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19th Aug 2019

CIA supported British 1975 Yes to EU

It has long been rumoured that the CIA played an important role in the campaign to "keep Britain in Europe", which the Yes side ran up to the 1975 referendum about Britisk EU membership. But now, irrefutable documents are available to the public, according to Sir Richard Body, who gives his version of the facts in his recent book, "England for the English".

"After I became joint chairman of the Get Britain Out Council two Americans came to see me in 1975 with a large bundle of papers. They were, they claimed, CIA agents who deplored their country's methods in interfering in the affairs of a good ally. What they had brought were copies of documents which showed that a dedicated federalist, Cord Meyer, jnr. was to become head of a CIA station in London for the duration of the Referendum "to do what it takes" to secure a "Yes" vote in favour of Britain remaining in the EEC. The papers showed that the CIA had already given the European Movement considerable sums of money, but now multinational corporations which had been assisted by the CIA were to be persuaded to fund the "Yes" campaign through indirect channels.

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I hoped that at least one newspaper would agree to take up the story, but they were all strongly in favour of the EEC, and each one refused. Eventually, in the last few days of the campaign, Time Out agreed to publish the story. But it was then a mere fledgling with a small circulation, som only a few hundred Londoners would have read it.

Other people treated my account of the interview with disbelief, and I gave up speaking of the episode. However, the original documents are now filed in Georgetown University. Dr. Richard J. Aldrich, an academic of Nottingham University, has examined them and written a research paper about the CIA in Britain based upon the originals as well as a book".

Documentation can be found in:

OSS, CIA and European Unity in Diplomacy and Statecraft, vol. 8 no 1, March 1997

Richard J. Adrich, The Hidden Hand; John Murray, 2001.

For 40 years, until this summer, Sir Richard Body was a member of the British parliament, elected as a Conservative. He has written a number of books on farming policy, being himself a pioneer organic farmer as well as a lawyer, and on European integration. Among these last are "Europe of Many Circles" and "The Breakdown of Europe".

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