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Europe: Key Dates In The Development Of The Marshall Plan

  • Sonia Winter

Washington, 26 May 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Here are the dates of key events in the creation and implementation of the Marshall Plan.

Important Dates

March 1947
The Truman Doctrine makes it U.S. policy to protect nations threatened by Communism. Europe, Greece, Turkey, and Germany are imperiled.

June 5, 1947
Secretary of State George Marshall makes a brief and compelling speech at a Harvard University graduation ceremony, calling for an American plan to help Europeans help themselves to recover from the destruction of World War II.

June 17, 1947
Swift British response to the American proposal. Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin flies to Paris to confer with French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault.

June 19, 1947
The two leaders announce that France, Britain and Europe must move forward with or without Soviet participation.

June 27, 1947
Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov joins Bevin and Bidault in a "Big Three" conference in Paris.

July 2, 1947
Molotov terminates discussions, refusing Soviet participation in the Marshall Plan.

July 12, 1947
The British and French call a Conference of European Economic Cooperation in Paris, which became the Committee of European Economic Cooperation (CEEC). The Soviet Union was invited, but declined, and pressured Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary into staying away as well.

September 22, 1947
The CEEC submits its final report estimating European foreign exchange needs and the cost of the European Recovery Program (ERP) over four years. It was a remarkably cooperative effort and led to the establishment of an Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) to coordinate the program from the European side.

November 17, 1947
U.S. Congress convenes in emergency session to approve interim aid for France, Italy and Austria.

December 17, 1947
President Harry Truman signs the interim authorization of $522 million to carry France, Italy and Austria through March, 1948.

December 19, 1947
Truman presents proposed European Recovery Program to U.S. Congress. It calls for a four-year aid plan to 16 Western European countries.

March 31, 1948
U.S. House of Representatives follows earlier approval by the Senate and passes European Recovery Program.

April 3, 1948
President Harry Truman signs the ERP, or Marshall Plan bill into law. The legislation is called Economic Cooperation Act and authorizes a total of $17 billion over four years.