July 1, 2017

1949. American Officials Promote the Marshall Plan

"Spirit of Confidence" in Europe
Construction in West Berlin under the Marshall Plan, 1949 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

August 22, 1949

ECA Chief Paul Hoffman is in Frankfurt today conferring with High Commissioner John McCloy and British and French authorities. An hour ago he told reporters that he is highly impressed by the new spirit of confidence and hope throughout Europe now on its road to recovery.

Hoffman said the purpose of his present two-week tour is to have a look at European recovery over the past few months, and he emphasized that Germany must play a large part in the program to get the democracies back on their feet.

"ERP can do a lot for Germany," he declared, "and Germany can do a lot for ERP."

The task of the new Federal Republic now in formation is threefold, according to Hoffman. First, the Germans must use their land to the fullest extent to raise necessary foodstuffs. This would include the planting of home vegetable gardens, the use of new farming methods, and other improvements of the agriculture industry.

Second, Germany must increase her industrial efficiency. Under the Nazis, he said, German industrial competency had been bypassed by the rest of the world because of her cartels. Hoffman said this new efficiency could be achieved without nationalization or socialization.

The new German government must also get its financial house in order, Hoffman said, and warned against the high overhead cost of a large bureaucracy in the republic.

"Germany must play a role as a partner in the ECA by minimizing trade barriers and reviving her commerce with Western Europe."

Among the things that the Marshall Plan can do for Germany, Hoffman listed technical assistance and research in all phases of the country's industrial life. There will be dollar aid to rebuild Germany's basic industries, and the ECA will make available counterpart funds for reinvestment in the nation's economy.

The question of allowing foreign investment in this country must await the development of the new German state. If the government proves stable, then foreign investment will follow native investment—but not until.

On the problem of dismantling German industries, Hoffman declared that only eight plants are now in dispute. "The German people should get to work in the plants they have left, which are plenty to produce enough to bring about German recovery." He said he regarded the dismantling question as "buried."

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.