Jean Monnet

From Metapedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Jean Monnet, (born 9 Nov 1888, Cognac, France — died 16 March, 1979, in Houjarray), was a French political economist and diplomat who initiated comprehensive economic planning in western Europe after World War II. In France he was responsible for the successful plan designed to rebuild and modernize that nation’s post-war economy.

During World War I Monnet was the French representative on the Inter-Allied Maritime Commission, and after the war he was deputy secretary-general of the League of Nations (1919–23). Then, after reorganizing his family’s brandy business, he became the European partner of a New York investment bank in 1925.

At the start of World War II he was made chairman of the Franco-British Economic Co-ordination Committee. In June 1940 it was he who suggested a Franco-British union to Winston Churchill which was approved by the British Cabinet, but was denounced by the French Government as unacceptable.[1].

When Churchill and Charles de Gaulle proposed setting up a French National Committee outside the authority of the French Government he wrote a strong letter of opposition to de Gaulle, including:

I consider that it would be a great mistake to form an organization in Britain that might be viewed in France as an authority set up abroad under the protection of attempt at resuscitation cannot at present come from London. It would strike the French a movement protected by Britain, inspired by her own interests and, in consequence, doomed to a failure that would make subsequent efforts at recovery more difficult....[2]

After the Franco-German armistice he left for Washington D.C., and in 1943 he was sent to Algiers to work with the so-called and illegal Free French administration there, which he had previously denounced!

After the Allied invasion of France in 1944, Monnet headed a government committee to prepare a comprehensive plan for the reconstruction and modernization of the French economy. On Jan. 11, 1947, the Monnet Plan was adopted by the French government, and Monnet himself was appointed commissioner-general of the National Planning Board.

In May 1950 he and Robert Schuman[3], now the French Foreign Minister, proposed the establishment of a common European market for coal and steel by countries willing to delegate their powers over these industries to an independent authority. Six countries: France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg signed the treaty in 1951 that set up the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). From 1952 to 1955 Monnet served as the first president of the ECSC’s High Authority. In 1955 Monnet organized the Action Committee for the 'United States of Europe' and served as its President from 1956 to 1975. In 1976 the heads of the nine Common Market governments named Monnet a 'Citizen of Europe'. The ECSC inspired the creation of the European Economic Community, or Common Market, in 1957. Subsequently this became the European Union.

He published his Mémoires in 1978.


  1. Benoist-Méchin, Jacques, Sixty Days That Shook The West, Putnams, New York, 1963, pps:364-369.
  2. Benoist-Méchin, 1963, p.458. De Gaulle paid no heed to this advice. In any case Britain had already prevented him from leaving England.
  3. Who had been in Marshal Pétain's Government.