The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 14—9:26 a.m.]
828. I have read with interest the memoranda prepared by officers in EE28 and FC29 entitled “Certain Aspects of Present Soviet Policy”30 and “Russia and Eastern Europe”31 which have been brought here by Page.32
As indicated in my 567, February 20, noon, I am impressed with the consideration that economic assistance is one of the most effective weapons at our disposal to influence European political events in the direction we desire and to avoid the development of a sphere of influence of the Soviet Union over Eastern Europe and the Balkans. All countries involved including the Soviet Union will be to a greater or less extent impoverished by the war and earnestly seek our assistance. The analysis covered by these memoranda would indicate the need for our establishing at the earliest moment machinery by which economic assistance can be made available based of course on a sound policy of mutual economic advantage to the United States.
The granting of economic assistance should be in accordance with our basic policy vis-à-vis each country and subject to withholding if individual countries do not conform to our standards. This policy would include economic assistance to the Soviet Union which as I have expressed in other cables is one of our principal practical levers for influencing political action compatible with our principles.
Every attempt should be made to concert our economic policies with those of Great Britain and the Soviet Union and others of the United Nations, but we should retain independence of action if agreement cannot be reached. This policy should not preclude agreement with Great Britain if none can be reached with the Soviet Union. At all costs we should avoid in the immediate post-war period use of Government credits for competition on a purely short-range commercial basis which does not give consideration to the political aspects.