Formulation and Enactment (June 1947–April 1948)

  • Henry Pelling


The ‘European initiative’ that Marshall had called for began on 9 June 1947. On that day Bevin sent a message to Duff Cooper, the British Ambassador in Paris, asking him to see Bidault, the French Foreign Minister, and explain to him that ‘we are anxious to cooperate… in studying the new American approach to Europe… If we are to get advantage out of Mr Marshall’s offer, the most complete and contructive programme we can put forward for European countries is of vital importance’.1 Duff Cooper saw Bidault the following morning, and found him anxious to ‘deprive the Soviet Government of any opportunity of causing delay and frustration’.2 But on the 12 June Marshall was reported to have said at a press conference that the aid was on offer to all of Europe ‘west of Asia’. This clearly involved the Soviet Union in the proposal, and it was reported in the British Treasury that ‘Bevin’s thinking… has been altered by Marshall’s speech last night which includes both the UK and Russia in American assistance’.3 Bevin thereupon decided to go to Paris himself to consult both Bidault and the French Prime Minister, Ramadier. On 14 June he sent a message to Marshall to this effect through Lord Inverchapel, who had succeeded Halifax as British Ambassador in Washington.4 On the 17th, just before setting out for Paris, Bevin also secured the support of the British Cabinet.5


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2 Formulation and Enactment (June 1947–April 1948) (pp. 11–26)

  1. 7.
    S. D. Waley, ‘The Marshall Plan’, 19 June 1497, ibid.Google Scholar
  2. 25.
    Bevin, ‘Conversation with U.S. Ambassador’, 31 July 1947, ibid.Google Scholar
  3. 26.
    Bevin, ‘Conversation with U.S. Ambassador’, 2 August 1947, ibid.Google Scholar
  4. 34.
    Kennan, ‘Situation with Respect to European Recovery Program’, 4 September 1947, ibid., p. 397.Google Scholar
  5. 56.
    A. H. Vandenberg, Jr. (ed.), Private Papers of Senator Vandenberg (1953) p. 384.Google Scholar
  6. 57.
    M. Wala, ‘Selling the Marshall Plan at Home: the Committee for the Marshall Plan to Aid European Recovery’, Diplomatic History, x (1986) 258.Google Scholar
  7. 71.
    H. B. Price, The Marshall Plan and Its Meaning (Ithaca, NY, 1955) p. 70. For the Act, see Appendix A, pp. 129-52.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Henry Mathison Pelling 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Pelling
    • 1
  1. 1.St John’s CollegeCambridgeUK

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