First Aid for Europe
It will be many months before Europe can take its eyes off the American political scene. The General Report of the Committee of European Co-operation, drawn up in Paris under such terrific pres- sure, has been split up for consideration by a whole complex of committees under the direction of the State Department, and a process of administrative and political sifting has begun which can hardly end before April, 1948. The executive committee of the Paris Conference will go to Washington to assist in the process, which is likely to become rougher rather than smoother. It will not take
long, in a country living in fear of inflation and possessing few financial controls, for a proposal for increased exports to become highly unpopular. Nor will President Truman's appeals for more " selective consumption " and more consumer resistance to high prices do much to stem the tide. But for the time being attention has shifted from the larger issues of the Marshall Plan to the pro- posal for independent temporary aid to Austria, France and Italy, whose resources of food and fuel, it is said, can only last for another two months. Since President Truman has already decided that $580,000,000 must be provided to keep these countries going from December 1st to the time when the Marshall Plan comes into opera- tion, the next step lies with the four Committees of Congress whose consent is necessary before this sum can even be formally asked for. If they agree, and they can hardly do it until late in November, a special session of Congress will have to be called and allowed due time to argue the matter. To the countries of Europe it may seem that the line of constitutional formalities stretches out to the crack of doom. Most of all will it seem so to Great Britain, which will get no help at all this winter, and whose share under the Marshall Plan itself will consist to a great extent of a chance of being repaid in dollars in return for a certainty of having to provide aid in goods for the even more indigent countries of Continental Europe.