FEBRUARY 4, 1952
PARIS, Sunday—Over here there has been a great deal of talk about the coming Soviet world economic conference, which is scheduled to meet in Moscow next April. They are seeking cooperation from non-Communist businessmen and economists in many countries.
Not having been home for some time, I do not know how much is being done there or whether American businessmen would wish to do anything. Here in France I have heard it said that inducements are being held out to businessmen and that Soviet representatives are saying they want to advance the cause of peace by encouraging foreign trade. They feel that, through greater trade opportunities, many of the economic problems of this part of the world, as well as of the eastern part of Europe, can be solved.
All this is proof, of course, that they themselves are having a hard time and that they feel the need of wider markets from which to buy and to sell. But back of it all may lie the hope that through economic advantages which they can offer European countries they may be able to undermine some of the influence of the United States. Of course, those who go to Moscow will only see what the Russians wish to show them. But even some French people are worried for fear that businessmen in the various countries may be taken in and think there is more to be gained by close affiliation with Moscow than in all probability can be achieved. I cannot believe that the Soviets can offer much in the way of trade, since they find it hard to produce for themselves.
The conference might lead to certain difficulties among the allies, however, and that would be quite in line with Russia's usual efforts. Day by day, as far as I can see, Russia concentrates on confusing people. Now and then they do so by deliberate misinterpretation of what people have said. For a minute one thinks they have not really clearly understood, but one soon learns that they understand very well and are just trying to gum up the works by appearing not to understand.
At a recent committee meeting, for example, the Soviet and Arab groups carried out as neat a job of filibustering as I have ever seen. The only point to the whole thing was delay, because in the end nothing else could be gained by it. All it did do was to drive our chairman to suspend the meeting before the vote was finished.