. It is perfectly true that by the time I got this programme rolling AH I would have liked to have seen it through to a successful conclusion but nevertheless this is the position. a tragedy for her but not AH a tragedy for me because after all I'd worked then for well over fifty years. But still. It's only now that U they're right up against the deadline for Monetary Union the Heads of Government suddenly realise that they'd not got the Single Market properly E finished and what is more it had regressed in some respects. I've now lost the thread of what we were saying. I wasn't faced with the risk of having votes called against me with the Chairman on the wrong side. sitting round the table. The result was that I had nearly always absolute support from him and this was critical. But there it was. I thought it was a tragedy. the Pattons and the Montgomerys and the people like that who actually won it. EU a tragedy for Margaret in a way more than for me because I could have carried that programme through to complete success and she could then have claimed credit for it. in fact it was the generals in the field. What went wrong with it in the end was his eye shifted.

Kohl was a relative newcomer. I had refused point blank to take the Budget. textiles and so on. there was not going to be a repeat of the British AH budget row. I introduced the French to the habit of eating butter with your bread. We sat down at the scrubbed table in the Monastery and we were all given a roll or a piece of bread and I looked round and there was no butter. you've got a butter mountain. I Archives: Lord Cockfield 12 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . i. coal and steel. I said "I'm not having this" and she said she wasn't having it either. and this is what she said. when later Delors came to AH draw up the allocation of portfolios among the Commissioners and I saw him in this hotel in Brussels. while he wanted the emphasis to be on new technology. although Nigel had agreed with Willie de Clercq that Lord Cockfield would have the budget and Willie de Clercq would have Economic and Monetary Union. as well. His view. and what was Oe1ors? He'd been a Finance Minister in France. There are some stories about that one too. you're complaining about the cost of maintaining butter mountains and you don't eat the stuff yourself'. but I took it because I knew what was going to happen when we got to the so-called "night of the long knives" which was held at Royanmont. the Citizen's Europe and European Union. the most formidable statesman in Europe. so there was Margaret. poor Nigel just sat there dumbstruck. his priority was always Economic and Monetary Union.e. on research on the new HA industries. and I detail this. It was this broad political project. on the fringes. Industry. he was essentially a fonctionnaire. I said "This is absurd. he not only offered me everything I'd asked for but also threw in virtually the whole of DO III. So when we sat down to have dinner and she made this announcement. And it's not surprising. AJC What J also wanted to ask you about . a thing probably Nigel EU didn't know. and you've only got to read his early speeches. The trouble was the Germans didn't see it that way. And he wanted the Industry Commissioner not to be an Industry Commissioner in the old sense any longer but to be the man in charge of the brave new world. I had in fact no intention whatever of being lumbered with coal and steel. But at the "night of the long knives". this is in fact what happened and having got this agreement that I should take the Single Market. both in my book and in the lecture I gave. I saw this. Francis Arthur Cockfield less touched his forelock. I went to Margaret. After that butter was always served at the Commission functions and as a matter of principle I always used to eat it too. End of discussion. then at least they were not going to be a nuisance in the Community. He was absolutely right. UE AC But it's very important this. I used to get copies of all these dispatches. The internal market was simple underpinning it because he realised that if you were going to have Economic and Monetary Union then of course you'd got to complete the original agenda of the Treaty of Rome but at the same time he felt that if the Brits were prepared to take this one on board. What was in U the back of his mind was that "Industry" as commonly understood included E most of the dying industries. and it suited him. She just said to him "And Mr Delors. I hadn't HA said anything to him quite deliberately. Lord Cockfield will be taking the Single Market" or the internal market as we then called it". none whatever. I went to Margaret. UE something which suited them. in those days she was the most formidable Head of State in Europe. Mitterand everybody thought was now beginning to move towards the end.

Two other people wouldn't have done so. AH AC My mother was a member of the Primrose League in the 1920s. there was anxiety that Germany might well become the most powerful member within that Customs Union. the food industry. the most powerful army in the world and the most efficient and productive industry in the world. but other members.I'm U not talking about Ted here now. You know. we worked well together as a Commission and this was critically important. for what it was worth. HA AJC Going back to the 1950s. But we've always been dominated by our Imperial past and our enormous industrial power and we've only very hesitatingly come to terms with the modem world. the construction industry. the textile industry. This. As I've said repeatedly in the nineteenth century we had the biggest navy in the world. Our local MP was Major J J Astor. who had two jewels in his crown. the Messina Conference took place and it became known that the Six were moving towards a Customs Union. very long time and very hesitatingly to come to terms with it. but I had been given too much work to do and if he was happy to do some of it and I wasn't interested. within the Conservative Party a feeling . He was the Chairman of Governors of my school. in the 1960s that we made the retreat from East of Aden. It was really only when Healey became Defence Minister. the chemical industry. UE AJC You had obviously a very long association with the Conservative Party and the question I . he owned the Times newspaper and also Hever Castle where the ladies of the Primrose League EU were always taken for an annual outing. the best thing was graciously to let him get on with it. there would have been turf wars and quarrelling all the time. a super free trade HA area. I ended up with most of industry. In fact Karl Heinz and myself worked very well together. anything really approximating to a Customs Union? Was there this continuity of thought or feeling and did it resurface with renewed vigour with Mrs Thatcher? AC We have never really in this country come to terms with our reduced status in the world. Francis Arthur Cockfield knew I'd got coal and steel to give away. had inherited. Today we have none of those things and it's taken us a very. that they viscerally opposed any kind ofdeepening structures in Europe. Archives: Lord Cockfield 13 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . Karl Heinz was very good. there was an anxiety lest British industry be shut out of Europe. this created a great UE deal ofconsternation within the Government. that is virtually all the industries which were critical to the internal market and I kept command also over all the horizontal subjects like standards. I retained the pharmaceutical industry. and in the end. What I left him with was everything that I didn't want to have anything to do with. because I surrendered these specific areas after long hard fought battles. or East of Suez. including standards in the rump of industry that Karl Heinz Narjes. The question AH that I want to ask is in a sense one of interpretation: were these anxieties a constant threat in the Conservative attitude towards Europe from the 1950s down to the 1980s? Was there. rank and file and so on - was there afeeling within the Conservative Party that association with Europe E would be OK on the basis it was. the Industry Commissioner. as one can see from the documents which are now publicly available. as you put it in your book.

For so many people it was really a question of the head overcoming the heart and the realisation that leaders were supposed to lead. we were gradually developing this policy of setting one off against the other. It started with the breakdown of the free trade system after the Great Depression. We had just lived through the most terrible war in history where a coalition of France Russia. I'm in a very difficult position. stop. and Europe gradually becoming the market of the future. though EU not as protectionist as they were against others . there's a story about Robespierre. no AC Oh.and we could see our trade ebbing was that which finally won the war. namely that we sided with the French when the Germans were getting too powerful. In the post-War world we were I think genuinely afraid of developments in Europe. he was sitting in his apartment talking to someone and a great mob goes roaring by going up to the Place Vend6me for the daily executions by guillotine and he said "Stop. I saw this development very much when I was Chief Executive of Boots. I know when I'm right when I'm going in the direction that my members want me to go. if this goes on much longer. Francis Arthur Cockfield You must also remember that a great deal of our power rested upon the theory of the Balance of Power. When Russia came in against Germany the outcome still hung in the balance and it was only when the full American might became evident . So he could see no alternative if we were going to UE survive. and he said "You know. they began to be protectionist against the United Kingdom. You know the story? AJC No." Well. The Commonwealth countries began to build up their own industry. but they've set them up in the United Kingdom and the feeling was that unless we were in Europe. And we had a strike because the members of his union went on strike. it was only when the Americans came in the balance changed. This HA essentially rested on seeing trade with America gradually falling away. And he called me aside one day and said "You know Arthur. He wasn't there to have consultation HA and polls and then make up his mind what he ought to do. I am their Archives: Lord Cockfield 14 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . namely that we were perpetually afraid that Europe might unite against us. we sided with the Germans when the French were getting too powerful. But at the same time there was the fear that trade links with the Empire. Poland and the United Kingdom proved impossible to contain Germany. all these American companies have set up their own was the Americans who rearmed the Russian armies. you and I will have to be involved in this". really since the time of Queen Elizabeth I. were ebbing AH away. trade with the Commonwealth falling away. If you study our history over several hundred years. The Prime E Minister was supposed to give a lead. The 1914-18 war was much the same. I must now go and follow them. these companies would leave the UK and would migrate into U Europe. I remember very well Peter Walker at a seminar at which I was speaking telling the story of his own conversion to the European ideal. now the Commonwealth. it was stalemate by 1917. Boots was a company which had very large manufacturing facilities and the Company manufactured on behalf of American companies. it was the Americans who built the great armaments plants beyond the Urals . All UE the time this was in the back of our minds. As time AH has gone on. I learned the folly of that approach when I was member ofNEDDY with Frank Cousins who was then the leader of one of the great trade unions.

Clearly. Six weeks I think it was passed without a sound. because I'd thought of all of them myself. detailing what I call the 57 varieties. Their failure is the failure to have used the eighteen years in which they were the Opposition to flesh out their policies and work out the details of them. I'd been in the game UE long before they were born. but we felt that you ought to know what the problems were".. "Chancellor. all the objections.. you saw which way your members wanted to go and you followed them.The U Future" at the Fontainebleau summit? Did you have any input? E AC You're talking about which Summit? The Solemn Declaration was in be fair to the Government Blair has made an enormous change in that party and a change for the better. so I wrote out all the answers to these objections and the answers went back. on this tax reform programme we drew up for Ted Heath and lain Macleod . and Roy Jenkins simply hadn't got anybody to write the answers. The point about the Fontainebleau summit is that the Single Market isn't mentioned at all. AJC But at the Fontainebleau summit AC Which was before.lain died and it was taken over by Tony Barbour. They simply didn't want to do it and they produced all these objections. HA the Fontainebleau Summit in 1984 both before I went to the Commission. I sat down. This is the approach of the New Labour Govemment. How you do it? You can see. After HA detailing all the advantages. he ended up by saying "But alas. What was your input into the memorandum "Europe . of course. I'd like to ask you another question.. AC You're thinking of a Fontainebleau summit. they came back with a document this thick. wrote out the answers to every single one of these objections. and in those days I used to write everything. Then a memorandum this long came from the AH Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue. AJC I'm just. I understand that you had a very unique role in the realisation of the internal market. let alone having been in it. a much later one. this is the Fontainebleau Summit of1984 Archives: Lord Cockfield 15 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . And that was all. When the programme was presented to the Inland Revenue. but what he is now doing. No problem whatever. This was the Frank Cousins approach. Before the UE election Ted called me in and said "Will this programme run?" I said "Yes". is dithering. I must follow them". it is impossible". going back to the early 1980s. This was the beginning of the month of August. Fontainebleau and my coming to the Commission I set out in detail in my own book. my wife was in the Isle of Man. I am their leader. AJC But in the . Quite simply. It wasn't that we couldn't have thought of the answers ourselves. AH AJC I wonder. Now they had sold that pup to Roy Jenkins EU because I was horrified when I opened Hansard and read his Budget speech the year before when he was talking about amalgamating the Income Tax and Surtax that was one of the things that was a key to this programme. Francis Arthur Cockfield leader. The story of Stuttgart.

To what extent . In the early 1980s. 'Margaret was ready to undertake one more initiative ahead of the June Milan Summit as part of our campaign to convince people of our seriousness. I would almost certainly have seen it and just accepted AH it without too much argument. yes indeed. I had no idea that I would be going to Brussels. I obviously do understand and appreciate your very great contribution to this but to what extent was there a general move in Europe towards the completion ofthe internal market? AC You will find that point is dealt with specifically in my own book. Francis Arthur Cockfield AC Yes. no this is Geoffrey Howe.. and Ford AC Wisse Dekker was the President and Chairman of Phillips. your very wide contacts E with business. but I'm just wondering did you have any involvement with the memorandum that put forward "Europe The Future" in which the Government proposed the completion ofa market and also talked about AC This would have gone through the official channels. AJC And Ford also had produced something.. I developed the same themes and was able to make some real headway. who is this. U AJC What I also wanted to ask in connection with that i. Indeed they were talking of the single market almost entirely in terms of services such as transport and the financial services and very little else. You have to remember that at that stage in June I had not been approached. The briefing that I got about the single market both for the meetings with Delors in October 1984 and when I went to Brussels was hopelessly inadequate. this is Butler is it? AJC No. most notably at the Italian informal meeting at Stresa. President and HA Chairman of Phillips.. Geoffrey Howe.. She agreed to circulate a AH discussion paper outlining all the positive features of our approach entitled "Europe the Future". HA AC Well it depends exactly. Agnelli. had written "The Play for Europe" in 1990. For example. UE AC Oh.. well. Well all I can say is this. it says here under the . UE AJC I'm just looking in the index for the precise location. the Chairman of Fiat. and I don't know exactly what did that memorandum. Wisse Dekker. EU But all this was badly blighted by the fate ofMargaret s attempts to woo Kohl for not only was there no response from him ". What I'm trying to come to here is this. That memorandum would have gone into the machine. this is before I'd gone to the Commission AJC Yes.. this is the one. The 1970s Archives: Lord Cockfield 16 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . say when it was talking about the Internal (or Single) Market. Fiat had also produced a document on the completion of the internal market.. What happened was that in the early 1980s a great revival took place.

Francis Arthur Cockfield had been blighted by three factors . But as you moved into the 80s people began more and more to talk of the resurgence of the Community. after the event. So EU there was this undercurrent of pressure for progress. You had a number of people.there was the enlargement of the Community to include Britain. All of these people were agitating on this issue at this time.. At the time industry had more interest in this issue than the politicians. You began to get a more forward looking attitude. a lot of the responsibilities of the Department of Trade were taken away leaving it more as an overseas sales promotion department which was then joined up with the rump of the old Department of Industry. UE AJC I thought you were referring to a person . was that we'd have been far better off had all those draft directives been scrapped and had we started with a clean sheet. They both represented the top echelon of U business. So I had that specific interest in parallel with these leading people in European industry. the broad canvas.. and Solvay E with his group. of the unfinished business of the Treaty of Rome. the Sixth Directive. and Jacques Solvay. very early Archives: Lord Cockfield 17 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . there were already a hundred draft UE directives relating to internal member matters on the table. An enormous amolmt of background work had been done. the great VAT Directive. Denmark and Ireland with both Britain and Denmark proving difficult new members. most of them dating before 1976. You had the foundation at the beginning of 1983 of the Internal Market Council because people were beginning to say that we should start to move forward again. there was the one that Jacques Solvay was running and there was the one that Agnelli was the Chairman. By the time I took over in January 1985. Then of course in HA 1983 there was the Solemn Declaration on European Union. HA Agnelli of Fiat. Chairman of Solvay the great Belgian chemical company all exerting great pressure that progress could be made.Jacques Solvay was the Chairman of the Company founded by his AH family in the nineteenth century. AC Oh. I took aviation and I took shipping. I took the financial services. You had the creation of the Internal Market Council when I was the Secretary of State and responsible for this area of policy. Wisse Dekker was right in the front. A lot of other people talking about this. which was not adopted unti11976 was really a clean-up operation of trying to incorporate what achievements had been made before the paralysis set in. In a sense my interest in it was driven by the fact that I had been an industrialist. I am . Progress in the Community stopped effectively after 1973. But that is by the way. everyone knew those directives were there and they were begirming to say AH "Shouldn't we get on with some of this?" My own reaction. and the failure of monetary policy to react correctly to what had happened with serious inflation resulting. Thirdly you had the recession which was sparked off by the oil price increases. When after the 1983 Election an empire was made for Cecil Parkinson. Agnelli was there with his group. There were also the two big industrial bodies. I was the Secretary of State for Trade and in those days the remit of the Trade Department was much wider than that of Trade and Industry is today. Secondly you had the two big increases in oil prices. but with the internal market coming in in very much of a supporting capacity and which did not appear until Page 14 of the English edition. Wisse Dekker of Phillips. including the City of London and Lloyds. I was absolutely horrified at one of the very.

In many ways success in management lies in the ability to plan ahead. but every single item had its own timetable. and Number two will have no excuse whatever. But I had another factor in my mind and that was that. I said "we are going to UE have no excuses: Number one has got to hand over to Number two a job which is running and running properly. because he's inherited a good performance". how did you achieve it? The answer was you selected what you thought was an attainable date on the basis of certain very broad general principles and you then validated it by working it out in detail. Eight years taking us to 1992 was the time span that I decided was right. there are two to come". it doesn't matter. the seven years of the good harvest etc. I always maintained very close and friendly relations with Wisse Dekker but I was on the inside and could see what was practicable. you had to alter the date and revalidate it or if you felt the path was too easy you could bring the date forward. if you have three Commissions. I started by arguing that if the Customs Union could be completed in less than the lifetime of three Commissions we ought to be able to do the Single Market in two Commissions and that took you to eight years because the life of a Commission was then four years.this was before I knew I would not be re-appointed. I've never quite understood. Just after we were appointed in 1985 there was an argument between Lamy. If you then found the date couldn't be met. to know what was going to happen next year before it happens. My argument was it's no use waiting until the disasters U occur. I went back to the Treaty of Rome which had specified three Commissions of four years each to establish the Customs Union which in fact was completed a bit ahead of time in ten and a half years. I drew up a report AH before I left saying exactly what had been done. The White Paper only divides the proposals into two batches. we inherited this from Number one and we could only do our best" and Number three would say "It wasn't our fault. Delors' Chef de Cabinet. you start the year by seeing what it's going to look like and if you don't like what the year's going to look like you change your plans. I said what they could do in ten a half years we ought to be able to do in eight . EU Delors had reached "1992" through some other route that I've never fully understood. so you can validate your programme by reference to the published overall programme Archives: Lord Cockfield © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . or whether there was something else in the back of his mind. But so far as I was concerned I'd got to "1992" before I came to the Commission as AH an exercise in business management. "on no account: it's the thirty-first of December". I then sat down and validated that programme by having it drawn up in detail.if number one falls behind he will say "Oh well. Given the E requirement that you were to compete the Internal Market as we originally HA called it or the Single Market. and what had got to be done before we handed over to the next Commission . Numbers 1 and 2 fell behind". Francis Arthur Cockfield conferences I attended with Wi sse Dekker in 1985. which is what was taken in 1957 . Number two will then say "They put up a poor performance. because he was then advocating the completion of an internal market by 1990 which was clearly impossible. Whether De10rs was thinking of the traditional seven years as the UE measuring rod. having a time schedule attached to every single item in the programme. and myself over what was meant by HA "1992" with Lamy trying to maintain it was the first of January 1992 and I saying. And I won that argument.the lifetime then of two Commissions. This in tum took you from the 1 January 1985 until 31 December 1992.

but we were locked in a situation where HA the recession meant that the pound ought to be falling in value. once you'd breached the dykes the forces of trade would widen the entry points. it forced change. We will probably end up by going into the Euro at the wrong time. When we went in the Exchange Rate was absolutely right but we were at the beginning of a slip downhill in the AH economy into recession. People have UE said that the trouble was we set the exchange rate too high: we didn't. this was what demonstrated that 1992 was a practicable. but you have to get sufficient convergence to make it possible to go in and the system will then force the convergence. we went in when the time was wrong not when the time was right. move would be that we will choose the wrong time to do it. The answer again is that what went wrong is that we went at the wrong time. This was what went wrong . This was a mistake you can guarantee the AH Blair Government will make because it's a mistake that has always been made by this country in the past. The rhetoric then got altered. We are too negative because we say convergence first. but every day that went by EU the rate was going to become wrong and then wronger because we were locked in a rate when the economic situation . It's forced budget discipline on all of these countries. AC The real story of the ERM is a fascinating one. the point was to have a system in operation where goods and services could begin to flow freely. Not that it would be wrong to go into the Euro . Francis Arthur Cockfield and also to the detailed internal programme. The Single Market did the same. that the fact that a date was agreed when it was going to start has forced convergence among the States intending to join. You then of course have to do a critical path analysis to tidy the whole thing up. achievable goal. Did you feel that Mrs Thatcher s resistance to the ERM was justified? . we will join when the time is right. If you don't move you never get the convergence anyway so you lock yourself into a negative position. You've seen it with the Euro. they promote HA convergence and you've got to look at both was as simple as that. The great E point about all these moves forward. you didn't do the other". It is probably true that the ERM was too much of a straightjacket and it hadn't been forseen that there might be UE what proved to be quite a serious recession. The one thing that I've Archives: Lord Cockfield 19 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . I said at the time we in fact joined that the time was over-ripe and what went wrong was essentially one of timing. You'd have industry pressing for more to be done. we set the exchange rate at the wrong time. and you can see it so clearly in the case of the Single Market. I've always replied you could never do everything at once.on the U contrary . If you're sliding downhill your exchange rate weakens anyway so we were finding ourselves in a position having just joined at a rate which was right at that moment of time. AJC Towards the end of the 1980s a great deal ofpressure built up in the Cabinet for Britain to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism. it made people plan on the basis of an open Europe.we ought not to have been in a recession but leave that on one side . is that they not only require convergence. From my point of view this was not only where 1992 came from. People are always coming along now and saying to me "But you didn't do this. Now obviously you were a Commissioner and not a member of the British government but clearly you would have had some closeness to events and policy even as an observer. It started by our saying that we would join when the time was ripe.

we want the job done. And this is why it was right to get the Internal Market Programme. Instead of industry holding back. There's been a single market in America since the Second Constitution was signed in 1779. all we want to do is to ask you to help us to put it right. The first important step in consumer protection in the United Kingdom was taken by the Sale of Goods Act in 1893.after two hundred years. So that when you talk of "federalism" the trouble is that so many of the people that I regard as anti-Europeans . When the British use the word "federal" they mean something entirely different from what the Continentals mean. in his recent book on Britain's relations with Europe which he subtitled "Dialogue ofthe Deaf" makes great play ofthe notion that in a sense U the Continentals are in some way instinctive federalists. UE the Single Market launched even though people will come along and say it's imperfect . Do you feel from your experiences at the E Commission and from your connections with Europe via business etc. This country had a federal structure after 1923 right up until 1973 when Stormont was abolished. that in HA fact there is afederal agenda? AC You're up against what I call the Humpty Dumpty syndrome.having the American Constitution of 1779 abolishing HA internal frontiers as far as trade was concerned. I used to argue this in Cabinet over privatisation. Francis Arthur Cockfield never regretted is being criticised for not really having got the Single Market fully completed by 1992 because industry is now on the same side as I am.although they would resent it . But that's the real argument for privatisation.of course it's imperfect. And I pointed out when we EU celebrated the centenary of that Act we were still having new legislation coming forward on the Statute Book to improve it. we want people agitating that you've not completed it.they both want better performance. This doesn't mean to say it wasn't worth while . we're trying to force the job being done. And they're still bringing forward AH proposals to remove barriers to inter state trade . You never will complete it. something's got to be done. If you privatise it what happens? You get up and you say to the critics. Now which position would you prefer to be in?" I never get any reply to this sort of argument. You remember that Humpty Dumpty said: When I used the word" Humpty Dumpty said "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less". I used to say "Well. AH AJC Lord Beloff. the British are not. it's an absolute scandal.are using the term "federal" in a very different sense from the sense in which many of us would think of a federal structure. Instead of the Government being in the position of defending bad performance against the citizen. we UE want industry. it's that the Government and the citizen are now on the same side . "We agree with you. How absurd can you get. it wasn't wrong to have the Sale of Goods Act of 1893 introducing the concept of consumer protection . if you want to get elected? But the Single Market's the same. industry is saying "Why don't those fellows go forward". and once you start perverting language in this way it does make rational debate difficult. I had to make it clear in the House when I quoted this that I was not referring to the Prime Minister at the time. and that there is a federal agenda. And we're now Archives: Lord Cockfield 20 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union .it was right. look what happens at present if the railway is wrong or the coal is wrong you have to get up and defend it in Parliament. you have to get up and defend those people.

We're going to have a Parliament in Scotland. Lord Simon of Glaisdale. on the Swiss Confederacy as a pattern of constitutional progress. The only possible solution to the Ulster problem is a Federal solution under which Ulster is part of a Federal United Kingdom with the power for its citizens to Federate with the United Kingdom or to federate with Southern Ireland. This would be three or four years ago.but as time goes on you'll probably want E to devolve them. AJC But if couldjust . it almost goes as far as that except that it eschews the dreadful word "federal". privately I said no way will it be existence in its present form much beyond the millennium. AC But the Treaty's absolutely clear about it.. Archives: Lord Cockfield 21 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . in particular Conservative Commissioners. Francis Arthur Cockfield moving back to a federal structure. Well. Lord Coclifield. should in a sense represent British interests as conceivedfrom a Conservative point ofview. In his memoirs Geoffrey Howe says that he feels that Mrs Thatcher believed that Commissioners. HA It just has an's' on it . AJC One final question. This was well before the 1997 Election. is not going to be in existence in fifty years time. but what I think is likely to be the position in twenty or fifty years time and. That's the only way I see the future of the United Kingdom. and before long you will have a Parliament in Wales. that in fact is where we're going effectively to end up. I del ivered a speech in the House of Lords in response to a debate initiated by the retired Law Lord. I'll be honest. you should read my speech in that debate where I said that the only long term solution for the United Kingdom would be to become the United Kingdoms. and UE it won't be either. There it is. what's wrong AH with that? And this is still my view.. constituted as it has been under the HA Conservative Government. And I start with the view that the United Kingdom. Once you do that you've solved the Northern Ireland problem. given EU that scenario. you will start by defining the centre as keeping most of the existing powers. It'll already be part way down the path to a Federal constitution. I think I'm correct in've then given both sides what they want. but under a Federal Constitution if it wishes to defect by say a two-thirds majority and go and join the Southern Irish.the "United Kingdoms" that's all. now you can define the centre as U narrowly or as widely as you want to. I tend to approach these problems in a somewhat different way from most people. AC I don't know exactly what he says because I've not read his book. if you read the paper put out by the Conservative Government. I ask myself not what I want. But this is the only real answer . There's no AH reason why they should not both be sitting in Westminster in the same way as Congress consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate both sitting together in the same building. good luck to them. No way will it be in existence in fifty years time. In fact. And that solves the so-called West Lothian question because you would have an English Parliament as well as a Federal Parliament. what should your policy be to ensure you meet the circumstances of that time in the way most advantageous to you. At the moment it UE would be part of a federal United Kingdom because that's where it is.

It's HA this attitude of mind I object to. over which. (or in the case of France. namely that the representatives of the member states were always the Heads of Government. you'll find it in the Single Act and it's repeated ever since. make quite certain that other people can't fall into that particular trap. It wasn't long. the matters that they had no competence over. who started upbraiding UE me for what I had said in the Commission's Annual Report and I pointed out that if he only went to the trouble of turning the page over he would find that that started by saying that this argument is. perhaps not exactly a printer's error. the Head of State) and their Foreign Ministers. In fact they used to spend much of their time debating Foreign Affairs. You'll find this in the Solemn Declaration. which was set up originally as a kind of umbrella Council. I may say at that time the Community or the Union had no competence . of course. But one of the basic UE difficulties. very funny printer's error. The result is that it never quite gets the whole hearted AH attention it ought to get. I've started on two occasions by saying that this is really very peculiar because it suggests that there's something foreign about E the European Union and it's something against which we require defence. and the Archives: Lord Cockfield 22 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . This has always taught me. the debate on the Humble Address. I worked very happily with him. but there was also a General Affairs Council. He was always a very considerable supporter as far as I was concerned. There are now about thirty corporate Councils. the Commissioners' duties appear on one page. I don't want you to think HA that my comment is intended in any way to be critical of anything Geoffrey Howe may have said. That's what they spent their time on. And you see the fact also in the General Affairs Council. I learned this when I was the Chairman of the Price Commission because I was sent for by Mr Denis Healey who was then the Chancellor of the Exchequer. because in the keynote debate of the year. the Foreign Office has interests very much wider than the European Community or the European Union as it now is. because it was attended by the Foreign Ministers. EU first . There is a consolidated edition of the Treaties .so they described their activities as "Co-operation in the field of Foreign Affairs". Francis Arthur Cockfield AJC Do you feel that Mrs Thatcher felt that a Commissioner should represent British interests? AC Do you know there's avery. and had not taken on board the fact that I was saying that this argument had been put forward. I've protested quite deliberately on a number of occasions in the House.if you look at the consolidated edition that was in use in my day and in Mrs Thatcher's day you'll find that when you're looking at the duties of Commissioners. all is produced by the Commission but it is not a consolidated edition in the strict legal sense . and you'll need to bear this in mind throughout. if you're responsible for setting the text in print. the European Community is lumped together with U Foreign Affairs and Defence. that it began to be called the "Foreign Affairs Council".always turn the page over before you get involved in an argument . Most people had not turned the page over.and secondly. Just AH because the printer had ended the page at that point he'd read only so far. and it's only when you turn the page over you find at the top of the next page the statement that the Member States must "not seek to influence the members of the Commission in the performance of their tasks". and he thought it was my argument. but it's a trouble that printers cause. Unfortunately this concept is deeply entrenched in the Community (or the Union) itself.

decided what they were going to spend and then it was obligatory expenditure. was one of the leaders in saying "That decision has got to go to the top Council". "Not on your life" said the Foreign Ministers.. and I really do want to say this very sincerely. AJC I only have to say. The poor chaps who had to put up the money were bound by law to put it up. HA These fellows have never been in the position where it's their own money that they're having to deal with . Francis Arthur Cockfield matters they were supposed to be dealing with they never dealt with at all. Now it was industry that made it a straight jacket. was not to spend more UE than the equivalent of 1. Every time they reform the Common Agricultural Policy in order to reduce the cost. I had the protection of the Treaty.and to be fair to him Nigel was one of the leaders in this . The Fischler reforms are going to push the cost up too. He was having to deal with Mrs Thatcher on a day to day basis. was that the beneficiaries. of course. set out in the Financial Regulation. in conclusion. all right. and Nigel. it's investment for the future". the cost goes up. get the guideline laid down under which the Community as a whole. This has meant that what they spend can still go up year by year despite the AH fact that what they're spending is excessive and ought to be coming down year by year. the Ministers of Agriculture. that Geoffrey Howe has nothing in his AH memoirs but the highest praise for you. The McSharry reforms . we did. It didn't matter to me if I was told to them money doesn't matter. until the tax payer revolts. at Edinburgh. Indeed in the days in which . they're figures on a sheet of paper. You diverted me onto it. And this is the trouble. I was not in any financial position where it mattered to me whether I had a paid job or whether I didn't and I could take an independent line. I cut my Archives: Lord Cockfield 23 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union . it was not the Price Commission. They made it a straight jacket because it was their members who if they got somewhere they didn't like went to a Court of Law. "nothing whatever to do with us". I used to say EU this all the time and they'd say "Well. E HA AC Against the background.27 per cent of the total GOP and the Agriculture Ministers were not to exceed a given percentage of the total budgetary figure. And that's financial control. I knew what my position was and to be fair. AC I got on very well with him U AJC I'm sure you did and everybody wants . of course. my working life had extended long beyond most people's working life. Didn't do most of them much good. A crazier system you could not find. they have. Nothing to do with us! In the end. this is a UE side issue. he had a bigger problem than I did.we tried to get a sense of financial responsibility dinned into the heads of the European Community and we could get nowhere at all because we said the General Affairs Council ought to have the final say over agricultural expenditure because at present the rule. or the Union now. The CBI will tell you a different story. I'd cut my teeth in the Price Commission where in effect the CBI or their members succeeded in getting established in a Court of Law that the Price Code was a legal document and had to be strictly adhered to. but the one I'm telling you is the true was as clear as noonday they were going to push the cost up. which is the General Affairs Council. to do him credit. Well.

Thank you once again Lord Cockfield. EU AJC Lord Coclifield. [note by Dr. strictly adhere to the original interview text. you probably will have gathered that impression. contained in this paper. I sat by her when she made her maiden speech. in dealing with the most difficult and awkward people and that is the quality a Foreign Secretary needs. And that's what she said. and HA all that remains for me to do is to thank you profusely on behalf of the European Community. therefore. but Geoffrey was. she was always very proud of the fact. it has been a real pleasure talking to you. and he thought quite rightly. Francis Arthur Cockfield teeth also on both the Excise and the Income Tax and I knew where I stood when it came to Courts of Law but Geoffrey was in the position that he was a politician occupying one of the most important Offices of State. he had infinite patience. UE AC Well thank you. My relations with AH her personally are very good. I had not authorised a change in the policy. The [mal agreed text. 2 AH E U HA 22 The text of the taped interview was fLrst transcribed under my supervision. might not. that what he was doing was right and correct and the last thing he wanted was to be forced to give up that position and he never gave it up until effectively he was put in the position where life was beginning to be intolerable and he then did the honourable thing and said "All right this is the end " I'm not a patient man. Her defence UE before the Enquiry was very simple . and then revised by Lord Cockfield in correspondence with me. although it broadly reproduces its contents. never had the slightest difficulty and it's simply that we do not see eye to eye. You read her evidence to the Swift Enquiry on arms to Iraq. therefore there had been no change". I don't think Margaret was ever misled in the proper sense of the term. He got what was feasible within the confines he had to work. A Crozier November 1998] Archives: Lord Cockfield 24 © Archives historiques de l'Union européenne © Historical Archives of the European Union ."I deal with policy. particularly as it relates to Britain and the European Union or the European Community as it was. thank you very much indeed for speaking to me today and commenting upon your long and varied career. Within the limits that were available to him he did the country very well indeed. He was in many ways an ideal Foreign Secretary.