840.00/6–1847: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

2427. Bevin and Bidault separately this evening gave me copies of an aide-mémoire in English and in French1 which they were to give to the Soviet Chargé d’Affaires here later this evening reading as follows:

“The British and French Governments have examined with interest the statement made by Mr. Marshall at Harvard University on 5 June last. The two governments welcome with the greatest satisfaction the suggestions made by the United States Secretary of State. Mr. Marshall has not made any official approach to the two governments but in his speech he clearly suggests the drawing up of economic programmes by the European nations themselves, and indicates that the United States will be ready to lend their aid to the fullest possible extent for the execution of these programmes.

The Foreign Ministers of Great Britain and France consider that this aid is necessary, but that it will only bear fruit to the extent that the countries of Europe make the maximum effort to develop once more the resources which in the main they produced for themselves before the war, and which they have to import today, along with indispensable industrial equipment largely from the American continent.

The two governments consider that the economic condition of Europe necessitates the rapid drawing up of comprehensive programmes. Such programmes should be drawn up by all the countries of Europe which are willing to participate in such action, in liaison with the appropriate organs of the United Nations.

The initiatives to be taken are of extreme urgency because of the economic and financial situation of a great number of European countries. In the view of the British and French Governments, these initiatives should be taken by the three principal European powers. In view of the above, before any examination of the practical measures which must be taken to implement the American proposals, Mr. Bevin and M. Bidault propose to Mr. Molotov that a meeting of the British, French and Soviet Foreign Ministers should be held during the week beginning 23 June at a place to be agreed, in order to discuss these problems as a whole.

The most convenient place for the meeting for Mr. Bevin and M. Bidault, would of course be Paris or London. If however, Mr. Molotov should consider that another European city mid-way between [Page 260] Moscow and London should be chosen, we are disposed to consider any suggestions he might make.”

Bevin and Bidault also both told me separately that they hope the Soviets will refuse to cooperate and that in any event they will be prepared “to go ahead with full steam even if the Soviets refuse to do so.”

They both expressed again their vast interest in and appreciation of what the Secretary’s Harvard speech implied.

What they agreed to in their conversations here is along the lines reported in my 2412, June 18.

Repeated to London as 457; to Moscow as 375.

  1. The French text of this aide-mémoire is printed in Ministère des Affaires Ètrangères, Documents de la Conference des Ministres des Affaires Ètrangères de la France, du Royaume-Uni, de l’U.R.S.S. tenue à Paris du 27 Juin au 3 Juillet 1947 etc. (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1947), p. 15. A translation which differs somewhat from the text of the telegram above is found in the French Yellow Book: Documents of the Conference of Foreign Ministers of France, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.S.R., held in Paris from the 27th June to the 3rd July, 1947 etc. (London: Hutchinson and Co., 1947?), pp. 18–19. Some of the documents of the French official publication are reprinted in Margaret Carlyle, Ed., Documents on International Affairs, 1947–1948, issued under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (London, Oxford University Press, 1952), pp. 26–58.