- The Washington Times - Monday, May 28, 2007

Mules and money

Greece after World War II was among the most shattered nations in Europe, but the Marshall Plan saved the nation from total collapse, U.S. Ambassador Charles P. Ries said in Athens as the United States and Europe prepared to mark the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan next week.

“Marshall Plan money came to Greece at the right time and, through our bilateral cooperation, to the right places,” he said in an article written for the Athens News.

Mr. Ries said Greece received more money per capita than any other nation, and the aid was not just cash.

“Most of it went to agricultural assistance, everything from importing 20,000 mules, 960,000 pruning shears and processing equipment to lessons in packaging and marketing,” Mr. Ries said.

The plan, conceived by Secretary of State George C. Marshall Jr., distributed $12.7 billion throughout 16 European nations and laid the foundation for both the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the ambassador said.

He noted that the aid would be equal to $107 billion in today’s money. Greece received $1.2 billion, which would be about $10 billion in 2007 dollars.

“We should remember that the Greece of 1947 was a very different one from the Greece of today,” Mr. Ries wrote.

“The major ports were barely functioning, and there were few ships in service, only about 20 percent of the railway network was operational, the main roads had been destroyed, communications systems were down, over a thousand villages had been burned, 85 percent of children were tubercular, [gross domestic product] was 41 percent of prewar GDP, and industrial production was about 30 percent of prewar levels.”

Gen. Marshall, who served as Army chief of staff during the war, was secretary of state from 1947 to 1949. He announced the plan, formally called the European Economic Recovery Program, on June 4, 1947.

The United States invited 22 European nations to participate, but the Soviet Union pressured the countries it occupied into declining the invitation.

India deal

The top U.S. negotiator on the nuclear energy deal with India is due to arrive for talks in New Delhi on Thursday, according to the U.S. Embassy in India.

Nicolas Burns is scheduled to arrive in India on May 31” to meet with Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, an embassy source told Agence France-Presse.

Mr. Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, has said the countries have agreed on 90 percent of the language of the proposal to allow the United States to lift three decades of sanctions and sell India civilian nuclear technology. India, which tested nuclear weapons in 1998, has declined to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The main remaining issue is India’s insistence that the United States continue to sell it civilian technology even if it conducts further nuclear weapons tests, the news agency said.

President Bush is expected to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations next month in Germany.

New envoys

President Bush has nominated veteran diplomats to serve as ambassadors to Pakistan and Vietnam.

He chose Anne Patterson, the former ambassador to Colombia and deputy ambassador to the United Nations, to replace Ryan Crocker in Pakistan. Mr. Crocker is now ambassador to Iraq.

Mr. Bush selected Michael Michalak to serve in Hanoi. Mr. Michalak, a 32-year veteran of the Foreign Service, speaks Chinese, French and Japanese and has served as the envoy to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum since August 2005.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected] washingtontimes.com.

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