Henri Rieben
© Philippe Pache

Circumstances allowed Jean Monnet, Father of the united Europe, to retain the archives of an experience which led him to establish the foundation of this construction. He ceded his archives in 1978 to the Foundation which he himself created, and gave it the mission of preserving the memory of these conflicts, reconciliation and union of Europeans. His aim was to ensure that the insights gleaned through these accumulated experiences would be passed from generation to generation.

Following is a brief summary of events explaining how and why the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe was established in Lausanne in 1978, result of the collaboration between two men who met in 1955, Jean Monnet and Henri Rieben.

1948-1950: Henri Rieben worked with the Steel Division of the European Economic Commission of the United Nations, which published a report in 1949 which, in terms of the steel industry, was a precursor of the Shuman Plan.

1952: Under the direction of professor Firmin Oulès and of Philippe de Selliers de Moranville, head of the Steel Division noted above, defense of his thesis entitled “Des ententes de maîtres de forges au Plan Schuman”.

1955: First meeting between Jean Monnet and Henri Rieben in Luxembourg, initiating their collaboration. Jean Monnet created the Action Committee for the United States of Europe, which would play a key role in the conception, signing and ratification of the Treaties of Rome, in the development of European Integration until the creation of the Conference of Heads of State and Government.

1957: Lausanne University and the Vaudois government established a chair of European Integration, which Henri Rieben would occupy until 1991.

Creation of the Centre of European Research, outside the University and privately managed. This centre allowed numerous doctoral candidates (many of which would become university professors) to develop their thesis. Research training and collaborative work gave rise to publications. The Cahiers rouges were also created independently of the University. Numbering 211 to date, these have provided information to citizens and professionals engaged in university, economic and political careers.

1957: The Administrative Association of the Action Committee was entered in the commercial register of Lausanne.

Jean Monnet created the Documentation Centre of this committee in Lausanne. The centre collaborated with the European Research Centre, created by Henri Rieben, to prepare studies for Jean Monnet and for the Action Committee. Again in Lausanne, Jean Monnet established the Institute for University Studies of the European Community, with a goal of encouraging university teaching on European construction. Henri Rieben acted as secretary.

1957-1975: The European Research Centre was involved with research conducted for Jean Monnet and for his Action Committee for the United States of Europe, specifically in the areas of energy (Euratom), problems of concentration and formation of cartels raised by European heavy industry by the application of the articles 65 and 66 of the Treaty of Paris; the question of United Kingdom adherence to the EC and the political organisation of Europe. The issue of Swiss-European relations was emphasised in this research and in these publications.

1963: Jean Monnet created the Institute of European Historical Research in Lausanne, with an aim of assembling significant archives for research. In 1965, Jean Monnet asked Henri Rieben to succeed him as president of this Institute.

1966: Jean Monnet decided to hand over his archives to the Centre for European Research and to Henri Rieben.


Professor Henri Rieben with Jean Monnet in 1966.
From 1955, Professor Henri Rieben was associated with Jean Monnet, father of the European community, in an active collaboration that developed over a quarter of a century. In 1978, Jean Monnet gave Rieben both his archives and the mission to use them to constitute a living testimonial to European reconciliation and union.
© Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe


1978: Jean Monnet established the Foundation to which he donated his entire collection of archives and gave it the mission to use them, along with archives from other European protagonists, to constitute a living testimonial to European reconciliation and union. The Foundation should provide material to researchers, guide them and perform its own research and continue to inform the public via the Cahiers rouges.

1981: The State of Vaud renovated Dorigny Farm, in the heart of Lausanne’s University campus, and donated it for the use of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe.

1983: Henri Rieben and his associates gave the European Research Center and the Cahiers rouges collection to the Foundation.

From 1957, successive efforts have contributed to make of the Chair of European Integration at Lausanne University, the European Research Centre and the Cahiers rouges collection (Charles Iffland, Jean-Paul Gonvers, Jacques Oberson, Edwin Ruegg, Pierre Michelet, Madeleine Urech, Werner Rahm, François Cardis, Martin Nathusius, Georges Domeyer, Bernard Dutoit, Yvette Jaggi, Alexander Bergmann, Patrick Piffaretti, Douglas Crowder, etc.) a focus for testimony, teaching, research and encounter, inspired by the collaboration with Jean Monnet.

This experience has allowed the colleagues who followed later (Martin Nathusius, Claire Camperio-Tixier, Françoise Nicod, Monique Zaki, Françoise Schonfeld, Michel Montet, Melchior de Muralt, Vito Monte, Philippe Klein, etc.) to respond to Jean Monnet’s gesture of confidence in creating his Foundation, donating all his archives, and assigning the mission to make of this a focus for living and radiant memory of European reconciliation and union, as well as a centre for research, reflection and contact in the heart of a united Europe.




Read the testimony of Henri Rieben in memory of Jean Monnet, published in Testimonies in memory of Jean Monnet, Lausanne, Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, Center for European Research, 1989, p. 413-460 (Cahiers rouges collection). (In French only)