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FalloutNuclear Diplomacy in an Age of Global Fracture$
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Grégoire Mallard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226157894

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226157924.001.0001

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Ambiguity and Preemptive Interpretation

Ambiguity and Preemptive Interpretation

How Legal Indeterminacy Failed the Eurofederalists

Chapter:
(p.75) Four Ambiguity and Preemptive Interpretation
Source:
Fallout
Author(s):

Grégoire Mallard

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226157924.003.0004

Chapter 4 analyzes how the tactic of ambiguity, which consists in leaving many treaty obligations unspecified, works in treaty negotiations. It takes the case of the negotiations of the nuclear proliferation and nuclear cooperation rules that were included in the European Defense Community (EDC) Treaty in the early 1950s. As is well known, France refused to ratify that EDC treaty, and this chapter explains the effect that the choice of ambiguity had on that failure. It shows that ambiguity was a double-edged sword: the tactic of ambiguity paid off by accelerating the speed of treaty negotiations; but when the parliamentarians refused to postpone the clarification of treaty interpretation until after the entry into force of this treaty, the publicity granted to the negotiated text allowed key national stakeholders in France, the U.K and the U.S. to challenge its legitimacy in public. Thus, contrary to what many international relations scholars believe, ambiguity can present some serious drawbacks as a negotiating tactic.

Keywords:   ambiguity, preemptive interpretation, European Defense Community, Eurofederalism, nuclear proliferation, ratification process

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