It was one of the Almighty's little jokes to place the British and the French so close together and make them so entirely different in mental habits. The British hardly ever clear‐sightedly address themselves to establishing a policy — on anything. In Britain a “policy” is what you accidentally find you have after taking a number of ad hoc decisions on related matters. The French, and to a lesser extent other Continental peoples, are inclined to decide first to have a policy, then to decide what it should be in general terms and only finally to translate that general policy into detailed implementation. At European meetings it is therefore common for a proposition to be advanced in extremely general terms…often surrounded by clauses beginning “whereas”, “recalling”, “considering”, the kind of thing which characterises United Nations resolutions but is foreign to the economical language of a British Cabinet minute. At this point the eyes of the British representatives glaze over.
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