Paul R. Porter Papers
Deputy Chief and Chief, Mission for Economic Affairs, U.S. Embassy, London,1945-1947;
Chief, Economic Cooperation Administration Mission to Greece, 1949-1950.
Size: About one linear foot (approximately 2,000 pages). Available on two microfilm rolls.
The Paul R. Porter Papers relate to Porter's government service in Europe in the years after World War II. Perhaps his most important position during this period was with the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), the agency responsible for distributing U.S. aid to Europe under the Marshall Plan. Porter served as chief of the ECA's aid mission to Greece from September 1949 to November 1950. Most of the collection consists of material relating to the aid program in Greece. The Porter Papers also include some information pertaining to U.S. occupation policy in Germany, organized labor in Germany after the war, and the origins of the Marshall Plan. Porter was deeply involved with these issues while serving as a labor adviser to the American military government in Germany in 1945, and as deputy chief and (later) chief of the Mission for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London from 1945 to 1947.
Porter's own writings make up much of the collection: these include not only correspondence, memoranda, reports, policy papers, and a diary written during his years in Europe, but also personal memoirs and commentaries written by Porter during the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he was preparing his papers for donation to the Truman Library. Porter also solicited similar recollections and other relevant materials from former colleagues, and added these to the collection.
Porter organized and arranged the collection himself. Originally, he intended to donate six groups of papers to the Truman Library. He sent to the Library the papers he designated as Group II (concerning U.S. occupation policy in Germany) in 1980. In 1983, the Library received the papers that made up Group I (concerning German trade unions) and Group IV (concerning economic aid to Greece). Porter never donated to the Library the papers he had designated as Groups III, V, and VI.
The Porter Papers are comprised of four series. The first series consists of a single folder containing Porter's general introduction to the collection, along with some biographical information about Porter and correspondence documenting the donation of his papers to the Truman Library. The second series consists of the papers designated by Porter as Group I. His own title for this series was "Conflict Within American Military Government Concerning the Revival of German Trade Unions." Its contents include a memoir by Porter describing his work on labor policy in Germany in 1945, his diary for the period from March to August of 1945, and related correspondence, reports, and printed materials. As documented in this series, Porter strongly supported the early revival in occupied Germany of the free trade unions that had been outlawed under the Nazi regime. His efforts were opposed by other officials in the American military government. Porter suspected these officials of Communist sympathies, and believed that they were promoting policies favored by the Soviet Union, policies that were aimed at insuring Communist control of the labor movement in postwar Germany.
The third series consists of the papers designated by Porter as Group II. His title for this series was "Criticism of U.S. Occupation Policy in Germany and Origins of the Marshall Plan." An introductory memoir by Porter details his personal involvement in these issues as deputy chief and chief of the Mission for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London. The series also includes a series of policy papers written or co-written by Porter in 1946-47, along with some related correspondence. This material documents Porter's opposition to the Morgenthau Plan, a proposal to prevent future German aggression by destroying Germany's industrial base after World War II. Instead, Porter and like-minded officials favored rebuilding Germany's industrial economy and using U.S. aid to lay the foundation for a prosperous, democratic, and economically unified Europe. Porter was extremely doubtful about the prospects for long-term cooperation with the Soviet Union in Europe. This viewpoint eventually prevailed among U.S. policymakers, and contributed to the development of the Marshall Plan.
Porter designated the contents of the fourth series as Group IV, with the title "Greece at the Turning Point." This series, which makes up more than half of the collection, consists of memoirs, correspondence, printed materials, and other items, most of which were sent to Porter, at his request, by former colleagues in the Greek aid program. Over twenty former officials and their wives or widows contributed relevant materials to the collection. Their written remembrances and other documents (mostly solicited by Porter during the early 1980s) provide a detailed account of various aspects of the U.S. aid program in Greece, and record their day-to-day experiences living and working in that war-ravaged country during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The series also contains official reports on the progress of the aid program, submitted by Porter and his successor as chief of the mission, Roger D. Lapham. Porter believed that his period of service in Greece marked a "turning point" for the country. With the defeat of the Communist guerrillas and the end of the civil war, the Greek government was able to devote more of its attention to economic recovery, with the assistance of the Marshall Plan. In 1950, according to Porter, industrial and agricultural production in Greece actually exceeded prewar levels.
More information about Paul R. Porter and his government service in Europe after World War II can be found in the Truman Library's oral history interview with Porter. More information about U.S. relations with Greece during the Truman administration can be found in the papers of Harry S. Truman (Official File and President's Secretary's Files), Joseph M. Jones, Harry N. Howard, and Paul A. Porter. Paul A. Porter, it should be noted, was a friend and colleague of Paul R. Porter, but not his doppelganger. The two men held similar government positions at around the same time, a circumstance that has created much confusion. Paul A. Porter served as chief of the U.S. aid mission to Greece in 1947, two years before Paul R. Porter arrived in the country to occupy a similar post.
[11 of 19; Ruth Redstrom, widow of John R. Redstrom]
[12 of 19; Willard M. Rogers]
[13 of 19; John C. Russell]
[14 of 19; Catherine Stokes, widow of Charles Stokes]
[15 of 19; Alan Strachan]
[16 of 19; Evelyn Strachan]
[17 of 19; Charles Lynn Terrel]
[18 of 19; J. Bernard Wyckoff]
[19 of 19; Lois Hermansen Young, widow John T. Hermansen]