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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 398

  It would be wrong to laugh at this gingerly approach or to put it
all down to short-sighted timidity in the persons concerned. It reflects
serious European realities which must be taken into account. Many
of these governments are operating under formidable strains, internal
and external. Some of them have internal economic problems with
which they are politically too weak to cope. They do not want these
problems spot-lighted and made critical issues by the Paris confer-
ence. Others, particularly the Scandinavians, are pathologically
timorous about the Russians. Finding themselves somewhat unex-
pectedly in a gathering denounced by Molotov as politically wicked,
they have the jumpy uncertainty of one who walks in pleasing but
unaccustomed paths of sin. All of them are inhibited, I think, by the
consciousness of what seem to them Herculean differences among the
great powers over Germany and by the consequent feeling that the
necessary center of any real European planning is beyond the effective
scope of their activity. This conference reflects, in short, all the weak-
ness, the escapism, the paralysis of a region caught by war in the midst
of serious problems of long-term adjustment, and sadly torn by hard-
ship, confusion and outside pressure.
  In these circumstances, we must not look to the people in Paris to,
accomplish the impossible. That they can scale down their preliminary
figure they have themselves admitted. That a further scaling down of
that figure can be achieved by energetic pressure on the governments
from our side, I think likely. That some sort of effort is being made to
adjust the report in some measure to the suggestions advanced by Mr.
Clayton on August 30! may be expected. As a result of all this, there
will be a hopeful and I think in large measure an honest-attempt
to total up the cost of restoring production and of almost achieving
"viability" throughout the region, in the light of such improvements
policy as the governments are now prepared to make. Perhaps a
gesture or two will be made toward a reduction of the barriers to
intra-European trade. A well-meant-and perhaps not entirely in-
effective-appeal to the participating governments to put their finan-
cial houses in order may well be included.
  But glaring deficiencies will remain. No bold or original approach
to Europe's problems will be forthcoming. No startling design will
emerge here for the removal of the pitiful dependence of much of this
great peninsular area on overseas supplies for which it cannot pay.
Worst of all: the report will not fulfill all of the essential requirements
listed by Mr. Clayton in his remarks to members of the Executive
Committee on August 30. And the total figure of aid required from
outside will be considerably higher than it would need to be if it
assumed the type of action by the governments, individually and col-
lectively, which we would like to see.

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