This chapter explores the British response to the first wave of European integration. The reaction of the British Labour government to the European Coal and Steel Community indicated the extent to which there was a fundamentally different consensus at work in Britain. The Conservatives under Churchill appeared more supportive than the Labour government of the idea of European unity. The British were invited to participate, and agreed to do so on the understanding that they had ‘special difficulties’ with any proposal for a European common market. The non-involvement in the process of European integration for both Labour and Conservative governments during the 1950s can be explained by the continued attempts by elites to secure the British state as a cosmopolitan-imperial power. In many respects the Foreign Office and the Treasury were responsible for refining the European strategy.