Courtesy Reuters

The Marshall Plan Halfway

WE ARE now close to the halfway mark of the Marshall Plan, and well beyond it in terms of the scheduled appropriations.[i] Last year, though the yearly program of aid was submitted to Congress in February, the process of first "legislating" and then "appropriating" for it was not completed until October. This year, the process has begun in an atmosphere of "disappointment," to cite Mr. Hoffman's phrase widely echoed in our press, over Western Europe's failure to make a stronger response to E.C.A.'s request, presented to the O.E.E.C. Council last October 31, for a program of "integration" to solve the dollar deficit and make Western Europe independent of "extraordinary outside assistance" by July 1, 1952.

Adequate perspective is more necessary than ever. We may be in danger of swinging from undue optimism to undue pessimism, and in the latter mood, of insisting on unduly simplified solutions. It should be remembered that it was the European Organization, in its first Interim Report, that first officially called attention to the fact that the recovery in 1948 merely brought us to the hard core of the problem of the dollar deficit. The report predicted that, unless "drastic changes in policy" were made, Western Europe's dollar deficit would still be some $3 billion in 1952. The first effects of the report were excellent. The rather shallow optimism that had prevailed, in Western Europe as well as here, disappeared. The report called for a plan of action. On February 17, 1949, the O.E.E.C. Council adopted a set of principles which were made the basis of a plan of action, announced on March 8 by the newly created Consultative Group of Ministers. This seemed a brave start, but as the year wore on, there was a growing impression of a lack of sense of direction. One reason for the change was undoubtedly the prolonged negotiation over the revision of the European Payments Agreement. Another was the British reserve crisis and the general setback to exports. A third

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