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Collective responses to R&D problems in Western Europe: 1955–1958 and 1968–1973

  • Henry R. Nau


Collective responses to technology-related international problems may differ in terms of organizational outcomes (new, modified, or no organizations). Some of this difference may be accounted for by contrasting objectives and capabilities of major actors. Actors may emphasize different dimensions of the policy setting, possess varying amounts of resources and information to affect that setting, and accordingly prefer alternative responses. Possibilities of this sort are examined empirically in two separate, chronological periods of Western European responses to collective R&D problems. In the first period, major actors stressed different dimensions of the policy setting, possessed unequal resources, and responded to the situation by the creation of new organizations (Euratom and ENEA); in the second, they stressed the same dimensions of the policy setting, possessed roughly equal capabilities, and decidedly resisted the creation of new organizations. The different outcomes suggest that stratification of perceptions and capabilities, emphasizing complementarity, may be more conducive to organizational creativity than similarity of perceptions and capabilities, emphasizing competition.



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1 For example, Chapter 10 of the Euratom Treaty called for the eventual transfer of authority over external relations to the Community. Bilateral agreements concluded between individual Euratom countries and the United States before the Treaty went into effect in January 1958 may be interpreted to have conflicted with the intent of this provision to integrate all collective nuclear activities under Euratom auspices. As evidence of this intent, most of the bilateral agreements were eventually “folded in” under Euratom's jurisdiction.

2 While the end date of this period was chosen for analytical convenience, the beginning date is not entirely arbitrary. It postdates the merger of the various Commissions of the European Community in July 1967.

3 The US role in this period is still important, but it is not as direct or influential as in the earlier period. Other non-Community actors are more directly involved in this period (e.g., Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, and others in the discussions concerning COST and a European Science Foundation-see further discussion in this essay), but their role is minor.

4 See remarks of Christopher Layton, the Commission's director for advanced technology industries, in Kenward, Michael and Sherwood, Dr. Martin, “Research and Development; the European Options”, New Scientist, 58 (04 12, 1973) p. 105.

5 Kissinger, Henry, “Domestic Structure and Foreign Policy” in International Politics and Foreign Policy, Rosenau, James N. (ed.), (New York: Free Press, 1969), p. 269.

6 See Kelman, Herbert C. (ed.), International Behavior: A Social-Psychological Analysis (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965), p. 340.

7 The choice of terms here is arbitrary, but their meanings should be clear from our discussion. The term symbolic, for example, does not connote, in our usage, an unreal dimension of the policy setting which is emphasized to distract attention from more concrete dimensions. Values and broad policy preferences, we assume, are very real and potent, even if intangible, elements of any policy setting.

The thres dimensions of the policy setting designated here find application in the literature of other disciplines as well as in the literature of international organization itself.

For example, Aaron Wildavsky, in a study of budgetary decision making in government, discusses three different approaches to problem analysis-cost-benefit analysis, systems analysis, and program budgeting. Each of these approaches emphasizes a different dimension of the policy setting. Cost-benefit analysis emphasizes efficiency within a specified set of government institutions and objectives (our specific dimension). Systems analysis “imaginatively relates elements [of the policy setting] into new systems that create their own means and ends”. While challenging individual objectives of existing organizations, systems analysis “poses no direct challenge no the general decision-making machinery of the political system” (our structural dimension which concerns organizational rearrangement without challenging directly broad policy goals). Finally, program budgeting focuses directly “on output categories like governmental goals, objectives, end products or programs, etc.…” (our symbolic dimension). See The Political Economy of Efficiency”, The Public Interest, no. 8 (Summer 1967) pp. 3048. Similarly, in the literature on international organization, functionalists define collective problems primarily in terms of specific, technical dimensions of the policy setting and urge institutional solutions which minimize direct political involvement with, and hence challenge to, existing organizations. Recognizing the absence in this scheme of a dynamic link between problem-solving and transformation of international organizations, neo-functionalists define problems more in relational or organizational terms (our structural dimension). Seeking an ultimate impact on political attitudes and loyalties, they stress the need to “define aims specifically enough to act as a guide to policy but generally enough to achieve rapport with an articulated body of values”. See Haas, Ernst B., Beyond the Nation State (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1964), p. 101. Finally, realist approaches to international organization define problems primarily in terms of ultimate interests and values (our symbolic dimension).

8 The disadvantages of these measures of capability as absolute quantities should be recognized. Aside from different standards in various countries for tabulating RD expenditures and classifying technical personnel and organizations, these measures take no account of qualitative differences in capabilities. In using them, one assumes that institutions, manpower and money effectively translate into RD outputs of equivalent quality and relevance.

9 It is not our purpose here to consider in detail the events of this earlier period, but to offer a unique interpretation of these events. For more complete coverage, see, inter alia, Polach, Jaroslav, Euratom: Its Background, Issues and Economic Implications (Dobbs Ferry: Oceana, 1964); Kramish, Arnold, The Peaceful Atom in Foreign Policy (New York: Harper and Row, 1963); Scheinman, Lawrence, “Euratom: Nuclear Integration in Europe”, International Conciliation, no. 563 (05 1967); and the book by the author of this essay, Nau, Henry R., National Politics and International Technology: Nuclear Reactor Development in Western Europe (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1974).

10 See Willrich, Mason, Global Politics of Nuclear Energy (New York: Praeger, 1971), pp. 46–7.

11 See Nieburg, Harold L., Nuclear Secrecy and Foreign Policy (Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1964), pp. 130–49. Quote is from p. 143.

12 For details on the negotiation and implementation of the joint agreement, see Nau ch. 5. The United States, of course, supported supranational integration in Europe. By granting inspection rights over nuclear materials to Euratom, the United States contributed to the strength of this organization. Still the conditions imposed with U.S. support (dealing particularly with non-proliferation) made it evident that the United States did not wish to see Euratom acquire organizational proportions sufficient to challenge US nuclear and political hegemony in the West. See Polach, pp. 60–3.

13 For example, the report of the “three wise men” stated explicitly that “strong cooperative ties with other countries…must be the foundation of Europe's atomic progress”, even though at the time it was widely understood, as Polach observes (p. 61), that Euratom was conceived as a means by which “the six would establish their political, economic, and atomic equality with other (non-European) atomic powers”. See A Target for Euratom, a report prepared at the request of the governments of Belgium, France, German Federal Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands (May 1957), p. 28.

14 Quoted in Scheinman, Lawrence, Atomic Energy Policy in France under the Fourth Republic (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965), p. 133.

15 The Monnet proposals for atomic integration stressed tight centralized control of nuclear materials, research activities and budget appropriations. That these proposals were formulated with an eye toward supranational aims rather than concrete nuclear projects may be inferred from the subsequent gap between Euratom's organizational authority and the technical and political realities of European nuclear research at the time. See Nau, ch. 4.

16 See memoirs of then Prime Minister MacMillan, Harold, Riding the Storm 1956–1959 (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), ch. 3.

17 As Haas, Ernst B. notes in The Uniting of Europe (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1958), p. 161, “all British parties by 1957 showed not only interest, but a definite eagerness to be associated with the Continent”.

18 The pro-Euratom forces included, besides the Socialist Party, the Popular Republicans (MRP). The Communists and Poujadists were hostile to any project of European integration, while the swing groups on the Euratom vote included the Radical-Socialist Independents, and Social-Republicans. The latter groups backed Euratom once it became clear that France would retain the rights and capacity to undertake military atomic development. See Scheinman, ch. 5.

19 This is not to say that industrial actors in the United States and Great Britain did not also exercise independent views. In the United States, however, industry supported government proposals for cooperation with Europe as a substitute for non-existent domestic nuclear programs and concluded numerous license arrangements during this period with European partners. See Nau, ch. 5. British industries likewise supported official government policy and displayed considerable hesitancy to enter into cooperative agreements on the continent, a policy which undoubtedly cost them a share of the European reactor market. See Sunday Times, (London), 05 18, 1958, and The Economist, July 19, 1958. French industry has traditionally exerted less independence vis-à-vis government initiatives than either American or British industry.

20 The British Calder Hall reactor (as graphite) went on stream in October 1956 while the first US reactor at Shippingport, Pennsylvania, did not start producing power until 1958. Even cost-minded Germans recognized the lead of the British gas graphite design. See, for example, the comments of the German Science Minister, Balke, Siegfried, Frankfurter Allgemeine, 04 10, 1957.

21 See Walsh, Warren B., Science and International Public Affairs: Six Recent Experiments in International Scientific Cooperation (Syracuse: Maxwell School of Syracuse University, Inter-national Relations Program, 1967), p. 85. The assistance of these experts is acknowledged in the letter of submittal accompanying the “three wise men” report. See A Target for Euratom, p. 9. See also Kramish, p. 3.

22 See “Das Atom und die europaeische Energieluecke” in Euratom: Wirtschaftliche, politische und etische Probleme der Atomenergie (Bonn: Europa-Union, 1957), p. 55.

23 Polach, pp. 36–7.

24 Ibid., p. 58.

25 Cf. US Congress, House, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Commercial Nuclear Power in Europe: The Interaction of American Diplomacy with a New Technology, prepared by Donnelly, Warren H. for the Sub-Committee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments, 92nd Congress, 2nd sess., 12 1972, chap. VII.

26 See Spaak, Paul-Henri, The Continuing Battle-Memoirs of a European 1936–1966, trans, by Fox, Henry (Boston: Little, Brown, 1972), pp. 228–30.

27 The official was Jules Guéron, later Euratom's research director. See his article, Une geographic cordial de l'Europe atomique”, Les Problèmes de L'Europe, no. 42 (4th Quarter, 1968), pp. 2930.

28 These included the Grenoble center in France, the Juelich and Karlsruhe centers in Germany, the Ispra center in Italy, the Petten center in Holland, and a major expansion of the CEN center in Belgium.

29 Interview with the author, Paris, 12 1969.

30 See Euratom, , Direction Générate Recherche et Enseignement, Enquete Article 5: Première tentative de bilan des recherches nucléaires en cours dans la Communauté à la date du ler janvier 1958, EUR/C/229/59/1, Brussels, 04 8, 1959, p. A8.

31 See Secretary-General's Ad Hoc Group on New Concepts of Science Policy, Science, Growth and Society: A New Perspective (Paris: OECD, 1971). The report gets its name from the chairman of the ad hoc group, Harvey Brooks.

32 Silver, C.L., “Problèmes poses aux pays tiers candidats par la politique technologique de la Communauté.Revue du Marché Commun, numero 153 (Avril 1972), p. 321.

33 For a more detailed discussion of the deliberations of the PREST group and the projects included in the PREST and COST programs, see Touscoz, Jean, La Coopération Scientifique Internationale (Paris: Editions Techniques et Economiques, 1973), pp. 275–87.

34 See France in the Age of the Scientific State (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1968), especially ch. 3. Quote is from p. 416.

35 Agence Europe, December 12, 1972.

36 Agence Europe, April 16, 1973.

37 Euranom has authority in nuclear but not nonnuclear areas. The ECSC has some jurisdiction in peripheral areas of coal and steel research (for example, on the health of miners). And the EEC can coordinate R–306.

38 See Foreign Policy and Interdependence in Gaullist France (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1973), ch. 4.

39 Haefele, W. and Seetzen, J., “Innovationen duich ziviltechnologische Grossprojekte in der siebziger Jahren”, (unpublished manuscript obtained from authors, 04 1969). For more on the rationale of German Stoltenberg, R“, Staat und Wissenschaft (Stuttgart: Seewald, 1969).

40 For example, the German Science Ministry established an early rule of thumb in the nuclear field that “whatever one did internationally, one must do at home on at least twice that scale”. The ratio later became more like 1:4 in favor of national programs. See remarks of Ministry official, Pretsch, J., “Europaeische Zusammenarbeit in der Kernforschung”, Atomwirtschaft, 11 (08/09 1966), p. 421.

41 See Foch, René, Europe and Technology, The Atlantic Papers no. 2 (Paris: The Atlantic Institute, 10 1970), p. 11.

42 On British programs and policies during the 1960s, see Williams, Roger, European Technology: The Politics of Collaboration (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1973) ch. 1.

43 See book, Wilson's, The Labour Government 1964–1970 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson Michasl Joseph, 1971), p. 300.

44 Pavitt, Keith, “Technology in Europe's future”, Research Policy, 1 (1971/1972), p. 211.

45 Agence Europe, December 12, 1972.

46 See Kenward and Sherwood, p. 106.

47 Sliver, p. 322.

48 Ibid, p. 320.

49 Pavitt, p. 224.

50 For this communiqué, see Research and Industry (predecessor of Industry, Research and Technology) Brussels, no. 36, 12 8, 1969.

51 For example, a reorganization of the management of the JRC in summer 1973 separated the JRC from the Brussel staff and made the JRC director responsible directly to the Commission. This move increased the autonomy of the JRC but thereby also reduced the leadership role of the Brussels staff in JRC activities. To a degree, the separation also set JRC matters apart from further discussions of expanded Community R’: have escaped the attention of those interested in a project rather than common laboratory approach to future cooperation.

52 See Bulletin of the European Communities, supplement (June 1972).

53 Ibid., pp. 26 and 21.

54 Of a total budget of $157 million, however, nonnuclear projects only amounted to $19.5 million. See press release of the Council of the European Communities, General Secretariat, 262e/73 (Presse 18), Brussels, February 6, 1973.

55 See Agence Europe, January 16, 1974.

56 For an interpretation of the administrative and legal significance of this decision, see Mennicken, Jan-Baldem, “Das Aktionsprogramm der Europaeischen Gemeinschaften fuer die Wissenschafts-und Technologiepolitik, Europa-Archiv, no. 10 (05 25, 1974), pp. 335–43.

57 See “Europeans Set Up a (Shaky) Science Foundation”, Science and Government Report, (October 15, 1973), pp. 7–8.

58 See Macioti, Manfredo, Director of Science Policy of the European Commission, “Science and Technology and European Integration”, paper presented to the 1974 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Palmer House, Chicago, Illinois, 08 29-September 2, 1974.

59 I am indebted for advice on this point from Manfredo Macioti.

60 While table 6 covers only Common Market countries prior to admission of Great Britain, similar figures for Britain and the United States appear in the source used for table 3. The latter source is also useful for ascertaining trends in Community countries prior to 1967 (the base year for table 6).

61 In November 1969, Siemens, in coordination with German government officials, made an unprecedented offer to the French government to allow French industries to participate in KWU. Paris rejected the offer because it feared that KWU was too powerful and would dwarf French partners.

62 See Williams, pp. 59–70.

63 See Schuetze, Walter, European Defence Co-operation and NATO, The Atlantic Papers no. 3 (Paris: The Atlantic Institute, 11 1969).

64 For a discussion of European space programs, see A Preliminary Examination of Intergovernmental Co-operation in Science and Technology Affecting Western Europe (Project Perseus), report to the Council of Europe by the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, 11 1971, Appendix B.

65 See Commission of the European Communities, Demand for and application of extra large electronic data processing in the European Community and the United Kingdom in the seventies, Industry Series No. 6, Brussels, 1971.

66 New Scientist, 45 (02 17, 1970), p. 488.

67 Pavitt, p. 239.

68 Albert 0. Hirschman has noted a similar preference for institutional responses in less developed countries when the desire to affect change is high (that is, objectives focus on either structural or symbolic dimensions of the policy setting) and capabilities are low. “In the absence of advances in understanding [a function of low capabilities]”, he notes, “the sharpened desire to do something about a problem finds a welcome outlet through the establishment of an agency to which the problem-solving task is delegated”. See Journeys Toward Progress: Studies of Economic Policy-Making in Latin America (New York: The Twentieth Century Fund, 1963), ch. 4 . Quote is from p. 238.

69 Atomic Energy Policy, pp. 149–53.

70 Ibid., p. 158.

71 This fact was noted by the Commission in 1971 when Spinelli, Mr., the European commissioner then in charge of general research, stressed that “a political decision must be made to lay the institutional foundation of a joint scientific and technological policy”. Industry, Research and Technology (bulletin published by the Press and Information Services of the European Communities, Brussels,) no. 123 (12 14, 1971).

72 Franco-German bilateral collaboration resulted in a decision to build a joint high flux reactor at Grenoble, a project the Commission had originally proposed to be undertaken within Euratom.

73 See Commercial Nuclear Power in Europe, p. 22.

74 Collective goods theorists note, for example, that “as a strategy deliberate inclusion of a large state among several small ones may be an effective means to ensure provision of the collective good…” See Russett, Bruce M. and Sullivan, John D., “Collective Goods and International Organization”, International Organization, 25 (Autumn 1971), p. 854.

75 Ruggie, John Gerard, “Collective Goods and Future International Collaboration”, American Political Science Review, 46 (09 1972), pp. 874–93.

76 This was a repeated pattern of actor behavior in nuclear reactor cooperation in Western Europe. See Nau, ch. 9. Amitai Etzioni finds similar patterns of behavior in his studies of political union. Elite actors, he notes, do not seek “to acquire more utilitarian assets from the union… than they invest in it”. On the contrary, “leading a union… seems to require, on balance, investment of some utilitarian assets by the elite in exchange for some symbolic (identitive) gratification, such as that gained from the status of leadership”. Thus, instead of technical gain, the elite actor may actually accept a technical loss to obtain the political gains from cooperation. See Political Unification (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965), p. 315.

77 See, for example, the reflections of a British scientist about the long struggle of the British scientific community to convince the government that it needed its own high flux reactor. The author implies that a share in an international reactor is only a second best solution. Mitchell, William, “The HFBR: A protracted tale”, New Scientist, 63 (07 25, 1974), pp. 192–93.

Assistant Professor of Political Science and Deputy Director of the Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Public Policy at the George Washington University. In the preparation of this essay, I received research support from the University Committee on Research of the George Washington University. I also received helpful advice and criticism from the editors of this volume, my colleague at George Washington, Bayard Catron, and from Lawrence Scheinman, Manfredo Micioti, James P. Sewell, and Edward F. Wonder, who participated on a panel at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois, August 1974, where I presented an earlier draft of this paper.


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