March 8, 1947 – The Big Four Conference – On The List Of High Expectations
March 8, 1947 – a day loaded with expectations. It was the opening of the Big Four Conference in Moscow; a conference that had a lot riding on it. People in the streets of the Russian capital were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the delegations and it was a festive atmosphere, at least until everyone got down to business. And the first order of business was of peace treaties for Germany and Austria; treaties where a considerable amount of debate was anticipated. But the other matters of business were going to be influenced by developments elsewhere in the world. The American attitude on Greece, the discussions on Atomic Energy and the Palestine question were all vying for immediate response. How all of this was going to pan out, what we the public were going to hear about was a matter of what the Russians were going to release. And Secretary Molotov assured everyone there would be no censorship of upcoming events. Fingers crossed/wait-and-see.
Meanwhile, there was other news. The situation in Greece was forcing President Truman to forego a 16-day visit to the Caribbean in order to deal with the situation. He needed to figure out how to present the crisis to Congress and the American people over why we were getting ourselves deeper involved in the International mess. The Greek matter was being made more complicated by news that Britain was pulling out the small amount of aid it was giving, leaving Greece to pretty much fend for itself. The facts the State Department laid out to President Truman were these: War devastated Greece was hungry. The value of Greek paper money was sinking fast. The Black Market was flourishing and British credit was running out. Greece had no way of getting Dollars. The Greek right-wing government was losing confidence of a people who were losing hope. It was suggested the Communist influence would be growing very soon, particularly when the British moved out – laying a direct line to Moscow for aid and, obviously, influence. Washington was talking about a $250 million credit immediately – half in arms for the Greek Army and the other half in food and raw materials. And over a 5 year period another $100 million to put Greece back on her feet and keep her on this side of the iron curtain.
So while expectations were high in Moscow, reality was being played out elsewhere in the world – and a lot was going on, this March 8, 1947, as presented by The NBC World News Roundup.