Editorial Note

The Economic Cooperation Administration suggested on September 1 that higher expenditures by the French Government to speed agricultural production might afford some hope of stimulating and redirecting private investment, and it also urged using ECA counterpart funds as inducement to reexamine projects for greater productivity. The ECA further noted that “recovery effort dependent upon satisfactory showing in increase French agricultural production”. (Telegram Ecato 839 to Paris, ECA Telegram Files, FRC Acc. No. 53A278, Paris Ecato)

Bingham replied on September 8 that he agreed with the goals expressed but that the problem of gaining French agreement was very complex. The best approach might be through American efforts toward “finding, or creating through persuasion, influential groups in French Government who want to see instituted type of dynamic agricultural program we have in mind and of working with them toward its accomplishment.” This had been the secret of the Mission’s success in influencing the French in such matters as credit control, non-inflationary financing, and liberalization of trade. As for “using [Page 653] counterpart as inducement”, Bingham stated that much of ECA’s strength in counterpart negotiations came from its never having encouraged expansion in overall government spending. ECA’s negotiating strength would be materially reduced if it abandoned this position, which had enabled the French Government “to shift to us some of heat for holding down total expenditure”. (Telegram Toeca 1198 from Paris, ibid., Paris Toeca)