The Marshall Plan—formally known as the European Recovery Programme—was announced by the US Secretary of State George C. Marshall on 5 June 1947. Sixteen European states—Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom—became the beneficiaries of American grants. Although the sixteen nations (plus the German Federal Republic represented by the occupying powers) initially requested a total of $29 billion to cover each country's deficit over the period 1948–52, only $12.5 billion was actually delivered. Marshall Aid was phased out in mid‐1951 and was replaced by Mutual Security Assistance which extended substantial military aid to Western Europe. Although the Marshall Plan has been dubbed the ‘most selfless act in history’, it was introduced not only to safeguard America's strategic political and military interests in Western Europe but also to take account of the need of the US to maintain its colossal export surplus in the face of a predicted domestic recession.
http://www.oecd.org/document/10/0,2340,en_2649_201185_1876938_1_1_1_1,00.html Text of Marshall's speech initiating the Marshall Plan.