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Foreign Relations of the United States

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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1947. The British Commonwealth; Europe

Europe,   pp. 196-654 PDF (168.7 MB)

Page 225

ent crisis results in large part from the disruptive effect of the war on
the economic, political, and social structure of Europe and from a pro-
found exhaustion of physical plant and of spiritual vigor. This situ-
ation has been aggravated and rendered far more difficult of remedy
by the division of the continent into east and west. The Planning Staff
recognizes that the communists are exploiting the European crisisX
and that further communist successes would create serious danger to
American security. It considers, however, that American effort in aid)
to Europe should be directed not to the combatting of communism
as such but to the restoration of the economic health and vigor of
European society. It should aim, in other words, to combat not corm-
munism, but the economic maladjustment which makes EuropeanL
society vulnerable to, exploitation by any and all totalitarian move-
ments and which Russian communism is now exploiting. The Planning
Staff believes that American plans should 'be drawn to this purpose
and that this should be frankly stated to the American public.
  3. The Policy Planning Staff sees in this general question of Amer-
ican aid to western Europe two problems: a long-term one and a short-
term one. The long-term problem is that of how the economic health
of the area is to be restored and of the degree and form of American
aid for such restoration. The short-term problem is to determine what
effective and dramatic action should be taken in the immediate future
to halt the economic disintegration of western Europe and to create
confidence that the overall problem can be solved and that the United
States can and will play its proper part in the solution.
  4. The Policy Planning Staff feels that there is some misconception
in the mind of the American people as to the objectives of the Truman
Doctrine and of our aid to foreign countries and recommends that
immediate action be taken to correct this misunderstanding.
                  II. THE SHORT-TERM PROBLEM
   5. With respect to the short-term problem, the Planning Staff feels
that we should select some particular bottleneck or bottlenecks in the
economic pattern of western Europe and institute immediate action
which would bring to bear the full weight of this Government on the
breaking of those bottlenecks. The purpose of this action would. be on
the one hand psychological-to put us on the offensive instead of the
defensive, to convince the European peoples that we mean business,
to serve as a catalyst for their hope and confidence, and to dramatize
for our people the nature of Europe's problems and the importance of
American assistance. On the other hand, this action would be designed
to make a real contribution to the solution -of Europe's economic

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