History of the European Communities (1945-1957)


History of the European Communities (1945-1957)

The history of the European Communities between 1945 and 1957 saw the first moves towards European unity as the first bodies began to be established in the aftermath of the Second World War. In 1951 the first community, the European Coal and Steel Community was established and moves on new communities quickly began. Early attempts as military and political unity failed, eventually leading to the Treaties of Rome in 1957.

Beginnings of cooperation

The Second World War from 1939 to 1945 saw an unprecedented human and economic cost which hit Europe hardest. It demonstrated the horrors of war and also of extremism, through the holocaust for example. Once again, there was a desire to ensure it could never happen again, particularly with the war giving the world nuclear weapons and two ideologically opposed superpowers. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=243 Europe in ruins in the aftermath of the Second World War] European NAvigator] ("See: Cold War")

In 1946, war-time British Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke at the University of Zurich on "The tragedy of Europe"; in which he called for a United States of Europe (a term used by Victor Hugo), to be created on a regional level while strengthening the United Nations. He did however include the United Kingdom with its Commonwealth of Nations alongside the United States of America and the Soviet Union in supporting this US-style federation, not inside it. He described the first step to a "USE" as a "Council of Europe". [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=277 The Zurich speech] European NAvigator] In 1949 the Council of Europe was established in Strasbourg, it is primarily a UN-like body dealing with human rights issues and expanded over the years to include every European country except Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican city. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=1&doc=20800 Le Conseil de l'Europe] European NAvigator]

With the start of the Cold War, the Treaty of Brussels was signed in 1948. It expanded upon the Dunkirk Treaty which was a military pact between France and the United Kingdom who were concerned about the threat from the USSR following the communist take over in Czechoslovakia. The new treaty included the Benelux countries and was to promote cooperation not only in the military matters but in economic, social and cultural spheres. These roles however were rapidly taken over by other organisations. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=293 Western Union] , European NAvigator] In 1954 it would be amended by the Paris Agreements which created the Western European Union which would take on European defence and be merged into the EU in later decades. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=343 Western European Union] , European NAvigator] However the signatories of the Brussels treaty quickly realised their common defence was not enough against the USSR. However wider solitary, such as that seen over the Berlin Blockade in 1949, was seen to provide sufficient deterrent. Hence in 1949 the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was created. It expanded the Brussels treaty members to include Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal as well as Canada and most notably the United States. Military integration in NATO sped up following the first Soviet atomic bomb test and the start of the Korean War which prompted a desire for the inclusion of West Germany. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=296 NATO] European NAvigator]

In the same year as the Brussels treaty, Sweden presented plans for a Scandinavian defence union (of Sweden, Denmark and Norway) which would be neutral in regards to the proposed NATO. However due to pressure from the United States, Norway and Denmark joined NATO and the plans collapsed. Although a "‘Scandinavian joint committee for economic cooperation" was established which led to a customs union under the Nordic Council which held its first meeting in 1953. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=6836 The plan for a Nordic customs union and common market] , European NAvigator] Similar economic activity was taking place between the Benelux countries. The Benelux Customs Union became operative between Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. During the war, the three governments in exile signed a customs convention between their countries. This followed a monetary agreement which fixed their currencies against each other. This integration would lead to an economic union and the countries cooperating in foreign affairs as the union was out of a desire to strengthen their position as small states. However the Benelux became a precursor and provided ground for later European integration. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=6915 Benelux] , European NAvigator]

Coal and Steel

On 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman (on the basis of proposals from Jean Monnet, both Founding fathers of the European Union) made his "Schuman declaration" at the Quai d'Orsay. He proposed that: "Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organisation open to the participation of the other countries of Europe." Such an act was intended to help economic growth and cement peace between France and Germany, who had previously been long time enemies. Coal and steel were particular symbolic as they were the resources necessary to wage war. It would also be a first step to a "European federation". [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=308 The Declaration of 9 may 1950] ena.lu] cite web|title=The European Communities|publisher=European NAvigator|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=16399|accessdate=2007-12-16]

The declaration led to the Treaty of Paris (1951) forming the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), it was formed by "the inner six": France, Italy, the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) together with West Germany. The United Kingdom refused to participate due to a rejection of supranational authority. [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=326 Multilateral negotiations] European NAvigator] [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=325 The beginning of the negotiations] European NAvigator] The common market was opened on 10 February 1953 for coal, and on 1 May 1953 for steel.cite web|title=The Treaties establishing the European Communities|publisher=European NAvigator|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=16393|accessdate=2007-12-16]

During the existence of the ECSC, steel production would improve and increase fourfold. Coal production however would decline but its technology, safety and environmental quality would improve. ECSC helped deal with crises in the industry and ensured balanced development and distribution of resources. However the treaty, unlike its successors, was designed to expire after 50 years. Therefore, the Community ceased to exist on 2002-07-23 with all its activities and finances being transferred to the European Community. [ [http://europa.eu/scadplus/treaties/ecsc_en.htm Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, the ECSC Treaty] , Europa (web portal)]

First institutions

With the treaty of Paris, the first institutions were created. At its centre was the "High Authority" (what is now the European Commission), the first ever supranational body which served as the Community's executive, the first president of which was Jean Monnet. The President was elected by the eight other members he presided over. The nine members were appointed by the member states (two for the larger three states, one for the smaller three) but they did not represent their member states, rather the common interest.

The member states' governments were represented by the Council of Ministers, the Presidency of which rotated between each state every three months in alphabetical order. It was added at the request of smaller states, fearing undue influence from the High Authority.cite web|publisher = European NAvigator|title = Council of the European Union|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=5604|accessdate = 2007-06-24] Its task was to harmonise the work of national governments with the acts of the High Authority, as well as issue opinions on the work of the Authority when needed. Hence, unlike the modern Council, this body had limited powers as issues relating only to coal and steel were in the Authority's domain, whereas the Council only had to give its consent to decisions outside coal and steel. As a whole, it only scrutinised the executive.

The Common Assembly, what is now the European Parliament, was composed of 78 representatives. The Assembly exercised supervisory powers over the executive. The representatives were to be national MPs elected by their Parliaments to the Assembly, or directly elected. Though in practice it was the former as there was no requirement until the Treaties of Rome and no election until 1979. However to emphasises that the chamber was not to be that of a traditional international organisation, whereby it would be composed of representatives of national governments, the Treaty of Paris used the term "representatives of the peoples". The Assembly was not originally part of the Schuman Plan but put forward by Jean Monnet on the second day of treaty negotiations. The assembly was intended as a democratic counter-weight and check to the High Authority but had no formal powers.

The Court of Justice was to ensure the observation of ECSC law along with the interpretation and application of the Treaty. The Court was composed of seven judges, appointed by common accord of the national governments for six years. There were no requirements that the judges had to be of a certain nationality, simply that they be qualified and that their independence be beyond doubt. The Court was assisted by two Advocates General.

Finally, there was a Consultative Committee (what is now the Economic and Social Committee) which had between 30 and 50 members, equally divided between producers, workers, consumers and dealers in the coal and steel sector. Members were appointed for two years and were not bound by any mandate or instruction of the organisations which appointed them. The Committee had a plenary assembly, bureau and a president. The High Authority was obliged to consult the committee in certain cases where it was appropriate and to keep it informed.

Provisional seats

The treaty however made no decision on where to base the institutions of the new community. The treaties allowed for the seat(s) to be decided by common accord of governments yet at a conference of the ECSC members on 23 July 1952 no permanent seat was decided.cite web|first=|title=The seats of the institutions of the European Union|date=|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=20822|publisher=European NAvigator|accessdate=2007-07-18] The seat was contested with Liège, Luxembourg, Strasbourg and Turin all considered. While Saarbrücken had a status as a "European city", the ongoing dispute over Saarland made it a problematic choice. Brussels would have been accepted at the time, but divisions within the then-unstable Belgian government ruled that option out.cite book | title =Europe in Brussels | publisher = Office for Official Publications of the European Communities | year =2007 | location =Luxembourg]

To break the deadlock, Joseph Bech, then Prime Minister of Luxembourg, proposed that Luxembourg be made the "provisional" seat of the institutions until a permanent agreement was reached.cite web|first=|title=Seat of the European Commission|date=|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3102|publisher=European NAvigator|accessdate=2007-09-27] However, it was decided that the Common Assembly, which became the Parliament, should instead be based in Strasbourg—the Council of Europe (CoE) was already based there, in the House of Europe. The chamber of the CoE's Parliamentary Assembly could also serve the Common Assembly, and they did so until 1999, when a new complex of buildings was built across the river from the Palace.cite web|first=|title=Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament|year=1999|url=http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=4459|publisher=Tribune pour l'Europe on European NAvigator|accessdate=2007-07-18]

Germany

The early French plans were concerned with keeping Germany weak and strengthening the French economy at the expense of that of Germany. (see the Monnet plan) French foreign policy aimed at dismantling German heavy industry, place the coal rich Ruhr area and Rhineland under French control or at a minimum internationalize them, and also to join the coal rich Saarland with the iron rich province of Lorraine (which had been handed over from Germany to France again in 1944).http://www.collectionscanada.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk2/ftp03/MQ54257.pdf] When American diplomats reminded the French of what a devastating effect this would have on the German economy, France's response was to suggest the Germans would just have to "make [the] necessary adjustments" to deal with the inevitable foreign exchange deficit"."

At the 1945 Potsdam Conference the U.S. was operating under the Morgenthau plan, as a consequence large parts of German industry were to be dismantled.

According to some historians the U.S. government abandoned the Morgenthau plan as policy in September 1946 with Secretary of State James F. Byrnes' speech Restatement of Policy on Germany. [John Gimbel [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0032-3195%28197206%2987%3A2%3C242%3AOTIOTP%3E2.0.CO%3B2-9 "On the Implementation of the Potsdam Agreement: An Essay on U.S. Postwar German Policy"] Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 87, No. 2. (Jun., 1972), pp. 242-269.] Others have argued that credit should be given to former U.S.President Herbert Hoover who in one of his reports from Germany, dated March 18, 1947, argued for a change in occupation policy, amongst other things stating::"There is the illusion that the New Germany left after the annexations can be reduced to a 'pastoral state'. It cannot be done unless we exterminate or move 25,000,000 people out of it." [Erik Reinert, Jomo K.S. [http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2008/webarticles/080103_marshallplan.html The Marshall Plan at 60: The General's Successful War On Poverty] , UN Chronicle (accessed 2008-05-20)] Worries about the sluggish recovery of the European economy, which before the war had depended on the German industrial base, and growing Soviet influence amongst a German population subject to food shortages and economic misery, caused the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Generals Clay and Marshall to start lobbying the Truman administration for a change of policy. [ [http://www.usip.org/pubs/peaceworks/pwks49.pdf Ray Salvatore Jennings "The Road Ahead: Lessons in Nation Building from Japan, Germany, and Afghanistan for Postwar Iraq] May 2003, Peaceworks No. 49 pp 14,15] General Clay stated :"There is no choice between being a communist on 1,500 calories a day and a believer in democracy on a thousand".In July 1947, President Harry S. Truman rescinded on "national security grounds" [ [http://www.usip.org/pubs/peaceworks/pwks49.pdf Ray Salvatore Jennings “The Road Ahead: Lessons in Nation Building from Japan, Germany, and Afghanistan for Postwar Iraq] May 2003, Peaceworks No. 49 pg.15] the punitive occupation directive JCS 1067, which had directed the U.S. forces of occupation in Germany to "take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany [or] designed to maintain or strengthen the German economy", it was replaced by JCS 1779, which instead noted that " [a] n orderly, prosperous Europe requires the economic contributions of a stable and productive Germany." [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,887417,00.html Pas de Pagaille!] Time Magazine July 28, 1947.] It took over two months for General Clay to overcome continued resistance to the new U.S. occupation directive JCS 1779, but on July 10, 1947, it was finally approved at a meeting of the SWNCC. The final version of the document "was purged of the most important elements of the Morgenthau plan." [Vladimir Petrov, "Money and conquest; allied occupation currencies in World War II." Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press (1967) p. 236 (Petrov footnotes Hammond, "American Civil-Military Decisions, p. 443)]

The dismantling of the German heavy industry was in its later stages supported mainly by France, the Petersberg Agreement of November 1949 reduced the levels vastly, though dismantling of minor German factories continued until 1951. [Dennis L. Bark and David R. Gress. "A history of West Germany vol 1: from shadow to substance" (Oxford 1989) p260] The final limitations on German industrial levels were lifted after the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, though arms manufacture remained prohibited. [Dennis L. Bark and David R. Gress. "A history of West Germany vol 1: from shadow to substance" (Oxford 1989) pp270-71] With U.S. support, (as given in the September 1946 Stuttgart Speech), France in 1947 turned the coal rich Saarland into the Saar protectorate and integrated it into the French economy. The Franco-German conflict over the Saarland was later to prove one of the major hurdles to the integration of the European communities.

The Ruhr Agreement was imposed on the Germans as a condition for permitting them to establish the Federal Republic of Germany. [Amos Yoder, "The Ruhr Authority and the German Problem", The Review of Politics, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Jul., 1955), pp. 345-358] By controlling the production and distribution of coal and steel (i.e. how much coal and steel the Germans themselves would get), the International Authority for the Ruhr in effect controlled the entire West German economy, much to the dismay of the Germans. They were however permitted to send their delegations to the authority after the Petersberg agreement. With the West German agreement to join the European Coal and Steel Community in order to lift the restrictions imposed by the IAR, [ [http://www.geschichte.nrw.de/artikel.php?artikel%5Bid%5D=50&lkz=en No more guns from the Ruhr!] ] thus also ensuring French security by perpetuating French access to Ruhr coal, [ [http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.cgi?path=18409996001629 France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944-1954] H-Net Reviews June 2001] the role of the IAR was taken over by the ECSC. [All above;
[http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/History/History-idx?type=article&did=HISTORY.0057.0400.0023&isize=M]
[http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=6584 French proposal regarding the detachment of German industrial regions] September 8, 1945
[http://www.ena.lu/europe/formation-community/interets-union-economique-franco-sarroise-1952.htm interets-union-economique-franco-sarroise-1952] Documents relating to the Saar-France Issue.
[http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/psf/box31/t297a01.html U.S. post surrender plan, September 1944]
[http://www.american.edu/ted/ice/saar.htm France, Germany and the Struggle for the War-making Natural Resources of the Rhineland]
[http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/FRUS.FRUS1947v02 Foreign relations of the United States, 1947. Council of Foreign Ministers; Germany and Austria] Pg. 1073 onwards deals with "Attitude of the United States Regarding the Detachment of the Saar from Germany and its Integration into the French Economy"
[http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=3908480 THE SAAR CONFLICT 1945-1955] at Questia
[http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=465 Letter from Konrad Adenauer to Robert Schuman] (26 July 1949) Warning him of the consequences of the dismantling policy. (requires Flash Player)
[http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=16822 Letter from Ernest Bevin to Robert Schuman] (30 October 1949) British and French foreign ministers. Bevin argues that they need to reconsider the Allies' dismantling policy in the occupied zones (requires Flash Player)
[http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=9923 Picture: dismantling the Iron and Steel Industry] ‘We want to work, we will help you to rebuild Europe' Workers at dismantled plant protest. (requires Flash Player)
[http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=6785 Picture: 12,000 factory workers demonstrate against the dismantling of German industry] (19 August 1949) (requires Flash Player)
]

The Europeanisation of the Saarland

France had broken off the coal rich Saar from Germany and made it into a protectorate, economically integrated with France and nominally politically independent although security and foreign policy was dictated from France. In addition, France maintained a High Commissioner in the Saar with wide ranging powers. Parties advocating a return of the Saar to Germany were banned, with the consequence that West Germany did not recognise the democratic legality of the Saar government. In view of continued conflict between Germany and France over the future of the Saarland efforts were made by the other Western European nations to find a solution to the potentially dangerous problem. Placed under increasing international pressure France finally agreed to a compromise. The Saar territory was to be Europeanised under the context of the Western European Union. France and Germany agreed in the Paris Agreements that until a peace treaty was signed with Germany, the Saar area would be governed under a "statute" that was to be supervised by a European Commissioner who in turn would be responsible to the Council of Ministers of the Western European Union. The Saarland would however have to remain in economic union with France. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,807760-1,00.html Yes or No] , Time Magazine Monday, Oct. 17, 1955] [http://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/global_law/german-cases/cases_bverg.shtml?04may1955 Bverfg No. 7 E 4, 157 1 BvF 1/55 "Saar Statute"] Institute of Global Law, University College London ( [http://209.85.129.104/search?q=cache:jZozAMzlff4J:www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/global_law/german-cases/cases_bverg.shtml%3F04may1955+http://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/global_law/german-cases/cases_bverg.shtml%3F04may1955&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1 Google Caché] )]

Despite the endorsement of the statute by West Germany, in the 1955 referendum amongst the Saarlanders that was needed for it to come into effect the statute was rejected by 67.7% of the population. Despite French pre-referendum assertions that a no to the statute would simple result in the Saarland remaining in its previous status as a French controlled territory, the claim of the campaign group for a "no" to the statute that it would lead to unification with West Germany turned out to be correct. The Saarland was politically reintegrated with West Germany in 1 January 1957, but economic reintegration took many additional years. In return for agreeing to return the Saar France demanded and gained the following concessions: France was permitted to extract coal from the Warndt coal deposit until 1981. Germany had to agree to the channelisation of the Moselle. This reduced French freight costs in the Lorraine steel industry. Germany had to agree to the teaching of French as the first foreign language in schools in the Saarland. Although no longer binding, the agreement is still in the main followed. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=301 The issue of the Saar] European NAvigator]

Development of new Communities

Following on the heels of the creation of the ECSC, the European Defence Community (EDC) was drawn up and signed on 27 May 1952. It would combine national armies and allow West Germany to rearm under the control of the new Community. However in 1954, the treaty was rejected by the French National Assembly. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=338 The European Defence Community] European NAvigator] The rejection also derailed further plans for a European Political Community, being drawn up by members of the Common Assembly which would have created a federation to ensure democratic control over the future European army. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=382 The European Political Community] ena.lu] In response to the rejection of the EDC, Jean Monnet resigned as President of the High Authority and began work on new integration efforts in the field of the economy. In 1955, the Council of Europe adopted an emblem for all Europe, twelve golden starts in a circle upon a blue field. It would later be adopted by the European Communities [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=21621 European flag - questions and answers] European NAvigator]

In 1956, the Egyption government under Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez canal and closing it to Israeli traffic, sparking the Suez Crisis. This was in response to the withdrawal of funding for the Aswan Dam by the UK and United States due to Egypt's ties to the Soviet Union. The canal was owned by the UK and French investors and had been a neutral zone under British control. The nationalisation and closure to Israeli traffic prompted a military response by the UK, France and Israel, a move opposed by the United States. It was a military successes but a political disaster for the UK and France. The UK in particular saw it could not operate alone, instead turning to the US and it also prompted the next British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, to look towards joining the European Community. Equally France saw its future with the Community but opposed British entry, with then French President Charles de Gaulle stating he would veto British entry out of a fear it would lead to US domination. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6102536.stm France's own lesson from Suez] BBC News]

During the war, Israel gained the Sinai Peninsula and a UN force guarded the border. However shortly after the UN force was expelled and a Six-Day War broke out between Israeli and its Arab neighbours. This in turn sparked the 1967 Oil Embargo which cut off or limited oils supplies to various Israel and the west. Europe was hit especially bad, due mainly to a lack of solidarity and uniformity in embargoing specific countries. As a result of the crisis, the Common Assembly proposed extending the powers of the ECSC to cover other sources of energy. However Jean Monnet desired a separate community to cover atomic energy and Louis Armand was put in charge of a study into the prospects of nuclear energy use in Europe. The report concluded further nuclear development was needed to fill the deficit left by the exhaustion of coal deposits and to reduce dependence on oil producers. However the Benelux states and Germany were also keen on creating a general common market, although it was opposed by France due to its protectionism and Jean Monnet thought it too large and difficult a task. In the end, both Monnet proposed the creating of both, as separate communities, to reconcile both groups. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=5599 1957-1968 Successes and crises] European NAvigator]

As a result of the Messina Conference of 1955, Paul-Henri Spaak was appointed as chairman of a preparatory committee (Spaak Committee) charged with the preparation of a report on the creation of a common European market.

The Spaak Report [ [http://aei.pitt.edu/995/ Spaak report] ] drawn up by the "Spaak Committee" provided the basis for further progress and was accepted at the Venice Conference (29 and 30 May 1956) where the decision was taken to organize an Intergovernmental Conference. The report formed the cornerstone of the Intergovernmental Conference on the Common Market and Euratom at Val Duchesse in 1956. The outcome of the conference was that new communities would share the Common Assembly (now Parliamentary Assembly) with the ECSC, as it would with the Court of Justice. However they would not share the ECSC's Council of High Authority. The two new High Authorities would be called Commissions, this was due to a reduction in their powers. France was reluctant to agree to more supranational powers and hence the new Commissions would only have basic powers and important decisions would have to be approved by the Council, which now adopted majority voting. Thus, on 25 March 1957, the Treaties of Rome were signed. They came into force on 1958-01-01 establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The latter body fostered co-operation in the nuclear field, at the time a very popular area, and the EEC was to create a full customs union between members. Louis Armand became the first President of Euratom Commission and Walter Hallstein became the first President of the EEC Commission. [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3054 A European Atomic Energy Community] European NAvigator] [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=3056 A European Customs Union] ena.lu] [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=398 The signing of the Rome Treaties] ENA] [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=397 Drafting of the Rome Treaties] European NAvigator] [ [http://www.ena.lu?lang=2&doc=4166 Presidents of the European Commission] European NAvigator]

ee also

Wikisourcehas|original treaties and speeches related to this article
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* Organisation for European Economic Cooperation
* Hungarian Revolution of 1956

References

:"Source of majority of the dates: [http://europa.eu/abc/history/1945-1959/index_en.htm A peaceful Europe - the beginnings of cooperation] "


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