The Central & East Europe Commission (1949-1973) was established and carried out its work within the European Movement, a social organisation whose pioneering activity, particularly just after the end of the World War II, contributed to the idea of European integration becoming firmly rooted in the international political arena. The eminent role of the European Movement in initiating the beginnings of European integration resulted from its strong contacts in official, government circles. It counted among its members front page names among the Western European politicians and almost all the fathers of European integration. It was at the initiative of one of the latter, Józef Hieronim Retinger (1888-1960), that the Central and East European Commission was established. Jan Pomian undertook the post of secretary and, following the death of Retinger, he also became the main spiritus movens of its activities. The Commission's members were émigré politicians from Central and East Europe and, thanks to Retinger's contacts, influential Western politicians. In over 20 years of operation, the Commission served as the guardian of the European interests of the countries dominated by Moscow and prevented the topic of the East from being omitted from the issue of European integration. Most of all, it reminded politicians in the West of the problem of East Europe. It also took care that the declarations on the so called 'open door' on European integration for the captive countries, when only they regained their freedom, be heard on both sides of the 'iron curtain'. The Western politicians were encouraged to maintain contact with Moscow's satellite countries, with a view to softening up the 'curtain' as much as possible by transmitting the ideas of freedom and democracy to the East, in order to stimulate the process of transformation there from inside. The Commission also performed the role of expert body for the politicians of the West in matters concerning the East; publishing essays and commentaries, sounding out the public mood behind the 'iron curtain' and arranging numerous meetings, congresses and conferences, including the two which obtained the largest international publicity, in London (1952) and in Brussels (1964), where the latter elicited reactions even in Moscow.
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