Just over 25 years ago, on the 5th June 1947, Secretary of State George C Marshall made a speech at Harvard initiating the plan for European recovery which was to bear his name. Its characteristic feature, and perhaps the key to its eventual success, was the active participation of the beneficiary countries: General Marshall's intention was that these should prepare and implement their own programmes for the use of the aid to be provided. However it became apparent that if full benefit was to be derived from the American funds then some kind of international body would be required to supervise their distribution and coordinate the national programmes, so in the following year there was established to this end the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation, with headquarters in Paris.
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