103.02ECA/2–750: Telegram

The Chargé in Ireland ( Everett ) to the Secretary of State


48. Last evening MacBride and Boland1 gave me their impressions of last OECC Council meeting in Paris from which they have just returned. They felt after conversations with Van Zeeland, Spaak and others that fundamentally little progress was made and that psychologically the situation was worse than before the meeting. They were agreed in saying that no previous meeting had to an equal degree left in the minds of participants such a feeling of frustration and loss [Page 627] of purpose. They are of the opinion that the reservations and restrictions to the proposed measures were mainly, though not entirely, British or British-inspired and that the sentiment prevailing among the delegates of continental countries was that the American attitude wasn’t sufficiently firm. This feeling appeared to be particularly marked in the case of the Belgian, German, and Austrian representatives but was also shared in varying degrees by others. MacBride said he sensed a feeling of uneasiness among the continental representatives and he considered the greatest danger in this to lie in the possibility that each country might tend to fall back upon itself and go its own way. Both MacBride and Boland appeared convinced that a firmer American attitude was necessary in order to restore confidence.

They consider the compromise appointment2 of Stikker as a step in the right direction but, while liking him personally, described him as leaving the impression of an “honest businessman” whose experience and personality would possibly not enable him to play an outstanding role.3

  1. Frederick Boland, Under Secretary in the Irish Ministry for External Affairs.
  2. Reference here is to the position of “Political Conciliator” considered earlier for Spaak. The appointment was by unanimous vote of the OEEC Council at its meeting of January 31, at which Harriman and Hoffman were present. The arrangement was considered experimental, and Stikker planned to continue his duties as Dutch Foreign Minister.
  3. The Council of the OEEC ended its session on February 1 after approving proposals aimed at removing 60 percent, and later 75 percent, of the restrictions on the import of goods between member nations, subject to the formation of a European Payments Union.