London Embassy Files, Lot 58F47, 500 Marshall Plan: Telegram

The United States Special Representative in Europe ( Harriman ) to the Administrator for Economic Cooperation ( Hoffman )


[Repto 4533.]1 Consultative group of OEEC concluded two-day meeting yesterday evening. Spaak presided over group which included ministerial representatives Executive Committee (Cripps, Petsche, Stikker plus economic ministers from Italy, Norway and Portugal2).

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I was present throughout. Results were twofold:

Agreement on principles and proposals for liberalization intra-European trade. Text given in following telegram.3 This document is to be kept confidential for present. It will be circulated to participating governments and will be on agenda of meeting of OEEC council at ministerial level to be held between June 27 and June 30. Publication of document may be expected, therefore, around June 20 when papers for meeting are circulated. These proposals, if implemented vigorously, represent important initial attack on vital European problem. I will report more fully on discussions.
Agreement on certain steps designed to lead to approval of payments plan for year beginning July 1.

Yesterday morning prior to first meeting of group, Spaak, Cripps, Petsche and myself had long discussion in which it was agreed that way should first be found to solve problem of Belgian surplus in intra-European trade and thereafter it might well be possible to resolve other points of difference. We specifically agreed that experts representing the four of us would continue discussions promptly in hope that agreement could be reached between us or at least issues defined for decision at higher level. In these negotiations we will follow lines previously indicated in series of cables between OSR and ECA/W. Dickinson4 will bring further details.

On basis report our four experts, payments committee is to reexamine problem of payments agreement. If they are unsuccessful in reaching agreement after 15 days, it will be necessary again to convoke ministerial representatives of four mentioned countries and perhaps also consultative group. However, this was left to Spaak to decide. Procedure accepted by consultative group.

It was made clear by several delegations that their acceptance of trade liberalization proposals was based on assumption of reaching satisfactory payments agreement.

  1. The text printed here is from telegram Repto 593 to London, a repetition of Repto 4533 to the Department of State, other copies of which were sent to Brussels and The Hague.
  2. Dirk U. Stikker, Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative at the OEEC; Ezio Vanoni, Italian Minister of Finance; Olav Meisdalshagen, Norwegian Minister of Finance; Joao Pinto da Costa Leite, Portuguese Minister of Finance.
  3. Repto 4534, June 5, not printed. The proposed agreement provided (a) that participating states would take immediate steps to eliminate quantitative import restrictions, (b) that they would do so unilaterally as far as possible, (c) that they would report actions taken or anticipated to the OEEC by October, at which time the steps would be examined to see if each country was making a contribution appropriate to its economic position, (d) that lists of agreed products would be consolidated, (e) that other international agreements would be taken into account in the process, (f) that creditor countries would relax their quantitative restrictions as far as possible to debtor countries, and (g) that, should the policies of any participating country be considered inhibiting to the liberalization of trade, representations could be made to the OEEC and discussions would take place between the countries concerned. (London Embassy Files, Files, Lot 58F47, 500 Marshall Plan).
  4. Edward T. Dickinson, Director of the Program Coordination Division of ECA.