Who Wrote the Memoirs of Jean Monnet?

An Intimate Account of an Historic Collaboration

by Clifford P. Hackett (Author)
©2016 Monographs VIII, 118 Pages


Who Wrote the Memoirs of Jean Monnet? presents the only account of the thirty years spent by Jean Monnet, the "Father of Europe," creating his memoirs. Based on numerous interviews with Monnet’s collaborator, Francois Fontaine, and many others, the book reveals the concepts, delays, frustrations, and successes of an historic collaboration. This significant contribution provides a fresh viewpoint into both European Union history and biographical writing.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Part I: Introduction and Acknowledgments
  • Acknowledgments
  • Part II: The Memoirs in Monnet’s Life
  • Part III: Origins of the Memoirs: Four Views
  • Part IV: Preparing the Way
  • Part V: Watching the Process
  • Part VI: Monnet’s Thoughts with the Memoirs Underway
  • Part VII: The Collaboration: Reflections of Francois Fontaine
  • Part VIII: Chronology
  • 1942
  • 1943
  • 1944
  • 1945
  • 1946
  • 1947
  • 1948
  • 1949
  • 1950
  • 1951
  • 1952
  • 1953
  • 1954
  • 1954–5
  • 1955
  • 1957
  • 1958
  • 1959
  • 1960
  • 1961
  • 1962
  • 1963
  • 1964
  • 1965
  • 1966
  • 1967
  • 1968
  • 1969
  • 1970
  • 1971
  • 1972
  • 1973
  • 1974
  • 1975
  • 1976
  • 1978
  • 1979
  • 1988
  • 1988
  • 1994
  • 1995
  • Part IX: Some Interesting Details
  • Henri W. Rieben TM 438
  • Jacques Van Helmont
  • Eric Westphal
  • Jean Baptiste Duroselle TM 189–94
  • Pierre Gerbet
  • Andre Kaspi
  • Nicole Pietri
  • Georges Berthoin
  • Francois Duchene
  • Pascal Fontaine TM 225–227
  • Beverly Gordey
  • Margot Lyon Mayne
  • Richard Mayne
  • Therese de Sainte Phalle
  • Francois Fontaine
  • Part X: Postscript
  • Part XI: Sources and Abbreviations
  • Sources
  • Abbreviations
  • Index

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Part I

Introduction and Acknowledgments

The story of the creation of Jean Monnet’s memoirs is long, complicated and remains incomplete. The following account is the product of many years of research and yet is ultimately lacking a full sense of Monnet’s own view of the enterprise. Even in this partial account, much insight into his thoughts and goals emerges. The struggle he endured over the last thirty years of his long life to express the meaning of his work and his life is clearer now than when the Memoires were published in 1976. The credit for this improved understanding belongs to his many friends and supporters who helped bring forth the story of his life. I hope this review adds to that understanding.

Part II, The Memoirs in Monnet’s Life, views the events from 1943 when, already 55 years old, Monnet begins to think about his legacy from two World Wars and an active career in business and public service. At every stage over the next three decades, events interfere with his casual approach. He meets with many close friends and advisers over this period about a review of his work. He listens, comments, postpones and delays. He is never quite ready to begin the task. ← 1 | 2 →

A few certainties persist: He cannot write the memoirs himself so that the first task becomes who will help? What are the lessons of his life? Then, who should gain financially from the effort? Many volunteers approach, a few are encouraged, the rest are ignored or gently put aside. Events, some profound, some minor, intervene. The memoirs are always present but never really urgent.

Four key persons are closely involved with the next part, Origins of the Memoirs: a professor, a family friend and two close associates. The next part, Preparing the Way, describes the roles of Jean Baptiste Duroselle, a prominent French historian who provides research guidance, and of the scholars he recruits to study specific periods. A summary of their efforts and recollections, based on many interviews, is followed later by Some Interesting Details where the interviews themselves appear.

Watching the Process introduces the slow steps by which Monnet finally commits to the writing discipline. Some here are his staff members and others more casual witnesses. All have useful insights.

Finally, one close aide volunteers to start writing; he is rebuffed, persists and prevails. Francois Fontaine slowly becomes a central figure in producing the memoirs.

Monnet’s Thoughts with the Memoirs Underway selects from some of Fontaine’s recollections of his mentor’s actual words spoken while they worked together.

The last narrative covers Fontaine’s reflections on the Memoires, their omissions and his work methods. Interviews with him are included in Some Interesting Details.

Finally a Chronology and Postscript offer further guidance and final thoughts.


The idea of a book about Monnet’s Memoires came many years ago when I had long talks with Francois Fontaine about his work as collaborator on the project. It became clear that Fontaine never was a “ghost writer.” Rather he was an intimate of Monnet whose life story was part ← 2 | 3 → of Fontaine’s own mission as both a writer and a believer in a united Europe. I saw that his work as an aide to Monnet for over 30 years could be told, at least in part, as an account of how the Memoires were created. The first debt to be acknowledged, therefore, is to Fontaine and his devotion to both the man and the task.

The staff of the Fondation Jean Monnet Pour l’Europe (FJM) helped me over many years with great diligence not only with research on this book but on earlier ones: Jean Monnet: the Path to European Unity (1991), Monnet and the Americans (1995) and A Jean Monnet Chronology (2008). Monnet himself placed great trust in the FJM which proved providential by supplying both access and security for his papers.

Monnet’s many friends and staff members provided invaluable insights and details of his life and work style which I have tried to use. It is not possible to cite all of these individuals but I remember and appreciate their contributions beyond the specific references in the text.

Historian Sherry Wells gave generous time and useful suggestions on structure to an intermediate version of the text. Her help greatly improved this final product.

Friends and family have supported my efforts over many years to understand and describe the creative process of Fontaine and Monnet. My daughter, Claire, and my son, Andrew, were especially generous with their time and skills in guiding the work into the computer world with all of its assets and limitations.


VIII, 118
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (September)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2016. VIII, 117 pp.

Biographical notes

Clifford P. Hackett (Author)

Clifford P. Hackett has spent his lifetime in international work including ten years in the Foreign Service and more than a dozen in foreign policy roles on Capitol Hill. He has written Cautious Revolution: The European Union Arrives and co-authored and edited Jean Monnet: The Path to European Unity and Monnet and the Americans. His most recent book is A Jean Monnet Chronology: Origins of the European Union in the Life of a Founder. He has written many articles on the congressional role in foreign policy and numerous reports for congressional committees. He studied philosophy and history at St. Louis University and modern history at Yale University.


Title: Who Wrote the Memoirs of Jean Monnet?
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127 pages