The committees to study Europe's needs and resources under the "Marshall approach" got down to work this week in the Grand Palais, one of the few really ugly buildings in the center of Paris. They shared the vast, rambling premises with an international exhibition on town planning and an exhibition on popular science. Despite border guards, town planners and scientists now & then strayed into the domains of the diplomats. Guillaume Schneiter, a frail sexagenarian who described himself as a professional inventor, was one of the trespassers. Hugging a pile of documents, he appeared in the delegates' improvised bar (already known as Le Bar Marshall) and related:
"I have discovered a process whereby coal production in any mine can be increased by 250% in three months. I took it to the science exhibition upstairs, but they don't want it. Then on my way out I reflected that this process would be more useful to the Marshall plan."
A, B, C, D & the Ruhr. M. Schneiter had a point. Coal was the central issue at Paris. And coal meant the Ruhr and Germany. Without Ruhr coal, and without the German industrial output which depends on Ruhr coal, the rest of Europe cannot recover. A Swiss delegate explained it this way: "We have found that Country A needs something which Country B can provide, on condition Country B can get something from Country C, which the latter can provide if she can get something from Country D; and Country D can provide that somethingon condition she gets something which only Germany, and the Ruhr in particular, can produce. Whatever article we take, we finish up against a blank wallGermany. It is the fact that Germany is not there which paralyzes our calculations."
To help remedy that paralysis, the U.S. last week issued a new directive to Germany's occupation chief, General Lucius D. Clay, superseding Joint Chiefs of Staff Directive 1067 (which had directed the U.S. commander to take "no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany . . ."). The new directive said: "An orderly, prosperous Europe requires the economic contributions of a stable and productive Germany." The U.S. suggested that the permissible level of industry in Western Germany be raised by boosting steel production from 5.8 to 12 million tons a year.
Let Mothers Tremble! When they heard that, the French promptly raised the roof, almost threatened to sabotage the Paris conference. The Communists, who know that French fear of Germany could wreck the conference, hastened to aggravate these fears; L'Humanité cried: "Let French Mothers Again Tremble!"
No one blamed the French for fearing and distrusting Germany. But the French would have to learn that they had less to fear from a producing Germany than from a supine Germany which would cause the rest of Europe to slide into economic chaos, Communism and war.
The British made some difficulties too. They did not like a quiet U.S. suggestion that their plans to socialize Ruhr mines be postponed to permit immediate maximum production of coal. This week, the New York Times, in an editorial called "Production Comes First," crisply described some obstacles: