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European Reconstruction (Paris Conference)

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 23 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when he anticipates being able to make a statement on the progress of discussions among the European countries on the Marshall offer arid of all related discussions which have taken place between his Department and the State Department of the U.S.A.

I can tell the hon. Member now that the Economic Reconstruction Conference in Paris is making good progress. The discussions are in the committee stage, and any detailed report on the proceedings will clearly have to await its conclusion. The discussions are confined to participating States and there are no related talks in progress with the United States.

Does the Foreign Secretary deny the statements which have been published in the Press with regard to the behind the scenes discussions with America, and some of the almost open threats which America is making with regard to this country's attitude to the Marshall offer and the negotiations in Europe?

I here have been no threats and no discussions on the Marshall offer at all. I have made that clear, but I cannot be expected every time to deny an accusation which comes out of an inventive brain.

Is it a fact that the Marshall proposals are being developed on the assumption that they will not interfere with the sovereignty of the States participating?

The whole basis of the conference is voluntary, just as it is when one enters the United Nations; one enters it or not, and the position as regards one's sovereignty is exactly the same. If one does not come in, nothing happens; if one does accept to come in, and then comes in, one agrees to do a certain thing, and it becomes a voluntary act, just like making a treaty or anything else.