840.50 Recovery/2–2948: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices in Europe 1


I. French advised Dept Feb. 28 of agreement with British to convene CEEC for Mar. 15 in Paris for short meeting to be attended by Bevin and Bidault.2 Brit and French missions in other participating countries will urge that ForMins attend or at least member of Govt. Hoped meeting can complete agenda two days. If not, Bevin will leave and alternate carry on. Agenda to include (1) examination and approval of report of Secretary General of CEEC on European cooperation since first CEEC meeting; (2) exchange of views on reports of chairmen of technical committees in relation to U.S. commodity reports; (3) creation of and drafting terms of reference of working group of representatives of participating countries. Purpose of working group would be to (a) draft proposals for continuing organization including functions, structure, relations with other international organizations, etc. (b) draft multilateral agreements to be signed by participating countries which would contain pledges along lines para. 32 CEEC General Report and (c) preparation for next CEEC meeting.

Working group expected to require several weeks to complete task after which its report would be considered by a meeting of CEEC, probably sometime in April. French hope members of working group can be persons of sufficient standing to speak with some authority for their governments though not binding governments; also that they can be present March 15 CEEC meeting and start working at once.

II. Dept feels strongly that initiative and decision on the above matters up to CEEC countries. For your info Dept believes above procedure acceptable and has following general comments:

A strong preparatory group to draft charter of continuing organization seems most desirable. Thorough preparation on this and any other matters which might come before a plenary CEEC meeting important [Page 384] so as to minimize public discussion and produce prompt tangible results.
If all CEEC countries are to be represented on working group, Dept believes reps of Bizone and French Zone should participate.
While Senate Committee bill does not require formal multilateral agreement, such an agreement is apparently contemplated by Europeans and Dept believes desirable. Dept believes reciprocal undertakings should be along lines of Para 32 CEEC General Report with possible modifications re production and modernization of plant plus other undertakings required by or considered desirable in light of US legislation and Congressional and public reaction. Specific production targets should not be written into agreement but provision made for fixing such targets and other definitive objectives from time to time as ancillary to agreement with continuing organization having duty to follow up.
Timetable of Congressional action makes it uncertain whether authorization bill will be passed by Apr 1. Therefore, if CEEC meeting after adjournment of working party held prior to about Apr 15 there would be serious risk that ERP authorizing legislation would not have been passed and any statutory requirements re multilateral agreement or organization would not be finally known.

Dept prepared to send fully briefed representative to consult with preparatory working group on friendly aid basis and to express US views including view that Europeans must take primary responsibility for working out continuing organization and multilateral pledges.

Dept’s views on structure and functions of continuing organization will be sent later for your info.

  1. Sent to diplomatic offices in all CEEC capitals and in the U.S. zone in Germany.
  2. Under Secretary Lovett also spoke to British Ambassador Inverchapel on February 28, and in a note written later that day, Inverchapel stated that: “a party of British and French officials have lately visited a number of European capitals to discuss with the participating Governments their views on economic progress to date and on the establishment of a working party, the main functions of which would be to draft the terms of a Multilateral Agreement and to discuss the functions of the Continuing Organization. The Governments concerned, with one exception which has not made its views known, were agreeable to these suggestions and it was therefore proposed to set up a working party early in March. After further consideration between London and Paris: it has been thought desirable to call a short meeting of the C.E.E.C.…” (840.50 Recovery/2–2848)

    Earlier in the month Chargé Gallman in London reported in telegram 598, February 17, 1948, not printed, that the British were holding back on a CEEC meeting temporarily, pending consultation with other nations, and that a French announcement concerning such a meeting had been “overhasty”. (840.50 Recovery/2–1748)