ROME, March 25, 1957 (UP) - The six nations of Western Europe today signed historic treaties pooling their atomic energy and merging their 160 million people into a common market.
It was a step forward in the ancient dream of a United Europe. The ceremony in the Campidiglio City Hall on the fabled Capitoline Hill of Rome joined the peoples of West Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg into an "irreversible" economic and atomic alliance.
To carry the goal further, the six nations agreed at a preliminary meeting to start work immediately on technical details of eventual political integration.
West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and the Foreign Ministers of the other five nations signed the documents.
The strokes of their pens established, subject to the approval of their Parliaments:
1. A six-nation economic unit. Tariffs and trade quotas among the six nations would be abolished over a period of from 12 to 17 years. The eventual aim is a free trade area such as is formed by the mutual dealings of the 48 American States.
2. A "Euratom" atomic pool. This would combine the resources and skills of all the nations into one agency that would produce atomic energy for industry on a scale impossible if each nation tried to provide for itself separately.
Combined, the economic and atomic unions would blend Western Europe into an economic force comparable to the economies of the United States and the Soviet Union.
It was a gala occasion for Europe. Millions viewed the signing ceremony on a "Eurovision" TV hookup.
Bells boomed from Capitoline Hill at the exact moment the four-minute signing started.