In Paris in May 1971 the British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, met the French President, Georges Pompidou, for the discussions to pave the way for Britain's entry into the European Community. At this meeting they reflected on the way in which contact between the two countries could be widened beyond the existing official mechanism for the exchange of ideas and information between the two governments. They concluded that there was a need for a non-governmental body which could sponsor seminars and colloques between people of like interests in the two countries. These meetings should not be confined just to cultural or educational matters, but aim to cover all fields where the two countries shared common problems, or could benefit from a better understanding of the others position.
On 16 May 1972, during the Queen's visit to Paris, an official communiqué was issued announcing the establishment of a Comite d'lnitiative franco-britannique