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

Europe,   pp. 196-654 PDF (168.7 MB)


Page 233


THE MARSHALL PLAN
233
with you, an incident at luncheon in Les Biffle's 2 office indicates that
we must begin to do so at once.
  I lunched there with a dozen Senators, including Senator McMa-
hon.8 During the course of the luncheon he said that he thought they
should be all told about what the Administration had in mind or at
least what the problem was from the Administration's point of view.
It was suggested that I might be asked to talk to the Policy Committee
of the Democratic Minority in the Senate. Senator McMahon stated
that for his part, if confronted with a fait accompli, he would refuse
to go along and would vote against any credits or grants.
  I assured them all that we were, as they were, in the stage of wres-
tling with the problem and that in the very near future, or as soon as
it became a little clearer to us, we would want to talk it over with them.
This means that we ought to begin to talk with Vandenberg4 almost
at once, not about solutions but about the growing seriousness of the
problem.
  My suggestion, therefore, is that you begin your talks with him as
soon as possible and that within the next two or three weeks you make
a speech which would not undertake to lay down any solution but
would state the problem and that the great immediate problem is not
an ideological one, but a material one.5 This could be followed up by
speeches by Cohen,6 Clayton, and me, still dealing with the problem
rather than the solution. A little later on, a new phase might be
reached after full discussion within the Government and on the Hill,
when the President, you, and other cabinet officers might begin to
outline solutions.
                                                      DEAN ACHESON
  2 Leslie L. Biffle, staff director of the Minority Policy Committee, United
States
Senate.
  8 Brien McMahon, Senator from Connecticut.
  4Arthur H. Vandenberg, Senator from Michigan.
  " By May 20 a speech had been drafted by Joseph M. Jones, for delivery
by the
Secretary of State at an appropriate time and place. The draft entitled "Design
for Reconstruction" was forwarded to; Mr. Acheson by Mr. Jones in a
memorandum
of May 20 in which he said in part: "The attached draft speech was begun
at the
direction of the Secretary.... I believe the message came through you that
the
Secretary would like to 'develop further' the line taken by you in your Mississippi
speech on May 8....
  "In writing this draft, I have again worked closely with the economic
officers
and I believe this represents the line which they think should be projected
now.
It is certainly the one which I think it is highly important to take....
"Except for the first four pages which sound warnings similar to those
of
your speech in Mississippi, this speech is written primarily with a view
to its
effect abroad. The indications of suspicion and skepticism with which foreign
people are beginning to view American aid are alarming and it would seem
to be
of first importance to spell out our design for reconstruction and to give
a
positive concept about which peoples of Europe especially can rally and upon
which they can pin their hopes. The political and economic policy of the
Depart-
ment has led up to an expression of this sort and now seems the psychological
time to launch it. We have a great deal to gain by convincing the world that
we
have something positive and attractive to offer, and not just anti-Communism."
(Jones Papers, Truman Library)
'Benjamin V. Cohen, Counselor of the Department of State.


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