Marshall Plan, U. S. relief programme aiming at reconstruction in the western parts of post-World-War II Europe; named after the U. S. Secretary of State, George Marshall, who initiated the plan and consequently was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. Within the framework of the European Recovery Programme (ERP) the USA gave money and material assets to war-torn European countries, which had to deposit counterpart funds in a special account. The agreement between Austria and the United States was signed on July 2, 1948. As a country in considerable need, Austria was granted free ERP-aid in the form of commodity shipments which had to be sold at prices then current in the country. In return for US help the European states were to stabilize their currencies and balance their budgets. The aid shipments sent to Austria until the end of 1953 were worth 1 billion dollars. On July 12, 1962 Austria was granted free access to the money it had deposited in the counterpart account. A private ERP Fund was set up (under a law passed in 1962) which has since then decided about the allocation and use of the money.