ECA Telegram Files, Lot W–130, Paris Repto: Telegram

The Special Representative in Europe for the Economic Cooperation Administration (Harriman) to the Administrator of the Economic Cooperation Administration (Hoffman)


Repto circular 141. Recent increase of press inquiries on East-West trade led us to formulate general line of statement for publication on problems in this field.1 Have given out argument to Le Monde (story [Page 93] appeared Tuesday March 8 giving well-rounded report; translation being airpouched to you), London Times and French Press Agency.

For your guidance we are following in press interviews points listed below:

Hoffman and Harriman have stated and reiterated importance East-West trade to European recovery. Study of current European statistics indicates this trade has increased. OEEC interim report emphasized magnitude East-West trade will reach in 1950.
US and ERP countries have parallel security problems and community of interest in maintenance peace.
Policy has been established by US to maintain control over US exports of obvious war material, such as jet engines, guns, ammunition, etc.
There have not been any formal negotiations or démarche with representatives of European countries to “restrict” shipment of a definite “list” of items to Eastern Europe, in addition to war material.
ECA officials, however, have held discussions with representatives of ERP countries to make known to them US policy being followed on maintenance of its own security and its views on shipment of Eastern Europe of what US deems to be potential war material. ECA believes it inaccurate to refer to any “list” of restricted items. ECA is concerned with groups of finished products which have direct military value. Under certain circumstances a particular type or volume of product that is being sought for account of Eastern European countries will have to be judged on basis of its war potential. Obviously, abnormal purchases of an item for stockpiling by Eastern European countries brings into question whether or not such purchases may ultimately affect US security.
ECA believes ERP participants, as part of their security may wish to adopt policy parallel to US when making decisions as to what items should be shipped to Eastern Europe.
ECA disavows that any “pressure” is being made against any ERP participant, by threats of curtailment of dollar aid, to follow US security policy on type and quantity of shipments that can be exported to Eastern Europe. ECA emphasizes that decisions rest with individual countries and has not talked of sanctions.

In summary, US does not wish to encourage building up military potential Soviet Union and believes ERP participants share same viewpoint.

Sent Washington; repeated Frankfurt for Collisson.

  1. In his telegram Repto circular 144, March 14, from Paris to Hoffman in Washington, not printed, Ambassador Harriman observed that the concerted Communist propaganda line in Europe attacking the North Atlantic Pact had been characterized by an accentuated denunciation of American East-West trade policies. The ECA missions in Europe were under daily pressure for background information and clarification that was positive and convincing (ECA Telegram Files, Lot W–130, Paris Repto).