840.00R/1–2450: Telegram

The Ambassador in Belgium ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State


112. I saw Van Zeeland today on his return from Paris. He told me that he dined with Schuman and Petsche1 last evening and expressed himself as encouraged over their attitude toward the question of [Page 615] eventual progress toward western European economic integration. Van Zeeland said, however, that he told the French bluntly that in his opinion the experts had made no progress whatever in the financial and trade fields during the past weeks. He said he discussed his theories regarding adjustments in the field of prohibitive tariffs with particular reference to agriculture, coal, and steel—pointing out that the French plan of gradual approach in his opinion would fail and that there must be “one hundred percent approach” with a flexible basis for each of the principal different commodities. He referred to the formula which had been adopted in Benelux in the field of agriculture as an example of what must be done for western Europe. He said also that he had conversations with MacBride and Gruber2 and that they had arrived at an agreement under which, as President and Vice Presidents of the Council of Ministers of OEEC, each would spend two days weekly in Paris and on the fourth week the three would meet for consultation. They would also make a division of the work in OEEC which each would supervise, thus distributing the load.

Van Zeeland expressed disappointment but not surprise over the firm British opposition to Spaak announced in Department’s intel of January 23.3 He, of course, has been aware of the unyielding British attitude on this subject. In his opinion Spaak’s public remarks4 on this subject while Spaak was in the US had a most unfortunate effect on British opinion but in addition Van Zeeland advances view that Spaak as a Socialist is more useful to the British if remains within Belgium itself where he would exercise an influence favorable to British views in respect of the royal question and in certain economic matters. Spaak, paradoxical as that may seem in view of foregoing, is not welcome to the British Labor Party according to Van Zeeland as an influence in international European matters.

Van Zeeland again expressed firm conviction that Stikker would not accept the OEEC position as offered him.

Sent Department 112; repeated Paris 35 (Paris pass OSR), London 24, The Hague 12.

  1. Maurice Petsche, French Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs.
  2. Séan MacBride, Irish Minister for External Affairs, and Karl J. Gruber, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Speech at the University of Pennsylvania, January 14, 1950, entitled “Britain and a United Europe,” published in the London Daily Telegraph and Morning Post, January 17, 1950.