840.50 Recovery/1–1248: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


104. For Gallman. After requesting visit be kept “off the record” the Brit and French Ambs made joint call on Under-Sec this morning [Page 360] to state on behalf of their Govts that they considered it desirable to convene a short session of the CEEC in Paris about the middle of Feb. The purpose of meeting would be to examine progress achieved in all fields since the Paris Conf, to exchange views on the multilateral agreement foreshadowed by the Pres in his message to Congress,1 and to set up a working party which would be charged with preparing the foundations for the future organization. It was explained that purpose of call was to give US advance information of the Brit-French proposal and to solicit views in particular as to the suitability of the suggested date of meeting.

The Under-Sec replied there were important considerations to be borne in mind before decision as to meeting should be taken. He emphasized it was by no means certain that ERP would be approved either in time or with sufficient flexibility to make it workable. He felt that both Govts should be made aware of the difficulties inherent in the program and called attention to recent Congressional declarations such as those of Taft, Halleck,2 and some of the Democratic members of Congress as indicating some of these. He thought, therefore, that the question of timing was most important. If the meeting should take place before Committee hearings in Congress liad sufficiently progressed to clarify Congressional intentions CEEC would have nothing to go on and before that time it might prove harmful instead of helpful. It was impossible now to estimate when this time would be. There was reason to fear that consideration of ERP had been tied into domestic political issues which might further delay it. In any event he thought it would be at least two to three weeks before the situation was sufficiently clarified to enable us to give a firm estimate as to timing.

Mr. Lovett then went on to point out very real danger created if impression were to be given in any discussions of the multilateral agreement that European countries were discussing the attitude they would take in regard to conditions which might be imposed upon aid granted. Such would be fatal to the program.

Both Inverchapel and Bonnet3 pointed out that there was no intention on the part of their Govts to inject this element but Mr. Lovett replied that the impression had already reached the press that one of the reasons why the meeting was being called was the desire on the part of certain individuals to create a unified stand in respect to these conditions.

[Page 361]

It was fully recognized here that a meeting of CEEC would at some point prove very useful but in our opinion it was too early at the present to envisage a date. Mr. Lovett suggested that what might usefully be accomplished in the interim would be work to show what had been achieved in the way of self help and mutual aid since Paris. Such information would be useful to present to Congress for the purpose of demonstrating more clearly that the European nations themselves were not sitting by waiting for aid to fall into their open mouths.

The Brit Amb had also been instructed to raise the question of bizonia and its possible representation at CEEC meeting. The Brit Govt had felt that should the meeting be held both the American military Govt and the Brit military Govt should be represented and that these representatives should speak for the joint undertaking. This question was not discussed in view of the US feeling that the meeting should be delayed although Bonnet indicated that the French zone would also be represented at any future session.

Sent to London as 104 repeated to Paris for the Ambassador as 82.

  1. Special Message to the Congress on the Marshall Plan, December 19, 1947; for text, see: Public Papers of the Presidents: Harry S. Truman: 1947 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1963), p. 515.
  2. Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, and Congressman Charles Halleck of Indiana, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
  3. Henri Bonnet, the French Ambassador.