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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 401

a priori block to any genuine attempt to get at the ills of the area-
through the major international bottlenecks-and relieved the partici-
pants of a responsibility they would otherwise have had at least to
bear and to face. In this sense, we share perhaps a portion of the
responsibility for the failure of the Conference to meet the demands
we ourselves imposed.
(3) Political conditions.
  The ability of the delegates at Paris to draft a recovery program is
no stronger than the ability and readiness of their respective govern-
ments to cooperate by measures of internal policy and by the acceptance
of new international engagements. These acts require, in varying de-
grees, resolution, courage, clarity of vision, and ability to enlist popular
support. Yet most of these governments are afflicted just at this time
with abnormal weaknesses, fears and prejudices. The illness of which
the British Government suffers is endemic among all governments in
one degree or another. Britain's is an extreme case. But it is not the
only severe case among the sixteen nations represented at Paris. And
the work of the Conference cannot logically be stronger than the politi-
cal and psychological fabric of the war-torn, fear-wracked, confused
and maladjusted area which is the object of its labors.
  Now there is none of these three main difficulties which will not
yield to well placed effort over a long period of time. And for that
reason the long-term chances for European recovery should not be
underrated in the light of present impediments. But, on the other hand,
there is none of these three factors which can be corrected within the
brief period of grace which still remains before European conditions
deteriorate beyond the saving-power of present concepts.
  The suggestions contained in the Harvard speech were predicated
on the underlying thought that unless Europe could make a real effort
on her own behalf, she would not be able to make any effective use of
foreign assistance. The Secretary's observations had the effect of
putting that question to the test.
  Today we are in a position to gauge the answer. The answer is that
Europe is only partially capable of making on her own behalf and
within the time which circumstances will allow the effort which the
Harvard speech envisaged-the remainder of the effort she would
like to make, and probably will make in large part, given time and
opportunity. But she cannot make it now.
  Meanwhile the economic situation of two of the leading countries,
namely England and France, is deteriorating with terrifying rapidity.
If nothing is done for them within two to three months, they both face

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