In the small Galerie de la Paix at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, with 16 flags flapping from the parapets outside, the 16 Marshall Plan nations last week signed the "Convention for European Economic Cooperation." The central office of OEEC—to be established in Paris—would work on such cooperative procedures as lowering customs barriers, stabilizing currencies, allocating labor forces and raw materials.

The signing marked a recognition by Western Europe that, outside the Soviet periphery, the U.S. would help those nations that helped themselves and each other.

It was an important milestone of postwar history, but the proceedings were cut & dried,...

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