840.50 Recovery/7–3149: Telegram

The Chargé in Belgium (Millard) to the Secretary of State


1062. Deptel 923, July 20.1 It is not clear to Embassy what Department means to “head up OEEC” since Spaak is now chairman. Assuming therefore that Department has in mind creation of “permanent” head of OEEC, who will continue in office regardless of political changes in his country (comparable to president and secretary-general of UN), I believe that it is risky to offer this position to Spaak unless and until a government is formed with the Socialists in the opposition. My reasoning is as follows: Though such an offer made to Spaak now would give him a trump card in his internal political negotiations it would make his withdrawal from the internal political scene more attractive and consequently make him fight less hard to keep the Socialists in power thus greatly increasing the likelihood of the Socialists joining the Communists in the opposition, a distinctly unpleasant prospect.

In the event that the Socialists participate in the new government, in which case Spaak will unquestionably remain in the Foreign Office [Page 412] and presumably be relieved of his great burden as Prime Minister, I think it is not in our interest to offer him a full time position as head of OEEC since as Foreign Minister he will continue his work on the OEEC and continue to exert constructive influence on that organization, as well as Western Union, Atlantic Pact, Russian problem, German situation, etc.

It is extremely difficult at this time to evaluate repercussions of nomination Spaak as “permanent” OEEC chairman because the composition of the next Belgian Government is not known and Spaak is still in Switzerland (incidentally his conversation with the King2 may help clarify his thinking). I feel, however, it would not be unduly risky to make discreet inquiries of Spaak on his return.

Accordingly unless otherwise instructed by tomorrow Monday August 1, I will request interview with Spaak to ascertain what he has in mind but would be grateful be informed urgently whether description of position to “head up” OEEC given in second sentence this telegram is correct.3

  1. In telegram No. 923, not printed, Acheson requested an estimate of possible repercussions if Spaak were approached to “head up” OEEC. (840.50 Recovery/7–2949)
  2. Leopold III.
  3. In his answering telegram No. 927, August 1, 7 p. m., Acheson informed the Embassy that the Department had in mind a full time, permanent post of Director General. He added that there was no objection to the procdure outlined in this last paragraph (840.50 Recovery/7–3149).