Geithner said major economies such as Germany need to provide more clarity about their proposals to tighten Europe's financial integration, strengthen rescue funds for the most troubled nations and boost growth.
"They have a big incentive to add as much clarity to those plans as early as they can," Geithner said during an appearance before the Council on Foreign Relations.
"They can help with confidence to have the major players in Europe state what their intentions are even if it is going to take a little time to negotiate the details," Geithner said.
Uncertainty about Europe's crisis has been weighing on global financial markets. Investors are nervous about whether Greece will be forced to leave the alliance of 17 nations that use the euro and whether other troubled nations might follow.
Geithner said he expected European leaders would be providing more details at next week's summit of the Group of 20 nations in Mexico and then in the period before a European summit scheduled for the end of this month.
President Barack Obama and Geithner will be representing the United States at the G-20 meeting Monday and Tuesday in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Asked what the risks were if Europe's latest plan to deal with the crisis disappointments financial markets, Geithner said, "I think the stakes are very high for them and for the rest of us."
Geithner said he was hopeful for success given his recent conversations with European officials dealing with the crisis.
"Based on what they say to us directly, they are serious about it and they intend to move," Geithner said. "They are not minimizing the risks and they are not telling us that the feel they have a whole bunch of time. ... That is encouraging."Suggest a correction