Origins of the OECD
The roots of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) go back to the rubble of Europe after World War II. Determined to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors in the wake of World War I, European leaders realized that the best way to ensure lasting peace was to encourage co-operation and reconstruction, rather than punish the defeated.
The Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was established in April 1948 to administer the U.S. financed Marshall Plan for reconstruction of a continent ravaged by war. George C. Marshall, then U.S. Secretary of State, made a speech at Harvard University on 5 June 1947, which initiated the post-war European Aid Program commonly known as the Marshall Plan.
Thus, the mandate of the OEEC was to continue work on a joint recovery program and in particular to supervise the distribution of aid. The headquarters was located at the Château de la Muette in Paris, France. By helping individual governments to recognize the interdependence of their economies, it paved the way for a new era of co-operation that was to change the face of Europe. Encouraged by its success and the prospect of carrying its work forward on a global stage, Canada and the U.S. joined OEEC members in signing the new OECD Convention on 14 December 1960, which took place at the Salon de l'Horloge, Quai d’Orsay (the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development was officially born on 30 September 1961, when the Convention entered into force, and Thorkil Khristensen of Denmark was appointed as the first OECD Secretary-General.