Compliance with Marshall Conditions at Paris
The First Step to meet American conditions for extension of further aid to Europe was taken by the 16 nations which met at Paris, July 12–September 22, 1947, and drew up the new European Recovery Program for submission to the United States. This step was a direct response to the declaration of Secretary of State Marshall at Harvard University, June 5, that before the United States could proceed much further with foreign aid, “there must be some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take in order to give proper effect to whatever action might be undertaken by this government.”
Since VE-Day the American response to European requirements for goods and credits has been on an emergency and piecemeal basis. It was the hope of the Washington administration in June that further assistance from the United States would “provide a cure rather than a mere palliative.” Subsequent deterioration of economic conditions in Europe made it apparent that additional stopgap aid would be required before the Marshall Plan could be put into effect. Nevertheless, it remains the policy of the United States to provide future aid only on the terms set forth in the Marshall proposals of June 5, except for such quick help as may be needed to make the recovery program possible.
At the heart of the Marshall proposals was a requirement that a recovery program be drafted and that it be “a joint one, agreed to by a number if not all European nations.” Economic collaboration among the countries of Europe was thus made a pre-requisite for further American assistance. Marshall made it clear also that American aid would be extended only to nations “willing to assist in the task of recovery,” and would not be offered to “any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries.” That this willingness to assist must be something more than a mere assurance not to obstruct was made clear during the Paris conference by Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Clayton, who impressed upon the delegates that Washington desired concrete assurances on internal stabilization of currencies and reduction of trade barriers, and on the organization under which the joint program would be carried out.