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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 235

  The last point which parallels the recommendation in the Policy
Planning Staff paper was elaborated in the ensuing discussion. Three
major problems presented themselves:
  1. The inclusion or exclusion of Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe.
  2. U.S. vs. European responsibility and initiative.
  3. The timing and machinery to be utilized in developing the plan.
  As to point 1, Mr. Clayton expressed the strong view that, while
Western Europe is essential to Eastern Europe, the reverse is not true.
Coal and grains from Eastern Europe are important to Western Eu-
rope, but these products will be exported westward in any event be-
cause the necessity of obtaining vital foreign exchange for necessary
products from the west creates a suction which the U.S.S.R. is incapa-
ble of counteracting, and there can only be absolute and final Soviet
domination of Eastern Europe by force of arms. It was concluded,
therefore, that a European economic federation is feasible even with-
out the participation of Eastern European countries. There was gen-
eral agreement, however, that the plan should be drawn with such
conditions that Eastern Europe could participate, provided the coun-
tries would abandon near-exclusive Soviet orientation of their
  Regarding the problem of European vs. U.S. initiative in the plan,
Mr. Kennan pointed out the necessity of European acknowledgment
of responsibility and parentage in the plan to prevent the certain
attempts of powerful elements to place the entire burden on the U.S.
and to discredit it and us by blaming the U.S. for all failures.
  Messrs. Cohen and Thorp emphasized the importance of substantial
U.S. responsibility and initiative because (a) experience has demon-
strated the lack of ability of European nations to agree on such mat-
ters, (b) if agreement is reached, the scheme may not be a sound one
and (c) the problem is so complex that no one can plot a definite, final
plan now. It should, therefore, be approached functionally rather than
by country, concentrating on the essentials, and this is an approach
which the U.S. is in a better position than Europe to take.
  Balancing the dangers of appearing to force "the American way"
on Europe and the danger of failure if the major responsibility is left
to Europe, Mr. Bohlen suggested that the alternative is to place strong
pressure on the European nations to plan by underscoring their situ-
ation and making clear that the only politically feasible basis on which
the U.S. would be willing to make the aid available is substantial evi-
dence of a developing overall plan for economic cooperation by the
Europeans themselves, perhaps an economic federation to be worked
out over 3 or 4 years.

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