President de Gaulle has probably destroyed Britain's chances of entering the Common Market, Stanley H. Hoffmann, associate professor of Government, said yesterday. He predicted that the Brussels negotiations between Britain and the European Economic Community would fail within the next two months.
As a result, said Hoffmann, the United States' desision-making monopoly within NATO, may be challenged. "What might emerge is a three-headed monster of the United States, the European Six, and Great Britain playing the role of Hamlet in between."
Hoffmann believes that de Gaulle is blocking Britain's application to the E.E.C. because of doubts that the British are serious about joining. The French President, in Hoffmann's view, interpreted the Nassau Pact to mean that Britain prefers the United States to Europe.
If Britain is excluded, he speculated, Europe is likely to evolve in the direction envisioned by de Gaulle. Since 1946, the General has looked forward to a grouping of sovereign states, including Eastern satellites, that will play an independent role between the United States and the Soviet Union.
To prevent this, Hoffmann continued, Washington would probably try to isolate do Gaulle, while applying pressure on him through the rest of Europe. Hoffmann doubted that this approach would prove effective, however, and in subverting European unity "it would destroy the most successful part of our foreign policy since the Second World War."
"At this point," he said, "I don't see very much except turmoil and trouble. Everyone's put himself in an extraordinary box."
Despite its possible long-term effects on the Western alliance, Britain's exclusion from the E.C.C. would not be a matter of economic life or death for the Island nation. But according to Hoffmann it could spell the end of the present Conservative government.
He declared that "if all Macmillan can offer to the British electorate is the end of an independent nuclear deterrent and of Common Market negotiations, it will be the most brilliant record of total failure that a government could present."