840.50 Recovery/1–543: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


59. Urtel 16, Jan 2 and 34, Jan. 5.1 Press here carrying stories on consideration being given in France and Britain re reconvention of CEEC. AP indicates purpose would be “exchange views on conditions which may be imposed by US on countries receiving aid, to consider work of the technical committees set up in Paris last September and to debate economic cooperation among sixteen nations”. Times indicates meetings are being pushed by French for purpose strengthening further the economic cooperation between nations that would benefit under ERP and article indicates Brit are lukewarm to suggestion because they do not see purpose such gathering would serve at present.

Before we would be prepared make definite suggestions concerning reconvention CEEC further info re purposes meeting would be desired and we shall also wish sound out Congressional opinion here. If there is genuine desire reconvene CEEC to plan further measures self-help and to review events since Paris meeting2 such action might be most useful. Question of timing however would play important part. Until Congress has given some clear indication its intentions we do not feel that either we ourselves or CEEC would have firm ground to work on. We therefore would question utility or wisdom of any meeting of CEEC before Committee hearings in Congress have sufficiently progressed to clarify Congressional intentions. Furthermore, if CEEC should devote itself to debate on “acceptability of U.S. conditions for the granting of aid” or became exercised over statements by individuals during the debate and felt constrained to express views such [Page 357] meeting might be dangerous. We recognize that at sometime prior to enactment of legislation it will no doubt be desirable to make it possible for ERP countries to express views concerning conditions of aid. The injection, however, of this element into Congressional consideration of question would at this time be most unwise. We would appreciate receiving any further info you may be able to secure re motivation behind present consideration reconvening CEEC.

  1. Telegram 34 from London, not printed, indicated that the British Cabinet was still determining policy. In response to press criticism of apparent government inaction, the Foreign Office said that it was prepared to play an active role after Cabinet decision. Foreign Office officials had also mentioned the possibility of sending a representative to Paris. (840.50 Recovery/1–548)
  2. Reference here is to the meeting of the Committee of European Economic Cooperation in Paris July 12–September 22, 1947. Official reports prepared at the conference were released in September and October 1947 and were issued as Department of State Publications 2930 and 2952.