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Imperialists Step Up War Drive

Urge Military Bloc as Part of Marshall Plan

(2 February 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. XII No. 5, 2 February 1948, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Leading imperialist spokesmen in Washington and London have bluntly proposed that the Marshall Plan be used to power an economic and military bloc of Western European capitalist countries against the Soviet Union. They are speedily discarding’ any pretense that the Marshall Plan is simply a humanitarian program of “relief and rehabilitation.”

At Senate hearings last week, Bernard Baruch and John Foster Dulles, chief Wall Street advisers to the Democratic and Republican parties respectively, demanded, in effect, that an economic and military alliance of anti-Soviet governments m Europe be made an integral part of Marshall Plan aid.

British imperialist spokesmen promptly responded. Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin blasted unrestrainedly at “communism” and called for a “western union” of England. France, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. This would be the “nucleus” for an eventual bloc of all capitalist regimes in Western Europe, including their “dominions and colonies.”

Tory Churchill, original author of the scheme, hailed Laborite Kevin’s words in a speech that bristled with incitement to war.

The day after Bevin spoke, the U.S. State Department issued a public statement approving his statement of British foreign policy.

This is but the latest of the belligerent actions marking the progressively hotter stages of the “cold war” launched by the Truman Doctrine last March. On every front – propagandistic, economic, diplomatic and military – American imperialism is stepping up its ominous drive toward an atomic war of global conquest.

Simultaneous with the call for a U.S.-dominated Western Bloc financed by the Marshall Plan, the Truman Administration intensified its propaganda attacks on the Soviet Union. It found potent ammunition, in Stalin’s crimes – particularly his alliance with Hitler. The U.S. State Department published captured Nazi, documents revealing damaging details of this alliance.

War talk is being accompanied by war-like actions – direct military measures in Greece and the whole Mediterranean area. In the Balkan peninsula, American arms and military direction are playing the major role in the Greek civil war. American troops, battle-equipped, are in the vicinity prepared to do the fighting too.

The pronouncements of Baruch and Dulles before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the Marshall Plan carry a semi-official weight. Baruch, White House intimate and adviser during two wars, told the Senate hearings on Jan. 19 that the countries of Europe, “as many as are willing”, should “band themselves into a political, economic and defense union;” and that “the United States, and such others as will join us, mutually guarantee the nations entering this union against aggression.”

He added with significant emphasis: “By guarantee, I mean a firm promise to go to war in joint defense if any of them are attacked.”

Dulles, Republican foreign policy adviser and participant in seven post-war international conferences, addressed the Senate hearing a day after Baruch. He stated that a condition for effectuating the Marshall Plan program is establishment or “sufficient political unity so that these states (in Western Europe) will present a solid front to any aggressor.”

This “political unity,” he said, should have the form of a “regional defense pact” like that fashioned by U.S. imperialism at the inter-American conference in Rio de Janeiro. The “degree of aid”’ any country would get from the Marshall Plan “should be measured by the degree of cooperation” it gives to the U.S. and its western war bloc.

Just two days later, British Foreign Secretary Bevin proclaimed that the British and French governments had already set into motion plans for a bloc of England, France and the so-called Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg). “I believe the time is ripe for a consolidation of Western Europe,” he said.

U.S. “Misrepresented”

He admitted that “the European Recovery Program (Marshall Plan) brought all this to a head.” He issued fulsome praise for U.S. imperialism, which is supplying the cash to bolster British capitalism. He complained that this wealthy “benefactor” is “misrepresented in propaganda as a sort of Shylock of Wall Street.”

Churchill, whom British labor kicked out of the government during the -war, rose from his seat In the House of Commons to boast that his Laborite opponent had adopted the program he himself had first proclaimed in Fulton, Missouri, two years ago. He reminded his hearers that two years ago he said “possession of the atom bomb would give three or four years’ breathing space.” But “more than two of those years have already gone.”

On the very day of Churchill’s speech, the U.S. State Department issued a virtually unprecedented endorsement of British foreign policy: “Mr. Bevin has proposed measures which will enable the free countries of Europe further to concert with one another for their common safety and good ... the United States heartily welcomes European initiative in this respect.”

Meanwhile, the United States is maintaining a fully-manned Naval task force in the Eastern Mediterranean. An additional 1,000 battle-equipped Marines have been dispatched to Greek waters. The latest belligerent announcement is that the U.S. is reopening its wartime airfield at Mellaha, Libya – within a 900-mile striking distance of the capitals of Italy, Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece. Britain has reinforced its strategic base at Crete with 70,000 troops.

Step by step we are being dragged toward the precipice of war.

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