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Fernand Dehousse archives now available in digital version

Posted on 29 October 2018

The Fernand Dehousse fonds has been digitised and is now available for online consultation in digital format on the website of the Historical Archives of the European Union.

The documents cover the period from 1848 to 1976 and there are 530 files in total. They illustrate various steps in European integration history, including the origins of the Council of Europe, the Belgian position on the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) project, the work of the ad hoc Assembly and the activities of the Western European Union (WEU) in the Saarland.

The files also shed light on the history of the Walloon movement in Belgium since the 1930s and the Belgian federalist process in the 1960s. There are papers on the preparatory conferences of the United Nations (1945), the work of the Commission on Human Rights (1946-1952) and the conferences of NATO parliamentarians (1962-1966). Furthermore, in the Dehousse’s archive there are the archival files of Professors Ernest Mahaim, one of the founders of the International Labour Office, and Emile de Laveleye, his mentor.

While practicing law in Belgium, Dehousse specialised in international law and at the same time he was the assistant professor to Ernest Mahaim who introduced him to the Socialist politician  Paul-Henri Spaak. Dehousse played a leading role in the post-war Belgian political and diplomatic scene: in 1945 he represented his country at the San Francisco Conference, which drafted the United Nations Charter and subsequently participated in the creation of the Council of Europe in 1949. He sat in the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, took part in the work on the European Political Community in 1952 and 1953, and was appointed head of the European Commission for the referendum in the Saarland in 1955. He chaired the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1956 to 1959. When he was elected MEP, he wrote the first report on the election of the Parliament by universal suffrage in 1960. As member of the Belgian Socialist Party, Fernand Dehousse also served in the Belgian government on various occasions and was most notably Minister of Community Relations from 1971-1972.

The inventory and the digital copies of Fernand Dehousse’s archive can be consulted here.