Part III - Rebuilding Europe
Hoover received a second assignment in the early days of 1947. At Truman's request,
he traveled to Germany and Austria to determine why it was costing the United
States and its allies more than half a billion dollars annually to support former
enemies nearly two years after the end of the war. Hoover returned with criticisms
and suggestions on how to bring Germany and Austria to self-sufficiency.
he returned to Capitol Hill to work for an aid package that included tight controls
on use of that aid. This concern for controls put Hoover at odds with Truman
who proposed an aid program with only limited restrictions. Both Europe and
the Far East needed food badly and Hoover was in favor of providing it. But
the former president contended that the United States must protect itself against
unscrupulous officials in other countries who would misuse U.S. assistance for
personal gain. Hoover was tireless in this campaign, lobbying both the president
and the Congress throughout the Spring of 1947.
of the Marshall Plan in late spring changed the debate, but Hoover continued
to lobby for controls. He never wavered in his overall support for the aid bill.
Secretary of State George C. Marshall and Truman were grateful for this support
even if it came laced with revisions.
53. TRUMAN TO HOOVER, JANUARY
new year brought another call for Herbert Hoover to undertake public service.
Hoover remembered in An American Epic that he received a call on January
7, 1947 from Robert Patterson, Truman's secretary of war. Patterson asked Hoover
to go to Germany and Austria where a food crisis was emerging. Hoover declined
at first, telling Patterson the data required to make recommendations could
be acquired without another exhausting overseas trip.
also suggested that the report and recommendations not be confined to food,
but that it also address wider issues of Allied economic and political policies
in the American, French, and British zones of occupied Germany. Finally, he
added a caveat: He would take on the job only at the president's request and
with the understanding that he would have the cooperation of all government
heard nothing for more than a week and he confided to
his friend Rickard that he did not believe that Truman
would agree to make these changes. The delay was caused
in part because Patterson did not contact the president
until the sixteenth. Once he received Patterson's request,
Truman responded immediately. In a letter from the White
House dated January 18, Truman, asked Hoover to undertake
an "economic mission as to food and its collateral
problems" in the British and American zones of
Germany. It was not quite the broad mandate that Hoover
was seeking but enough to continue the dialogue between
the two men.
January 18, 1947
Dear Mr. President:
Last year you made
a trip around the world at my request to report on food needs at a time of critical
shortage. The result was most helpful in meeting the acute problems which confronted
this year are not nearly as threatening, but a serious situation in food still
exists in certain areas, particularly those in Europe occupied by our forces
and for which we, therefore, have a direct responsibility. I believe a food
survey by you of these areas would be of great benefit to us in determining
our policy in supplying food or funds for its purchase. The recent merger of
the United States Zone in Germany with the British Zone for economic purposes
makes the food conditions in the British Zone also of interest to us.
I should, therefore, like to ask you to undertake this economic mission as to
food and its collateral problems, and report to me upon it. It is hoped that
methods can be devised which will release some of the burdens on the American
/s/HARRY S. TRUMAN
HOOVER TO TRUMAN, JANUARY 19, 1947
immediately accepted the assignment. But in response,
the former president reiterated his suggestion that
the mission be broadened to include an investigation
of long-range needs of Germany and Austria and the possibility
of these countries becoming self-sufficient. To secure
the president's agreement, Hoover arranged for a White
House meeting. (This document is from the holdings of
the Harry S. Truman Library.)
Waldorf Astoria Towers
New York, New York
January 19, 1947
My dear Mr. President:
I have your letter
of yesterday. I, of course, wish to be of service.
I feel, however,
that such a mission, to be of real value and helpful to you and the country,
should be somewhat broadened out. It will come as a great shock to our people
that the American taxpayer for a second year must expend huge sums to provide
food for the enemy peoples. Therefore, it seems to me that this mission to accomplish
its purpose must also include inquiry into what further immediate steps are
possible to increase their exports and thus their ability to become self-supporting;
what possibilities there are of payment otherwise; and when charity can be expected
to end. Without some such inclusive report, the Congress and the taxpayer are
left without hope.
I trust this suggestion
will meet with your approval. I will call Mr. Ross tomorrow and ask for an appointment
at your convenience, preferably on Wednesday, in order to discuss the matter.
55. HOOVER NOTES OF A MEETING
WITH TRUMAN, JANUARY 22, 1947
meeting with Truman was a reiteration of the recent
correspondence between the two men. Hoover agreed to
go to Germany and the two agreed on a mission statement
that repeated almost word-for-word the mandate in Truman's
letter of January 18.
my interview with President Truman this morning, January
22, 1947, I agreed to make a journey to Germany and
arrived at the following formula in description of the
mission. I wrote it out on the President's desk and
wrote him a copy which he has retained:
directed to food and its collateral problems. It is hoped that methods can be
devised which will relieve some of the burden on the American taxpayer.
HOOVER STATEMENT, JANUARY 22, 1947
released a statement after the meeting. Although he
remained faithful to the agreed-upon goals as noted
in his first paragraph, he also expanded the statement
by defining his mission as a "long-range study."
Mr. Truman has
asked me to go to Germany and way-stations on an economic
mission directed to food and its collateral problems.
It is hoped that methods can be devised which will relieve
some of the burden on American taxpayers.
The ability of
the Germans to feed themselves and restore their productivity is probably two
or three years away so my mission is not so much a question of determining their
needs for the next two or three months as it is a long-range study.
HOOVER TO TRUMAN, FEBRUARY 26, 1947
and associates left for Germany on February 2 intent on learning "what
was causing Germany's $600 million annual cost to American and British tax-payers."
His approach to the problem was much the same as the one he had used all of
his life -- analyze the problem, assign critical subjects and tasks to subordinates,
and keep the mission in view. It took a great deal of time and many non-stop
meetings because Hoover was forced to consult with the endless bureaucracy of
Hoover returned to New York
on February 23 and contacted the White House that night
to set up a meeting. He devoted the next two days to
revising and printing the first of three reports on
Germany and Austria. Eager to meet with the president,
Hoover transmitted a galley proof of the first report
to Truman through the president's press secretary on
February 25. He completed the final version on February
26, discussed it with Truman on the twenty-seventh,
and released it to the press on the twenty-eighth. (The
complete report is in Addresses Upon the American
Road, 1945-1948 [New York, 1949], pp. 269-285.)
Dear Mr. President:
I have now completed
the Economic Mission to Germany and Austria, which I undertook at your request.
I enclose herewith
a memorandum on the economic conditions affecting food supplies for the newly
combined American and British Zones, together with estimates of supplies and
costs involved in deficiency appropriations for the last half of the fiscal
year 1946-1947 and appropriations for the fiscal year 1947-1948. I shall submit
detailed annexes to this memorandum as soon as they are completed.
I shall report
separately on Austria, and at a later date I shall have some further report
on other economic and health problems in these areas.
In this examination
of food questions in the combined zones, I have had the invaluable service of
Dr. Dennis A. FitzGerald in food questions and that of Dr. Wm. H. Sebrell, Jr.
in nutritional and health questions, together with the able assistance in other
economic question of Mr. Hugh Gibson, Mr. Louis Lochner, Mr. Frank Mason, and
Dr. Gustav Stolper. I have received the full cooperation of Generals McNarney,
Clay and Draper, Colonel Hester and their able staff, as well as General Robertson,
Sir Cecil Weir and Mr. T.F. Griffin and their able staff on the British side.
My thanks are also
due to the devoted service of Mr. Tracy S. Voorhees, Special Assistant to the Secretary of War, and to the Air Transport
Command for their cooperation and skill.
German Agriculture and Food Requirements
. . . It may come
as a great shock to American taxpayers that, having won the war over Germany,
we are now faced for some years with large expenditures for relief for these
people. Indeed, it is something new in human history for the conqueror to undertake.
Whatever the policies
might have been that would have avoided this expense, we now are faced with
it. And we are faced with it until the export industries of Germany can be sufficiently
revived to pay for their food. The first necessity for such a revival is sufficient
food upon which to maintain vitality to work.
from any humanitarian feelings for this mass of people, if we want peace; if
we want to preserve the safety and health of our Army of Occupation; if we want
to save the expense of even larger military forces to preserve order; if we
want to reduce the size and expense of our Army of Occupation -- I can see no
other course but to meet the burdens I have here outlined.
is to establish such a regime in Germany as will prevent forever again the rise
of militarism and aggression within these people. But those who believe in vengeance
and the punishment of a great mass of Germans not concerned in the Nazi conspiracy
can now have no misgivings for all of them -- in food, warmth and shelter --
have been sunk to the lowest level known in a hundred years of Western history.
If Western Civilization
is to survive in Europe, it must also survive in Germany. And it must be built
into a cooperative member of that civilization. That indeed is the hope of any
After all, our
flag flies over these people. That flag means something besides military power.
TRUMAN STATEMENT, FEBRUARY 28, 1947
day following his meeting with Hoover, Truman released
a statement noting the "tragic conditions of hunger"
discovered by the former president on his mission. Truman
also praised the American people for all that they had
done for famine relief in the previous year and called
on them to continue their efforts.
(The complete statement is in The Public Papers of
the Presidents: Harry S. Truman, 1947 [Washington,
D.C., 1962], pp.159-161.)
. . Mr. Hoover's survey of conditions in the countries
he has just visited, as well as many reports which have
come to me, reveal the tragic conditions of hunger under
which many millions of people all over the world are
still living. Even after the last of the grain we originally
promised for this year has left our shores, millions
will still be weakened and wasted by hunger. The next
few months before the new harvests are gathered in Europe
and in other countries to which a part of our exports
are going, will be most critical ones . . .
I know that it
is a source of gratification to the people of our country, as it is to me, that
we have been able to supply needed food to many of our wartime allies, and that
at the same time we have been able to make substantial shipments to Italy, Switzerland,
Austria, Eire, Finland, and other countries whose needs have also been great.
I am sure that
I express the opinion of all Americans in pledging that we will continue the
policy of sharing out of our abundance with those in dire need. Every additional
pound of grain we can export is a contribution to human welfare, to reconstruction,
and to world peace.
RICKARD DIARY, MARCH 1, 1947
he met with Truman on the twenty-seventh, Hoover devoted the next day and a
half to nonstop meetings with cabinet officials and members of Congress. On
the afternoon of the twenty-seventh, for example, Hoover briefed Marshall and
Patterson. That evening he had dinner with Senators Styles Bridges, Daniel Brewster,
John Bricker and Robert Taft. The next day he had breakfast with seven members
of the House and two more senators. At 10:30 he testified before the House Foreign
Affairs Committee; he then had lunch with no less than 25 congressmen. The day
ended with a small dinner with five more House members.
returned to New York on the twenty-eighth, apparently
pleased with the results, or so he implied to Rickard
the next day. But one round of meetings would not be
enough to ensure the establishment of the food program
and Hoover knew it.
Saturday, March 1 
H.H. back from
Washington and apparently pleased with results. He had two hours with Sec'y
Marshall and suggested that on eve of his departure for Moscow he issue statement
indicating that he has little hope for any real results; this will pave the
way to prepare public for possible failure of conference. He had a good talk
with Truman and suggested that if a bill authorizing relief is passed by Congress
he ask Hallam Tuck to take full charge of operations. Truman took down Tuck's
name. He [Hoover] appeared before House Committee on Foreign Affairs and backed
Truman's appeal for 350 million, with definite restrictions as to distribution
and not charity. He says [David] Lilienthal should not be appointed, and surprised
that Lewis Strauss, also nominated for Atomic Commission favors Lilienthal;
says that volume of propaganda for Lilienthal is very great. Truman has advised
[Albert] Hawkes, Senator from New Jersey, that he will sign bill to revert to
name of Hoover Dam, and rumor that if [Julius] Krug, Sec'y of Interior, approves,
he may ask for special resolution.
HOOVER REPORT, MARCH 8, 1947
his whirlwind trip on February 27-28, Hoover returned to New York to work on
his second report: on food requirements for Austria. On March 7, as he was revising
the final text and reviewing the galley proof of this report, he arranged an
appointment with Truman on the twelfth.
transmitted his report on Austria to the president through
Ross on March 8. Dated March 11, this second report
was not as long or detailed as the first, but it was
no less compelling. (The complete report is in Addresses
Upon the American Road, 1945-1948 [New York, 1949],
On Austrian Agriculture and Food Requirements -- Economic Reorganization
. . . The Allies,
in the Moscow Declaration of November 1, 1943,
declared the annexation of Austria "null and void," "shall be
liberated from German domination," "reestablished free and independent"
Thus classed as a "liberated state," it has been presumed that Austria
will be free of reparations.
It can be said at once, however, that if the requisitioned assets are to be
removed or operated for other than Austrian economy or by other than the Austrians
themselves, there can be little hope that Austria can recover self-support for
many, many years.
On the other hand,
if Austria's land and industrial equipment were entirely freed by a peace treaty
and the burden of foreign armies removed, we might reasonably expect her to
begin to contribute to the cost of food imports by the latter part of 1948 and
to become self-supporting in two or three years thereafter. Otherwise she is
likely again to be the poorhouse of Europe for years to come and her people
constantly be dependent for life upon foreign aid.
The Austrian people
are making a brave fight to reestablish the principles of Western Civilization.
Their officials are able and effective. They should enlist our sympathy, our
support and all the influence we can summon in her reconstruction.
TRUMAN TO HOOVER, MARCH 11, 1947
read the report on Austria on the evening of March 10
and made a point of writing to Hoover the next day.
The president could have saved his words of praise for
his meeting with Hoover on the twelfth. He chose, instead,
to put his feelings on paper.
March 11, 1947
Dear Mr. President:
Charlie Ross handed
me your report on Austria, which I read with a lot of interest last night.
I want to express
to you again my very high appreciation for your willingness to undertake these
two surveys for the Secretary of War and me. You have made a very decided contribution
to the situation in Germany and Austria and I am sure that it will have a bearing
on the conference in Moscow.
Please accept my
/s/HARRY S. TRUMAN
62. HOOVER TO TRUMAN, MARCH
met with Truman in the president's office on the morning of March 12 to brief
the president on the Austrian report, but Hoover used the opportunity to lobby
for tighter controls over the proposed $350 million food relief bill. He reiterated
his concerns and amendments to the bill in a letter dated the day of his White
House meeting. Hoover also sent the list of amendments to Congressman Charles
Eaton, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
an effort to gain another perspective on Hoover's ideas,
Truman forwarded the list of amendments to his aide
Charles Murphy for comment. (This document is from the
holdings of the Harry S. Truman Library.)
March 12, 1947
My dear Mr. President:
In addition to
the provisions which should be introduced into the $350,000,000 relief bill
which I suggested to you, I have one further suggestion.
I am convinced
that $350,000,000 is more than can be properly spent in 1947 and especially
so if other nations contribute. Inasmuch as the United Nations is proposing
another fund for feeding of children instead of another authorization bill and
all the worries of appropriation, I believe it would be well to introduce into
the $350,000,000 bill, something like the enclosed.
Amendments to the $350,000,000 Bill
A. That no relief
shall be extended other than with the products of the United States and their
B. That such relief
shall be limited to food, seed, fertilizers and medicine.
C. That no obligation
or promise shall be made as to a definite period of relief beyond month to month.
D. That any relief
given shall be distributed under the supervision of agents of the United States
and to their satisfaction.
E. That no relief shall be extended to any countries where food, seed, fertilizers,
or medicine are being exported or removed during the calendar year in which
relief is being extended.
F. That every country
to which relief is extended shall obligate themselves to pay therefore at some
G. That such payment
shall take precedence over any reparations.
H. That they shall
obligate themselves that should they have an exportable surplus from the 1947
or 1948 harvest, they will repay the United States by return of like amounts
of food before December 1, 1947 or December 1, 1948, to be delivered at some port
or border railway station at the option of the United States.
I. That an Administrator
of Relief should be appointed under the Secretary of Agriculture.
any other provisions, the President is authorized to transfer from this fund
an amount equal to 57% of any fund raised by the United Nations for the special
feeding of children, such allotment not to exceed $50,000,000.
HOOVER TO TRUMAN, MARCH 18, 1947
sent the third of three reports on Germany and Austria
to Truman on March 18, but did not release it until
March 24. In this final report, he argued in favor of
a new approach to the recovery of Germany, particularly
for the British and American zones. If Germany was to
recover, and Hoover believed German economic health
was vital to the recovery of Europe, the United States
needed to adopt a less punitive plan. Germany should
be allowed to rebuild plants and industries not directly
related to war. (The complete report is in Addresses
Upon the American Road, 1945-1948 [New York, 1949],
New York, New York
March 18, 1947
Dear Mr. President:
I am sending you
herewith my conclusions upon the problems of reviving German industry and thus
exports with which to relieve American and British taxpayers from their burden
in preventing starvation in Germany. These problems also involve economic stability and peace in Europe.
Whatever may have been our policies in the past, I am convinced that the time
has come to face the realities that have developed. The mission you assigned
to me would be less than performed if I did not state the stark situation and
make such recommendations as seem to me necessary.
I wish again to
express my appreciation to you for your consideration, to my colleagues Mr.
Hugh Gibson, Dr. Gustav Stolper, Dr. Dennis A. FitzGerald, Dr. William Sebrell,
Jr., and Messrs. Louis Lochner, Frank Mason and Tracy Voorhees, and to our military
and civil officials in Germany.
On the Necessary Steps for the Promotion of German
so as to Relieve American Taxpayers of the Burdens of
and for Economic Recovery of Europe.
. . . I suggest
that we adopt at once a new economic concept in peace with New Germany.
(1) We should free
German industry, subject to a control commission, which will see that she does
no evil in industry, just as we see that she does not move into militarism through
armies and navies.
between this concept and the "level of industry" concept is the saving
of several hundred millions of dollars a year to the American and British taxpayers.
It is the difference between the regeneration and a further degeneration of
(2) The removal
and destruction of plants (except direct arms plants) should stop.
(3) A further obstacle
to building Germany as an essential unit of European economy arises from the
Russian Government's acquiring a large part of the key operating industries
in their zone. Germany in peace must be free from ownership of industry by a
foreign government. Such ownership can thwart every action of control or of
up-building by joint action of other nations. German industry must be operated
by Germans if any international control
is to work, if she is to recover production and is to serve all nations equally.
(4) There can be
no separation or different regime of the Ruhr or Rhineland from the New Germany.
That is the heart of her industrial economy. Any control commission can dictate
the destination of coal or other exports from that area and even such control
would not be needed after the era of scarcity passes from Europe . . .
TRUMAN TO HOOVER, MARCH 24, 1947
responded to Hoover's third report in perfunctory fashion,
referring to it as "a most interesting document."
To be sure, he did acknowledge that Hoover had made
a "great contribution" toward reestablishing
the economic balance in Europe, but there was no serious
discussion of issues raised in the report.
March 24, 1947
Dear Mr. President:
I read with a lot
of interest your Report No. Three -- The Necessary Steps for Promotion of German
Exports and it is a most interesting document.
I do appreciate
most highly your willingness to go into this matter and I also appreciate the
thoroughness with which you have covered the ground.
I am hoping we
can work out the economic situation in Germany so as to reestablish the European
balance of trade. At Potsdam I suggested to the conference that the Rhine and
Danube should be free for the transport of merchandise to all those countries
that had riparian rights on them and I am sure that it is going to be necessary
to reestablish the economic balance in Europe before we can possibly reestablish
the political balance.
I think you have
made a great contribution toward that end.
/s/HARRY S. TRUMAN
65. CHARLES MURPHY TO TRUMAN,
MARCH 24, 1947
his meeting with Truman on March 12, Hoover suggested amendments to the famine
relief bill that he set out in a letter to the president dated that same day.
Among the amendments was one to specify support for the United Nations to assist
in the relief of children.
idea was opposed by both the White House staff and the
State Department. The State Department informed the
Foreign Affairs Committee of its objections, and the
committee rejected Hoover's proposed amendment. (This
document is from the holdings of the Harry S. Truman
March 24, 1947
TO THE PRESIDENT
From: Charles Murphy
Mr. Hoover recently
left with you a proposed amendment to the bill authorizing $350,000,000 in relief
for war devastated countries. The purpose of the amendment is to authorize the
transfer from this fund of an amount equal to 57% of any fund raised by the
United Nations for the special feeding of children, the transferred amount not
to exceed $50,000,000.
I have talked to
Mr. Tyler Wood of the State Department concerning this proposal. Mr. Wood informs
me that the United Nations is developing a special program for the feeding of
children and will use contributions from public or private sources for that
purpose. The State Department has been having informal discussions with the
Bureau of the Budget concerning a request for an appropriation to be used for
this program. The State Department has tentatively decided to submit to the
Budget a request for $40,000,000 for this purpose.
While it is in
favor of supporting the special program for the feeding of children, the State
Department feels that it would be a grave mistake to transfer a part of the
$350,000,000 to the United Nations for this purpose. The $350,000,000 is to
provide a minimum feeding program. It is the view of the State Department that
any special program for feeding children should be built on top of the minimum
feeding program rather than replacing it.
of the State Department informed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as to
their views on this subject, and consequently that Committee rejected the amendment
proposed by Mr. Hoover.
HOOVER TO TRUMAN, MARCH 29, 1947
was not discouraged by the defeat of one of his amendments.
In fact, he continued to support the passage of the
appropriation bill and at the same time continued to
push for tighter controls on how and where the $350,000,000
would be spent. Hoover also discussed his concerns with
Tyler Wood of the State Department and passed on a copy
of those concerns to the president and to the chairman
of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 29.
Waldorf Astoria Towers
New York, New York
March 29, 1947
Dear Mr. President:
You will recollect
that on two occasions I discussed with you certain safeguards which I thought
should be introduced into the $350,000,000 relief appropriation bill. Some were
adopted by the House Committee but some were not.
Tyler Wood, of the State Department, called upon me to discuss some further
possible amendments by the Committee, and today I have received his written
views. I enclose herewith a copy of his suggestions and my reply thereto.
Not In File]
PAULEY TO TRUMAN, APRIL 15, 1947
third report, the one on the economic recovery of Germany,
was controversial because it called on the Truman administration
to change its policies. At
least one former Truman aide cautioned the president
against such a change. As the former U.S. representative
on the Allied commission on Reparations, Edwin W. Pauley
was in the best position to comment on Hoover's proposals.
In a spirited rebuttal, Pauley disagreed with virtually
all of Hoover's recommendations. (This document is from
the holdings of the Harry S. Truman Library.)
My dear Mr. President:
Although I have
relinquished my responsibilities as United States Representative on the Allied
Commission on Reparations, and as your Personal Representative in reparations
matter, I consider that I have the continuing duty to report to you whenever
there are developments in this field which call for your decision. You have
said that you wanted me to accept this obligation.
The report to you
on March 18 by former President Hoover constitutes such a development, inasmuch
as it calls for a major reversal of the policy on reparations to which the United
States is now committed. In writing to you now to point out certain very grave
dangers which I believe to be inherent in certain of Mr. Hoover's proposals,
I would emphasize that I do so in full recognition of the patriotic spirit with
which the former President is serving his country, and with full respect for
his capabilities . . .
But, while I give
my support heartily to these premises of Mr. Hoover, I feel the deepest kind
of apprehension over his proposal for the revival of German heavy industry.
Mr. Hoover is an engineer. He is accustomed to thinking a project through and
calculating its probable results. Obviously, then, he has thought through his
proposal and considers it a safe one. I wish very sincerely that I might share
that feeling of safety, because Mr. Hoover's plan would offer a speedier and
much easier solution to the problem of European recovery than the course to
which we committed ourselves by the Potsdam Protocol. But, I cannot persuade
myself that the proposed plan would be safe, and I want you to have my reasons
. . .
Mr. Hoover's basic
reason, of course, is that the great need in Europe today is immediate production.
No man in possession of the facts will deny that this is true. Europe is desperately
in need of immediate production. But I still ask: Do we not need to give some
heed to how this production is accomplished? I am thinking of the sort
of things that used to happen in certain mill regions of the United States,
where the workers got food, clothing and shelter from their employers -- and
found themselves progressively mortgaged for the rest of their lives. For "recovery"
they found themselves slaves. Is there not a possible parallel here? Obviously
our hearts are deeply troubled for those in Europe who lack even the barest
essentials, and we want -- and intend -- to help them. But, I am thoroughly
convinced that the method proposed by Mr. Hoover would not only be dangerous,
but that it would not even accomplish the swift production which he envisions.
Mr. President, may I repeat that, in pointing to the dangers which I believe
to lie in the suggestion for restoration of German heavy industry, I do so with
full appreciation of the important work that is being done for you and for the
Nation by Mr. Hoover, for whom I have the highest regard.
/s/EDWIN W. PAULEY
JOHN R. STEELMAN TO TRUMAN, AFTER APRIL 17, 1947
was grateful to have Pauley's evaluation of the Hoover
plan and he said as much in his letter to Pauley on
April 27. The president passed both the Hoover report
and the Pauley letter on to his aide John R. Steelman
for his assessment. In the following memorandum, Steelman
supported Pauley without equivocation. (This document
is from the Harry S. Truman Library.)
FOR THE PRESIDENT
and Pauley Recommendations on Germany
The proposals advanced
by Mr. Hoover in his third report ("The Necessary Steps for Promotion of
German Exports, so as to Relieve American Taxpayers of the Burden of Relief
and for Economic Recovery of Europe") contemplate a fundamental reversal
of American political and economic policy in Europe and run counter to the
international commitments of this Government undertaken at Quebec, September
15, 1944, and at Potsdam in 1946 . . .
by Mr. Pauley,
in his critique of the Hoover proposals, is, I think, quite right in indicating
that their acceptance would constitute not only a complete reversal of our objectives
for which we fought the war. Yet these proposals are made by Mr. Hoover as an
incident in his analysis of the food situation and almost certainly without
adequate consideration of the high policy questions involved . . .
If it were decided
to proceed on the reparations question, it might be desirable for the President
to consider sending to western Europe a personal representative to report on
the production problems of the countries surrounding Germany and to advise on
measures to speed the recovery of Europe as a whole. There must be other approaches
to these problems than the revival of a German colossus along the lines suggested
by Mr. Hoover.
HOOVER TO ROSS, APRIL 17, 1947
continued his efforts to amend the food relief bill
throughout April. On April 16, he received an invitation
form Senator Arthur Vandenberg to testify on the bill
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the
18th. Hoover quickly agreed and then telegraphed Truman's
secretary, Charles G. Ross, to arrange an appointment
with the president. The president and the former president
met in the president's office on the morning of the
18th but neither left a memoranda of their conversation.
It is likely, however, that Hoover used the opportunity
to lobby the president once again for his amendments.
Charles G. Ross
The White House
I am coming to
Washington to appear at a Senate Hearing tomorrow. I have nothing to bother
the president about. If however he has anything he would like to take up with
me I will be arriving at the Mayflower this evening.
70. RICKARD DIARY, MAY 22, 1947
persisted in his effort to persuade Congress to adopt
controls for the distribution of food. At the invitation
of John Taber, chairman of the House Appropriations
Committee, Hoover prepared a long letter stating his
views on the proposed $725 million for food relief.
As Rickard noted in his diary on May 22, Hoover took
his testimony seriously. He was so concerned that the
Truman administration would learn of his recommendations
that he would not stay in Blair House, the president's
guest residence in Washington, for fear that it was
May 22 
To Waldorf, and
no doubt H.H. is playing important role in the deliberations and actions of
Republican Senators and Congressmen. He showed me letter from [John] Taber,
chairman of House Appropriations Committee, asking for advice. He will go to
Washington Monday to stay several days. He has arranged to have 10 congressmen
have breakfast with him. He will not accept offer of Administration to stay
in Blair House, as will not provide independence he desires; suggests that Blair
House may be wired.
HOOVER TO JOHN TABER, MAY 26, 1947
response to Taber's request, Hoover repeated his analysis
of the situation as he saw it in Europe and the Far
East. His recommendations closely follow those in his
reports to Truman, Patterson, and Marshall. First and
foremost, he reiterated support for Truman's request;
aid would be needed to prevent mass starvation in Europe
for a third year. He emphasized, however, that aid could
not go on indefinitely. Germany must be reunited if
it was ever to support itself. For the sake of the U.S.
taxpayers as well as the German people, he argued, it
was time to free all German industries except those
involved in the manufacture of military materials. To
stimulate discussion of his proposals, he released his
letter to the press on May 27. (The complete letter
is in Addresses Upon the American Road, 1945-1948
[New York, 1949], pp.103-108.).
York, New York
May 26, 1947
Dear Mr. Taber:
As matters stand
this appropriation of $725,000,000 should be made. In addition to this proposed
American appropriation the
British are also to contribute their share of bi-zonal relief in Germany. These
enormous sums are inescapable for the next year unless millions of people under
our flags are to die of starvation. They are about the same as during the present
fiscal year and this year's experience demonstrates how near starvation is in
Unless there are
revolutionary changes in our policies as to Germany and Japan, the burdens upon
our taxpayers are not likely to lessen and are more likely to increase. There
are three alternatives before us in our occupied territories: to wash our hands
of the whole business and then let the conquered countries drag the whole world
to final chaos; or, humanitarian reasons, merely to carry these people on a
food subsistence level, hoping for improvement in the attitudes of other nations;
or to act at once to free ourselves from their hindrances as far as possible
. . .
We should at once
abolish for good the destruction or removal of all industrial plants which can
make peacetime goods or service. The heavy burden now borne by our taxpayers
is ample proof of the folly of these policies. It is an illusion that there
are any consequential reparations to be had by removal of peace-time industrial
plants . . .
Such policies as
I have outlined are of a vast importance to the nations outside of Germany and
Japan. The whole world is suffering from delay in restoration of productivity.
The whole world is an interlocked economy, and paralysis in two great centers
of production is a world disaster. There is greater opportunity to speed recovery
in the world by such action as I outline than by any amount of gifts and loans
from the United States.
There has been
announced an American policy of defending the frontiers of Western Civilization.
The most vital of these frontiers are Germany and Japan. If they are lost,
all Europe and the Far East are lost . . .
72. HOOVER TO O'LAUGHLIN, JUNE
regularly corresponded with O'Laughlin, who kept the former president informed
of developments in Washington. As the publisher of the Army and Navy Journal,
a weekly paper that focused on the military, he had frequent contact with officials
at the highest levels of the State and War departments. O'Laughlin's letters
to the "Chief," as he and a few intimates called Hoover, were full
of intrigue, information and gossip. It was through him that Hoover learned
of the State Department's tepid reaction to the proposals that he set forth
in his letter to Congressman Taber.
was pleased to have O'Laughlin's intelligence, but dismayed
to learn that Secretary Marshall was so tentative about
a separate peace with Germany. It may be that he was
irritated that Marshall was not even sure if Hoover's
proposals were "helpful." Hoover reminded
O'Laughlin and through him Marshall that his proposals
to Congressman Taber had "universal editorial support."
Hoover also must have wondered how his proposals were
being received in the White House.
New York 22, New York
June 5, 1947
My dear Cal:
Many thanks for
your letter of June third.
If Marshall only
knew it he would find the Taber statement had universal editorial support. When
something commends itself to The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Daily
News, Scripps Howard, Philadelphia papers, etc., it must have touched American
feeling. The good to Marshall is that it not only clarifies the air but gives
him a background in negotiating with the Russians.
HOOVER TO O'LAUGHLIN, JUNE 23, 1947
O'Laughlin's encouragement, Hoover had come to believe that his proposals would
be incorporated into Marshall's emerging plan for recovery in Europe. At least
Hoover believed he would be consulted. By the middle of June, however, he had
not heard from Marshall or anyone else in the State Department and was clearly
perturbed. He wrote to O'Laughlin on June 16 and raised a number of pointed
questions. "They have set in train some bad moments," he concluded.
"And what if they want Republican cooperation
(and many Democrats) why don't they consult somebody." That "somebody"
was, of course, Herbert Hoover.
answers came in O'Laughlin's letter of June 21. More than five detailed pages
provided explanations of the rationale of the Marshall Plan. As to the rumor
that Hoover would be appointed to an advisory council, O'Laughlin was pessimistic.
"I am quite sure that at first it had been contemplated to name you as
head of the American Council which Vandenberg had proposed," O'Laughlin
noted. "But because of your opposition to the Marshall Plan as well as
your letter to Messrs. Taber and [Bridges], and the certainty that you would
refuse to 'me too' on all of the developments in the negotiations, a method
was sought to use you but at the same time to check you. Hence the idea I hear
and with which perhaps you are familiar, to name you and Mr. Baruch as co-chairmen,
an idea that I cannot see you regarding with any favor." He noted that
Marshall had determined to include "Hoover men" on the council to
make it difficult for Hoover to attack its recommendations.
confirmed what Hoover suspected. Truman and Marshall were not interested in
ideas that differed from their plan for European recovery. They wanted an advisory
committee that would defend rather than revise the Marshall Plan. Under the
circumstance, Hoover noted, he was glad that he had not been asked to serve.
former president had no doubt about the wisdom of the
proposals in his letters to Taber and Bridges. Above
all, he noted, his proposals pointed to a middle way
between the isolationism of Colonel Robert McCormick
of the Chicago Tribune and the appeasement of former
Vice-President Henry Wallace.
New York 22, New York
June 23, 1947
My dear Cal:
I have your illuminating
letter of the 21st.
No one could be
more relieved than I to read this morning's paper and find my name left off
the list of the new fact-finding committee on our ability to pay Europe. Baruch
telephones me of his relief also. Had we been on the list it would have been
difficult enough to refuse.
My advices are
that Marshall resents my epistles to Taber and Bridges as intrusions on his
exclusive field the making of foreign policies. Vandenberg is also upset and
Baruch on this committee plan. Marshall's proposal was that Baruch and I should
be joint chairmen of this
study group. Baruch, from previous discussion with me, and following our previous
recommendations to Truman as early as 1945, proposed that they should set up
an over-all economic council with authority to deal with all foreign economic
policies subject to the President. This council was to include Marshall as Chairman,
together with Secretaries Anderson, Harriman, Patterson and Snyder, and two
to four citizens, free of administrative duties who would spend their time thinking.
Such a council through the Department's members would have authority. Apparently,
Marshall did not want any such real participation. He would even now be better
advised to set up such an authoritative council for the announced purposes of
(a) Evaluating the information of his various committees and determining of
policies to be pursued in connection with them; (b) An independent determination
of foreign claims of the real need of those countries; (c) A determination of
our over-all policies in the light of their need and of our resources.
This set-up implies
authority and not mere advice or political front. Marshall will get a demand
for three times what the American people can, or will, give. Reducing such demands
will be a painful moment for him. I have gone through such affairs before.
The General has
never dealt with the politicians of Europe who under the present desperate circumstance
of their countries are even more desperately selfish than ever before. He apparently
believes that they move from the same altruism which animates this more comfortable
land of our own. Already he has a taste of what they can do to him in their
insistence in bringing into the European set up Russia -- all of which is the
negation of the Truman Doctrine. It can result in good if the Russians have
repented. It can also result in a new era of appeasement.
The Taber letter
has done two things. It has shown the country that there is another foreign
policy [other] than the isolationism of McCormick and the appeasement of Wallace.
These forces were both making headway because of no determined Administration
move for peace, and because of their appeal to the American yearning for peace.
Another accomplishment was to get from Taber's Committee the $720,000,000 relief
for Germany and Japan which Patterson, by letter, which I enclose for your confidential
reading, acknowledges they would never have succeeded in doing otherwise. Still
another accomplishment was to show Republicans that there were constructive
ideas besides those of the Republican crumb-eaters of the State Department.
Every press group -- the New York Times and Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, the
Daily News, the Scripps-Howard and the Hearst papers -- in fact, over 400 papers
supported it editorially, it being about the only time they have ever agreed
also be grateful for the Bridges letter. It saves him from his set-up in Europe
of a psychology of unlimited demands and subsequent disappointments and recriminations.
Further, it will secure for the Administration the continuance of export and
import controls as to which there was otherwise great doubt. It has also had
astonishing press support.
are likely to create two situations. First, desertion of many Republicans from
cooperation with him in the foreign field; second, before he is done with the
situation, a greater yearning on the part of the Administration for Republican
help and an awakening that the publicity crumb-eaters cannot deliver the Republicans.
was no ghost writer of the Bridges letter. He carefully checked my figures but
made not a single word of suggestion as to the text.
Not In File]
MARSHALL TO HOOVER, JULY 21, 1947
though he opposed some elements of the Marshall Plan,
Hoover did not oppose the War Department's request for
$725 million in food relief and other assistance and
he had said as much in his letters to Taber and Senator
Styles Bridges. When the appropriation passed the House
on July 18, Hoover telegraphed Baruch: "Your friend
should credit me with one good deed." Baruch passed
Hoover's message to the Secretary of State who sent
Hoover this terse letter of thanks.
The Secretary of State
July 21, 1947
Dear Mr. Hoover:
Thank you very
much for your assistance. It was good of you to help, and I am strengthened
by the thought of your continued support.
/s/G. C. MARSHALL
STIMSON TO HOOVER, NOVEMBER 4, 1947
November 4, Hoover received a telegram from Stimson
inviting him to join the Citizen's Committee for the
Marshall Plan. The former president declined on November
7 because he was not sure that the plan contained sufficient
"safeguards." "Until General Marshall
states his plan in full," Hoover concluded. "I
would rather not have my name used." Stimson replied
on November 12 that he was confident that the Marshall
Plan "will not permit indiscriminate giving or
giving without proper safeguards." Stimson asked
Hoover for more information on what the former president
regarded as essential safeguards. There is no evidence
that Hoover responded.
Care Waldorf Astoria Hotel
We Americans today
face a challenging opportunity, perhaps the greatest ever offered to a single
nation. It is nothing less than a chance to use our full strength for the peace
and freedom of the world. Such an effort entails a rebuilding of the economies
of the war shattered nations. The reconstruction of Europe is a task from which
Americans can decide to stand apart only if they wish to desert every principle
by which they claim to live. As a decision of policy, it would be the most tragic
mistake in our history. We must take part in this work; we must take our full
part; we must be sure that we do enough. We should act quickly. The penalty
of delay in reconstruction is to increase the size of the job and to multiply
difficulties. We require a prompt and large scale program.
The government must lead the way but we who are private citizens must support
that leadership. The sooner we act, the surer our success and the less it will
cost us. If you agree with this program, will you join with me and Dean Acheson,
Winthrop W. Aldrich, Herbert H. Lehman, Robert P. Patterson, Philip D. Reed,
John Winant and other friends in a Citizens Committee for the Marshall Plan.
I would. appreciate a telegraphic reply collect to Robert P. Patterson, 8 West
Fortieth Street, New York City. Please keep this message confidential until
we are able here to announce the organization of our committee.
Chairman, Committee For
the Marshall Plan
HOOVER TO ARTHUR VANDENBERG, JANUARY 18, 1948
received an invitation to be the first witness at the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee hearing on the Marshall Plan. Although eager to express his views,
he declined to be the first speaker. "I do not wish to be classed in the
press as opposing General Marshall," he wrote to Senator Arthur Vandenberg
on Christmas Eve, "for like you, I think his hands on the major issue ought
to be upheld." As an alternative, he would "prepare a short and careful
memorandum for the Committee on what I think about the [Marshall Plan] rather
than risk the disintegrated and distorted reports which come out of a public
hearing." Hoover sent the following memorandum to Vandenberg on January
18 and it was released to the press four days later.
is no record in his engagement calendar that Hoover met with Vandenberg to discuss
the memorandum and there is no indication that Hoover believed that any of his
suggestions would be considered controversial. In fact, the former president
was on his annual Florida vacation when the memorandum was delivered to Vandenberg
and released to the press.
Hoover returned to New York on February 5 he was greeted
with a critique of his memorandum by the Committee for
the Marshall Plan to Aid European Recovery, the very
organization that Stimson had invited him to join three
months earlier. Upset with what he believed to be an
unfair attack, Hoover wrote to Robert Patterson, a key
member of the committee, on February 9 asking for a
"public rectification" of the statement. Patterson
wrote back with a letter of apology on the thirteenth.
It is not clear if the committee ever issued a retraction,
but Hoover took it upon himself to send a copy of his
letter and Patterson's reply
to every member of the committee. (The complete text
of Hoover's letter to Vandenberg is in Addresses
Upon the American Road, 1945-1948 [New York, 1949],
My dear Senator:
I have your request
that I should present to the Foreign Relations Committee my views on the proposed
"Economic Cooperation Administration" for aid to 16 Western European
First of all I
wish to make clear my conviction that we should help to the full extent which
does not weaken our own economy and thus defeat all world recovery . . .
We must take some
risks, and I should have liked to be able to give unqualified endorsement of
the E.C.A. as presented to the Congress. I am compelled, however, by conscience
to say that the plan as presented should have certain constructive modifications
and more safeguards . . .
Such power should
not be placed in the hands of any one man or any one department of our government.
Obviously the administrative work involved should be conducted by one man. But
its policies should be directed by a group, no doubt including department heads,
but also including non-official citizens. The proposals of Congressman Christian
Herter insofar as they imply group conclusions come nearer to meeting this requirement.
I assume it is
intended to carry out this operation as a bipartisan enterprise, for only thus
can we hope for success. There is far too much at stake to permit partisan approach.
If these policies are to be bipartisan, then the members of this board or commission
should be selected by prior consultation with the Congressional leaders . .
The plan originally
proposed an authorization to E.C.A. of 17 billion dollars and a four-year program.
The first 15-months' appropriation is proposed at 6.8 billion. But in addition
to this; we are committed to Western Germany, Japan, Korea, and possibly China,
and perhaps others, for supplies amounting to about 2 billion in this same period
of 15 months, or a total of nearly 9 billion dollars.
It was prudent
not to require that commitments be made by the United States at the present
time for more than the first 15 months,
until July 1, 1949. We cannot even hazard what the export and financial possibilities
of the United States will be for more than a year in advance. Food being the
largest item in the whole program, we can only judge from harvest to harvest.
Nor can we long forecast our industrial production. Furthermore, we cannot tell
in advance the requirements of each of these countries to which it is proposed
to extend aid. They, too, are dependent upon their harvests; they are dependent
upon cooperation between governments, and upon their labor and many other elements
for which we cannot fix a financial or commodity commitment.
Even a moral commitment
to a four-year program is unwise. We cannot enforce ideas upon other self-governing
peoples, and we should keep ourselves entirely free to end our efforts without
recrimination. The United States will at all times aid against hunger and cold.
The fact that we have already spent probably 20 billions upon this purpose since
this war and over 5 billions after the last war should be sufficient assurance
that we will continue to support right-thinking peoples in the future . . .
It is not an answer
to say that under this plan large amounts of American money will be sued for
purchases of commodities in other countries on behalf of recipient nations and
thus relieve export pressure upon the United States. These other countries thus
receiving our money will wish to transform that money into goods from the United
States. If we refuse export certificates for all or part of their demands because
we do not have the goods, either our money will go to a discount, or we will
necessarily enter obligations to pay those nations at some future date. Thus
the United States will in effect be borrowing money abroad to finance this program.
It is an illusion
that scarcity and thus increasing inflation can be more than temporarily retarded
by compulsory fixing of wages, prices and rationing. Aside from the reduction
of primary freedoms involved, history and our national experience prove that
any such course sets up chain reactions which ultimately decrease production
and defeat their very purpose. A part of Western Europe's present difficulties
is due to these practices.
The only safe road
for us is not to over-export. We can to some extent increase the amounts available
for export and hold prices by
adopting strong voluntary conservation measures; by using voluntary restraints
on prices and wages; by doing more and harder work with uninterrupted production.
Such voluntary organization, if vigorously and systematically administered,
avoids most of the evils of the coercive system.
If some of the
imported quantities scheduled be reexamined in the light of supplies, if certain
principles were established by Congress, if certain requirements were fixed,
and if an effective business organization were set up, I am confident that the
burden upon the American taxpayer could be lessened and our essential purpose
accomplished . . .
With these various
suggestions I believe it is possible considerably to reduce the burden upon
our citizens and at the same time to assure the accomplishment of our national
HOOVER TO JOSEPH W. MARTIN, MARCH 24, 1948
evening before a dinner with Marshall, Hoover dined
with Joseph W. Martin, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Martin invited Hoover to assess the latest version of
the Marshall Plan, one that had passed the Senate and
the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Hoover found that
the revised plan included many of the safeguards he
and others had recommended. The bill was not perfect
and the former president took the opportunity to make
improvements in the plan. (The complete text of this
letter is in Addresses Upon the American Road, 1945-1948
[New York, 1949], pp.131-140.)
The Honorable Joseph
W. Martin, Speaker
House of Representatives
My dear Mr. Speaker:
I have your request
that I give to you my views and recommendations upon the Marshall Plan Bill
as reported out of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
On January 18th, at the request of Senator Arthur Vandenberg, I made an analysis
of and recommendations as to the legislation originally presented by the Administration.
Many members of the Congress, myself, and others urged its support in principle
because of world conditions, but recommended that certain additional safeguards
be introduced into the legislation. We believed these would make for more efficient
administration, less drain upon the American taxpayer, less strain on our economy,
and at the same time deliver the same volume of commodities to the Marshall
Plan countries . . .
I realize that
many approach this gigantic experiment with great apprehension and a realization
of the sacrifices it will mean to our people. All legislation must be the result
of compromise. However, if it should produce economic, political and self-defense
unity in Western Europe, and thus a major dam against Russian aggression, it
would stem the tide now running so strongly against civilization and peace.
The plan, if well devised and under a capable Administrator, stands a good chance
of success. I believe it is worth taking the chance.
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