31 OCTOBER 1947, Page 2

Towards American Aid

It is a month since the scene of the struggle for American aid to Europe shifted from Paris to Washington and during that time the spotlight has moved from the committees studying the Paris report to President Truman and on to Congress. At each stage there has been hesitation, but at each stage hesitation has ended with a pro- gressive decision, the last being the President's announcement that a special session of Congress will be called for November 17th. During the next fortnight the last of the Congressmen will be re- turning from Europe and the measure providing for emergency aid must be prepared. To the peoples of Europe this situation, in which their fate is decided in the United States, has become so familiar that a body of experience has grown up, and there is a strong feeling that once again events are-moving in the right direction. But nothing is certain and there is still a big chance of failure or of damaging delay. At the next stage the members of Congress will be trying to sound the feeling of the American people as a whole, and they will un- doubtedly find large bodies of opinion hostile to any assistance to Europe, or doubtful whether first-aid to the tune of $500,000,000 this year is either necessary or prudent, or troubled by the plain fact that further exports unaccompanied by official controls on home consump- tion will normally increase the pressure of inflation. The last factor is undoubtedly the most important, and President Truman had no option but to couple the need for control of prices with the decision on aid to Europe when he called for a special session. The fact is that the United States, at a much higher level of production, is faced with the same difficulty as the United Kingdom—that of reducing claims to the level of available resources. The pressure of inflation will not be reduced until Americans decide either to refuse aid to the rest of the world or to limit their own consumption.