Cold War peacekeepers reunited at Commons
Friends and organisers of the Future of Europe Trust (FET), an All Party Parliamentary Group dedicated to building relations between NATO countries and the former Soviet Union (USSR) and former East European Communist countries, met at the House of Commons in November 2013 to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communism and the spread of democracy across Eastern Europe.
From left to right: William Chambre, David Tredinnick MP, former MP Edwina Currie, James Hutchings, Melissa Crawshay-Williams, Nick Watts
From 1990 to 1997, FET organised annual conferences at the Government's Conference Centre, Lancaster House, London, to bring together Members of Parliament and other representatives from Europe, the United States and Canada, to promote peace, cooperation and understanding.
The conferences organised by a handful of volunteers gave politicians from different cultures and ideologies the chance to communicate and share their views at a critical time in European history. The Lancaster House Conferences held annually over a week brought together each year 100 delegates from 25 nations. The 1990 conference was the first ever conference of politicians from both East (Communist) and West (Democratic) countries in Europe.
Besides organising the Lancaster House conferences, FET delegates travelled to Moscow, former USSR, Germany East and West, France, Italy, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries to build links and hear views.
Speaking at the reunion reception, David Tredinnick MP, co-founder of FET, said:
"We had a vision. We built the vehicle to deliver that vision and we did deliver it and now have a lasting legacy of friends and contacts across Europe and North America who can still relate to FET, its ethic, objectives and achievements. We should now reinforce those old links with internet access to FET's records."
The FET Ethic
FET originates from the British Atlantic Group of Young Politicians which was a NATO related All Party Parliamentary Group. The idea was to bring together young politicians from NATO countries with their counterparts in the Communist Soviet Union and East Europe to enable them to exchange their views in a formal conference setting, mix informally, listen to senior British politicians and experience London and the British way of life.
Setting up of a record of FET activities
The FET conferences, delegations and other activities provided a unique record of the changes taking place in Europe at the end of the Cold War.
It is hoped that this website link will enable former delegates to record their own experiences and activities.
To record your own experience email firstname.lastname@example.org
The 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 (to follow) FET Lancaster House conferences were recorded with a formal group photograph at Lancaster House, with all the names and countries of the delegates shown below.
Record of activities by year
In this section each year of FET activity is recorded. Each year shows the Lancaster House group photograph and below descriptions of the activities and contributions that year. Further contributions from delegates are welcome.
Email email@example.com to make a contribution.
Opened by the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, this conference brought together for the first time democratically elected politicians from both East and West Europe. During the five day conference held in the Long Gallery at Lancaster House there were frequent heated exchanges between Soviet Union representatives and the newly elected democratic MPs from other East Union countries.