Why Stalin Rejected Marshall Aid

An Insider's Statement

   

In a recent interview Vladimir Yerofeyev, who served in the Soviet Foreign Ministry after the war, described Russia's reaction to the Marshall Plan:

   

  

"Of course it was taken very seriously.   I should say that there were conflicting feelings.   On the one hand, there was a willingness to agree to discuss the question; that was Molotov's stance.   He even wrote a note to the Central Committee arguing that it was necessary to start negotiations; he understood that the Soviet Union needed help.   In his reply he noted that reconstruction was everyone's main aim, and the United States's offer of help should be welcomed.   His reaction to the Marshall Plan was positive.

 

"Stalin, with his suspicious nature, didn't like it: 'This is a ploy by Truman.   It is nothing like Lend-Lease - a different situation.   They don't want to help us.   What they want is to infiltrate European countries.'

 

"But Molotov insisted on his view, and Stalin said, go.   So Molotov went to the Paris conference.   He listened to all the proposals.   He understood that it was not simple; the aid had strings attached.

 

"Stalin, meanwhile, received information that the Americans did not want us to take part.   The Americans indicated that nobody was to be afraid to contact them.   Stalin became even more suspicious and moved to stop the countries friendly to us taking part.   Yugoslavia and Poland agreed. Finland too.   Finland had not signed a peace treaty and didn't want to risk jeopardizing that, so it pulled back from taking part - very sharply.

 

"The Czechs undertook to take part in the conference, so Stalin summoned Gottwald and Masaryk, the foreign minister, to Moscow.   Very severe pressure was put on them: if by 4 AM on the twelfth - the day the conference started - they had gone there, they would face the consequences.

 

"They understood what it meant.   So at the last moment they were prevented.   Nine countries refused to take part in the conference.   Sixteen agreed.   The Soviet Union and the socialist-oriented countries stayed away. S  o did Finland. ..

 

"The US never really wanted the Soviet Union and its satellites to benefit from Marshall aid.   They made no further effort to persuade them to take part."