Monday, September 23, 2013

EU membership - has Parliament buried the "smoking gun" letter from 1960?

Albert Burgess's second piece here on Broad Oak included a photocopy of a crucial letter from the Lord Chancellor to Edward Heath in 1960. Heath had been made Lord Privy Seal by the then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and was tasked with negotiating the UK's entry into what was then known as the Common Market. When he himself became Prime Minister, Heath finally took us in. The importance of the letter is that it shows that Heath had been told of the constitutional implications almost a dozen years before.

As the copy I received was a little faint, I looked for another and found an edited-down transcript at (see first link above), listed as "Heath's Lie That There Would Be No Loss of Sovereignty".  It ended with a URL link to the House of Commons library website.

Trouble is, it's gone.

So I've emailed Parliament's webmaster as follows:
Date: 22 September 2013 19:52
Subject: Documents relating to the preparations for our entry into the Common Market etc


Dear Sir
I have come across a photostat of a letter written in December 1960 by Lord Kilmuir, the Lord Chancellor, to Edward Heath, discussing the constitutional implications of EC membership.

 The document was titled

Appendix 2 Letter to Edward Heath from Lord Kilmuir, December 1960"

and the URL was quoted as

but the document cannot be found there now.
1. Can you tell me where it is now to be found?

2. Please direct me to other letters, briefings, minutes etc that bear on the same issues as in Lord Kilmuir's letter.

3. If there is any material of this kind that has not yet been made publicly available, can you please tell me when it will be released?

4. If a Freedom of Information request is needed, to whom should it be addressed?

Yours sincerely

Correction: the document reference I gave you was assigned by the organisation at whose website I found the letter. However, the letter itself is from Lord Kilmuir to Edward Heath when the latter was Lord Privy Seal, in December 1960, and the early part of it includes these words:

"I have no doubt that if we do sign the Treaty, we shall suffer some loss of sovereignty [...] Adherence to the Treaty of Rome would, in my opinion, affect our sovereignty in three ways:-
“Parliament would be required to surrender some of its functions to the organs of the Community; The Crown would be called on to transfer part of its treaty-making power to those organs; Our courts of law would sacrifice some degree of independence by becoming subordinate in certain respects to the European Court of Justice...”

I hope this will help to locate the document.
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