Letter: Little to be gained from a federation of English-speaking states

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Sir: The reason why Professor Anatole Beck's romantic notion of a federation of English-speaking states will not happen (letter, 11 April) is that the keystone state, the US, does not want it. They believe that it is in their interests that, as one of their best friends, we should be a leading member of the new and powerful European Union. The Australians and Canadians go along with that view. The last thing they want is a weak Britain hanging on to their coat-tails.

After the second de Gaulle veto on our membership of the EEC, and when I was director general of the National Economic Development Council (NEDC), I had extensive talks with leading people in all three countries - and with the Danes - to see whether we could form a North Atlantic free trade area; and the answers were brisk and to the point.

For 10 years, until last year, I was a member of the European Parliament's Delegation to the US Congress, a unique group, meeting with our House colleagues for two weekends a year and also, once a year, meeting separately with members of the administration and the Senate. There is no question that that is still their view. As one great power, they recognise another, now much bigger than they are, and want to deal with it directly. They want us not just as a part of it but a leading part.

Yours sincerely,


Balsham, Cambridge

11 April