840.50 Recovery/1–1548

The British and French Embassies to the Department of State 1

Ref: 375/11/48


The British and French Governments fully appreciate that the position as regards the voting by Congress of a European Programme of aid is fluid. One of the main purposes of the proposals contained in their previous communication to the United States Government was as stated, to facilitate the task of the Administration and they are most anxious to avoid anything which would have the reverse effect.2 At the same time, the two Governments feel it necessary to take into account the views of the participating countries, several of which have been urging that there should be another meeting of C.E.E.C. to provide an opportunity for consultation on the best means of furthering European co operation.

2. The two Governments wish to emphasise that the discussion on the multilateral Agreement, which would have been one of the items on the agenda of the new Sessions of the C.E.E.C. would have had the exclusive purpose of reviewing the general mutual undertakings to which the participating countries had declared themselves ready to subscribe, and in no way to examine the conditions of American aid in general. The Press reports on this subject have been completely misinformed.

3. In view of the reaction of the United States Administration, the two Governments have abandoned the idea of holding an early meeting of C.E.E.C, but they feel they must hold early consultations with the other participating countries and have decided that a small Anglo-French Delegation should visit the main countries in order to review progress made with self-help and mutual help and to collect views on the best means of preparing the ground for the continuing organisation.

4. The two Governments are announcing their intentions in a communiqué to be issued simultaneously in London and Paris at noon G.M.T. on Friday, 16th January. A draft of this communiqué is attached.3

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5. The two Governments wish to comment on the above communiqué as follows:—

A main purpose of the consultations with the participating countries is to review progress towards achieving the aims of the Paris report. This would seem to be fully consistent with the views of the United States Administration.
Consideration of preliminary steps towards the setting up of the continuing organisation (including possibly the constitution of a Working Party) would be an earnest of the intention of the participating countries to continue to co-operate. It would avoid delay on the European side in implementing any programme which may ultimately be authorised by Congress.
Although no reference thereto is made in the communiqué, it is intended that the consultation should cover the method of considering, on the technical level, the commodity reports which have been tabled by the Administration.
The statement in regard to a further meeting of C.E.E.C. has been introduced specifically to set at rest the fears expressed by the United States Administration. The two Governments will again consult the Administration when they think the time has come for a further meeting.4

  1. Handed to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett) by the British and French Ambassadors (Inverchapel and Bonnet) on January 15, 1948.
  2. See the Department’s telegram 104 to London, January 12, 1948, p. 359.
  3. Not printed.
  4. The United States response to this communiqué was to suggest the addition of a sentence clearly pointing out that a full meeting of the CEEC would be premature until more definite decisions had been taken in Washington.