Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Oral History Interview with
John W. Snyder

Secretary of the Treasury in the Truman Administration, 1946-53. Other Federal positions once held include Executive Vice-President and Director, Defense Plant Corporation, 1940-43; Assistant to the Director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 1940-44; Federal Loan Administrator, 1945; Director, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, 1945-46. Secretary Snyder has been a longtime close friend of Harry S. Truman beginning with their service in the U.S. Army Reserves after World War I.

Washington, D.C.,
February 26, 1969
By Jerry N. Hess

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Snyder Oral History Transcripts]


NOTICE
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

RESTRICTIONS
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened September, 1970
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Additional Snyder Oral History Transcripts]



Oral History Interview with
John W. Snyder

Washington, D.C.,
February 26, 1969
By Jerry N. Hess

[1151]

SNYDER: In my appearance before Congress I tried to make these points: First, that the NAC was studying the problem of what to do about the assets of the Marshall plan countries located in the United States; two, since it would not be possible or desirable to obtain all the goods needed in the program from the United States, the NAC believed that the ECA administrator should be authorized to procure supplies outside of this country (that was what we called the off-shore procurement). Three: European countries negotiating agreements with the United States had as a prerequisite to coming into the Marshall plan, a requirement to carry out measures to insure monetary and financial stability; four: counterpart funds should be drawn on only for constructive, stabilizing purposes; five: some

[1152]

adjustment of currency exchange rates should be expected in the course of the program; and six and finally: stabilization loans to European countries might be feasible within a year or two. In closing my remarks to Congress, I said:

The National Advisory Council has carefully reviewed the procedures which have been used by the inter-departmental committees of experts in arriving at the figures which we have now settled on. The procedures involved a critical examination of European needs, and of availability in the United States, and in other major supplying areas, and careful estimates of European dollar income and resources. The National Advisory Council believes that this approach is sound, and has concluded that the recommended amount is needed to achieve the objectives of the program. It would serve no good purpose to ask the European countries to put their own financial houses in order if we ourselves adopted methods which might accentuate inflation in the United States, or upset our own economic stability. It is my firm opinion that we should finance the European Recovery program within a balanced budget. I am confident that so long as we pursue a sound fiscal policy, we shall be able to cover the

[1153]

costs of the European Recovery Program out of current revenue.

Following this statement, which I read, quite a number of questions came up from the Congressmen. I recall one exchange particularly that I thought was of considerable interest because it revealed, I think rather well, my attitude towards the conduct of foreign policy, and it also illustrated the friendly attitude of Congress towards me. The committee chairman, Charles A. Eaton of New Jersey asked if I would want to accept the responsibility for administering the European Recovery Program. My answer to this most friendly question was, and I quote from the record

We could get off into some petty, difficult areas if we started out with two different Cabinet members operating in the foreign policy field.

I went on to say that:

If there were two Cabinet members in this

[1154]

field, they might reach a time when they would not agree on certain matters. We must have one foreign policy with the financial aspect and the political aspect working hand in hand.

On April 3, 1948, Congress approved the Economic Cooperation Act, and five billion three hundred million dollars was authorized for the first year. Of this amount, one billion was set aside for loans. This proved to be too much for loans, and the funds so earmarked were largely unused in that year. In later appropriations, the amount for loans was decreased until in 1949 the ECA was given the authority to decide whether its funds should go for loans or grants. By passing the ECA bill and appropriating money to operate the program, Congress put into motion one of the most noteworthy Government acts of this age. It was to Winston Churchill, "the most unsordid act in history," and thirdly, many people, both in America and Europe, agreed with him.

[1155]

The Marshall plan and the European Recovery Program, as it became officially, was unusual and even unique in many aspects. For our purposes, it must suffice to name but a few. The predominance of grants over loans, that is between the fiscal years 1948 and 1952, grants totaled nine billion one hundred and twenty-eight million dollars, while credits utilized in this same period in the form of loans amounted only to one billion one hundred thirty-two million dollars. This predominance of grants over loans is fully justified by the world situation, and it marked a decisive return to this type of foreign aid after a period immediately following the war when loans were heavily relied on. Another innovation was the use of funds from the ECA for off-shore purchases. The program also gave both direct and indirect support to the inter-European monetary and economic cooperation. One major characteristic of the Marshall plan was the use of counterpart

[1156]

funds for a number of extremely worthwhile economic developments for projects. Finally, the program put an emphasis on both technical assistance and private investment as major components of our foreign economic policy. By the end of 1951 when the European Recovery Program was absorbed by the Mutual Security Program the Marshall plan appropriations totaled ten billion seven hundred and seventy-one million six hundred and sixty-five thousand nine hundred forty-seven dollars, while expenditures amounted to nine billion four hundred and fourteen million thirty-eight thousand seven hundred and eighteen dollars. This was far below the twelve to seventeen billion dollar cost that had been estimated by the President's Committee on Foreign Aid for the full-length program. However, there are two good reasons why this was so. First, economic recovery in many fields exceeded the

[1157]

estimation, and U.S. assistance was therefore reduced, but in addition the European Recovery Program was absorbed by the Mutual Security Administration before it had run its entire course. There were several months still left to go on its original four and a quarter year plan. Although many of the many Marshall plan programs were carried to completion by the Mutual Security Program, it cannot be denied that the latter program marked a cutting off of the recovery program to a considerable degree. Nevertheless, during its lifetime the Marshall plan had been a powerful tool of United States foreign policy, and a potent weapon for world stability.

The administrator of ECA had been Paul G. Hoffman, former president of the Studebaker Corporation, and Averell Harriman was picked for the post of overseas representative for ECA,

[1158]

with headquarters in Paris. I, fortunately, had very good relations with both of these gentlemen. The National Advisory Council continued to be the major, official link between me and the foreign aid programs. But my personal contact with Hoffman and Harriman added greatly to my effectiveness and helpfulness and inevitably to my participation in foreign aid matters. However, my activities in direct foreign aid programs were only one facet of my responsibility in the international economic field. Trade and monetary problems occupied much of my time during the Marshall plan period. Most of these problems were related to the Fund and Bank, but some of them had a relevance to the United States outside both these institutions, largely because of earlier commitments, or because of the unusual position of the subject nation in regard to world economy. Such was the case with Great Britain, a country whose affairs have

[1159]

always been of great significance to the United States and who, because of her trading position, had had much the same relationship with many other nations of the world, as had the United States.

I think, Mr. Hess, this pretty well rounds out the ECA program and points out its genuine success by the fact that we were able to turn the economies of most of the European countries around and start them on a genuine recovery program, and with much less expenditures than were estimated initially, and in much shorter time. If there are any questions that you'd like to ask, I'd be happy to try to talk with you about them.

HESS: I've been taking notes as we have gone along, and I have several questions. One of them pertains to Mr. Hoover. Did you talk to Mr. Hoover before he agreed to accept the leadership of the food program after the war?

[1160]

SNYDER: As to exact timing, Mr. Hess, I talked with him after it was decided, by Mr. Truman, to invite him to handle the food program in Europe following World War II. As to whether it was just before he accepted, or during the period he was considering it, he very quickly accepted it. I had quite a number of talks with him subsequently.

HESS: Did he seem to want to take on that task again?

SNYDER: He was delighted with the opportunity to take over the task because he felt it was something in which he had had experience, he knew the people, he knew their ways. Back after World War I, he had been very successful in the food program then and he evidenced real pleasure and desire to take over the job.

HESS: Was this the first request that Mr. Truman had made of Mr. Hoover after Mr. Truman became President?

[1161]

SNYDER: Yes.

HESS: Do you think that he appreciated the fact that a Democratic President was asking his advice and wanted him to help out in this period of time?

SNYDER: In later years, Mr. Hoover said a number of times to me that Mr. Truman's invitation to him to undertake this job was a great stimulant in his life and without doubt added ten years more to his life, because it gave him an opportunity to do something constructive, whereas he had been somewhat pushed in the background in the years following his Presidency.

HESS: As you know, Mr. Hoover was quite often regarded as being quite a sobersides. You told me a story one time about Mr. Hoover and Sam Rayburn. Would you relate that for the record?

SNYDER: Yes, I always enjoy telling that story.

[1162]

At a Gridiron Club dinner one night, this incident occurred. It had been the custom of the Gridiron Club to invite the incumbent President to make a few remarks and then, if possible, to have the out-President, or leader of the out-party make a few remarks.

HESS: The leader of the "loyal opposition."

SNYDER: Yes, the leader of the "loyal opposition." On this occasion, Mr. Truman made a short talk and they called on President Hoover to respond, and he made one of the cleverest, wittiest, short speeches that just delighted everyone there, and greatly surprised many, because it had not been generally thought that he had much of a sense of humor. After the dinner, we retired to the Presidential Room at the Statler and I was talking with President Hoover when Speaker Rayburn came up and said, "Mr. President, I want to

[1163]

congratulate you on one of the most delightful, clever speeches that I've ever listened to. It was so witty. You turned such very delightful phrases; and to tell you the truth, I just didn't realize that you had such a sense of humor."

To which, President Hoover replied, "Why, Mr. Speaker, I always had it, but the damned Democrats wouldn't let it come out."

HESS: That's very good.

Well, moving on, I understand that at the end of the war there was some effort to try to get Great Britain to ship some of the unused supplies that we had shipped to them on to needy countries on the Continent, so that they could get them there in a shorter period of time, and that we would resupply Great Britain at a later date? Is that correct?

[1164]

SNYDER: There was some talk around at different quarters. However we must remember that Great Britain herself was in a pretty tight situation at that time, as their food supplies and all other supplies were at a very low ebb, and they were on pretty strict rations. Those of us who went over to England shortly after V-E Day, recall the plainness of the diet, so I don't think any great pressure was put on them to do that. Not to my knowledge.

HESS: Were they a little reluctant? Do you recall that they were somewhat reluctant about shipping some things over?

SNYDER: Well, as I say, I don't know if very much pressure was put on them, but I just say that it seemed to be a rather inappropriate effort to try to strip food away from them when they were so short in supply themselves.

[1165]

HESS: And you mentioned the committee that was set up under your leadership to communicate with the people throughout the country regarding the aid for Greece and Turkey. What were the views of the business leaders regarding such aid?

SNYDER: After they had been told of the dire facts concerning this proposed aid, almost 100 percent were very much for it, and agreed to write letters and agreed to talk in favor of it. There probably were a few opposed, as there always are. It's difficult to get unanimity in matters of this sort, but we were highly pleased with the quick acceptance of the problem by the businessmen, and their willingness to lend their assistance to backing up public opinion and supporting the aid program.

HESS: Did you personally speak to any of the business

[1166]

leaders?

SNYDER: Oh, I must have spoken to twenty-five or thirty leaders of groups and organizations.

HESS: Do you recall who?

SNYDER: Not exactly. I'd have to go back to the records, if I have them, but I recall my pleasure at the quick response that so many gave to backing it up, and the assurances of backing it up.

HESS: What other groups were approached at this time?

SNYDER: Well, as I recall, we tried to reach the leadership of all groups, farming groups, labor groups, business groups, the church committees, the international religious leadership, of course we talked to a great many. We talked to Congressmen. We tried to reach as many different groups and leaders of those groups as we could reach.

[1167]

HESS: What were the attitudes of some of the leaders of the other groups, take labor, for instance. What was the attitude of the labor leaders at this time?

SNYDER: I don't recall exactly what response we did get. I just don't recall.

HESS: Concerning Secretary Marshall's speech at Harvard in June of 1947, the very famous Marshall plan speech, were leaders of some of the European governments notified ahead of time of the importance, and perhaps even of the content of the Secretary's speech?

SNYDER: Not officially, but it is my understanding that probably it was suggested to [Ernest] Bevin to watch for the speech and give an opinion on what he thought of it. I don't recall any other statement that was made around that time that indicated other leaders. Someone might have

[1168]

called them and flagged the fact that such a speech was to be made.

HESS: Do you recall who mentioned that, at that time, that Bevin was notified?

SNYDER: Well, I wouldn't want to discuss that.

HESS: All right. Why was Bevin singled out as the one foreign leader to notify in this manner?

SNYDER: That I wouldn't know. Probably because he was a quick reactor, and might have an appreciation of this type of help and take advantage of it quicker in a fashion that would lead the other nations to follow. That's just a conjecture on my part.

HESS: And you spoke as being portrayed in the press as being quite conservative and wanting to operate the foreign aid program within a balanced budget.

[1169]

Why do you think you were singled out in that manner?

SNYDER: Well, probably, as I just said a moment ago, I had made statements before Congress, and public statements, that I hoped we could work out this program within a balanced budget, and so for that very reason, some of the liberal press and some of the liberal people in politics tried to attach a label of reluctance and extreme conservatism on me at the time, probably because I had come from the banking field, and it was so easy to label a banker as being obstructionist and opposed to these more general, liberal ideas of one nation helping another. Of course, I have for years been trying to determine just what the difference was between a liberal and a conservative and it has been pretty difficult to do, because frankly at times, I have thought I was very liberal in some of my views, and generally

[1170]

speaking, maybe because of my training and my personal inclination, I have been somewhat conservative. So one day at a press conference, jokingly, I said, "Well, now you can label me as a liberal conservative," and everybody had a big laugh. There was a double serving there, but frankly that is as near as I can come to labeling my views as liberal or conservative.

HESS: We discussed this a couple of times, but what would be a thumbnail description of a liberal, and what would be a thumbnail description of a conservative?

SNYDER: Well, you and I agreed that we were going to make a careful study of that and come up with a definition other than the one that we could read in the dictionary. Of course, Webster says that a liberal is one favoring reform or progress; and a conservative is one tending to preserve

[1171]

established institutions and so forth, as opposed to change, sort of a moderate or a prudent operator. Well, frankly, from those two definitions, I think you can see, Mr. Hess, from your knowledge of my attitudes while I was in Government, that I have a measure of both of those. I certainly have favored a great many reforms, and I certainly did favor progress. I demonstrated that in the Defense Plant Corporation, the Federal Loan Administration, and the OWMR, and while I was Secretary of the Treasury; but at the same time, I think you find evidence at an attempt to be prudent along with it. You can see that I have had great difficulty in working out a label for myself that would be acceptable generally to the press at that time, and to the general political area.

HESS: You mentioned that quite often bankers are thought of as "obstructionists." Do you think

[1172]

that that view of the banking industry is justified?

SNYDER: No, and yes. There have been some bankers who were always strongly opposed to changes, particularly at the time of FDR. The banking fraternity did not approve of many of his so-called New Deal projects because they were radical changes from what had been accepted as our general policy for many years. It was a rather interesting experience for me to observe at the time how the bankers had just about lost all of their initiative, all of their drive during the depression, and had just run out of ideas. When Mr. Roosevelt took over and closed all the banks temporarily, he actually strengthened them through reorganization, improvement in their capital structure and in their cash positions. He saved many of the banks from permanent closing and really put the banking business back on its feet again. We

[1173]

have had no major bank trouble since the weaker banks were weeded out in '33 and the FDIC was set up. We've had no major banking troubles, runs on banks and/or material crises of that type. And yet, at the time, of course, the bankers were just hovering around looking to the Federal Government to help them out and saying, "Save us." It wasn't very long after they got back on their feet and began to operate smoothly again that we began to find that there were many, many signs of opposition on the part of the banking fraternity to some of the so-called progressive ideas that were being advanced by the administration of Mr. Roosevelt, and later by Mr. Truman.

I might add, though, that my experience has been very, very pleasant in the recollection of the wonderful support that we have received from bankers on so many occasions for important matters toward legislation, important projects,

[1174]

particularly this recovery program. We received vital assistance from banking thinking, from the bankers of both Europe and of the United States, and the operation of the World Bank and the Monetary Fund has received tremendous attention from the banking world.

HESS: As an opinion, would you think that most bankers were Republicans or were Democrats?

SNYDER: My rough guess is that it is heavily weighted with Republicans.

HESS: Why do you think that the Republican Party, or the philosophy of the Republican Party, would appeal to bankers more than the Democratic Party?

SNYDER: Again trying to get back to that definition, I think because the banker tends to be more conservative and the Republican Party has long carried the label of conservatism.

[1175]

HESS: You're a Democrat and you were president of one of the largest banks in the United States in St. Louis. Why are you a Democrat?

SNYDER: Well, I've always been a Democrat. I like many of the Democratic aims and objectives. I was brought up a Democrat. Of course, my private business association has been largely with Republicans. The officers in the banks that I've been associated with have been largely Republicans.

HESS: How about Mr. [Walter] Smith?

SNYDER: He was a very strong Republican. Mr. Frank Watts was a Republican and [Richard] Hawes was a Republican. And generally speaking, the top bankers lean towards the Republicans. There are some Democrats, of course, but you asked for percentages. I guess the larger percentage are Republicans. But let me repeat, I personally received tremendous help and cooperation from the

[1176]

banks in all of my public activities.

HESS: Could we discuss for a few moments the views of the various Cabinet members on the subject of foreign aid and the Marshall plan, and just the gentlemen who were in those particular Cabinet posts, say in '47 and '48, in the years in question, and tell me a little bit about your views about what should be done in the field of foreign aid at that time?

SNYDER: This will be as a conjecture, looking back so far. But, of course, according to protocol, let's start with the State Department: Secretary Marshall, who proposed the Marshall plan, was naturally very strongly in favor of it and attempted to lend every possible aid to its formation and operation. His Under Secretary at that time, Dean Acheson, was very, very strongly in favor of it, and worked assiduously towards its formation and operation; and as I

[1177]

think I've told you, he was, along with Will Clayton -- probably they were the two instigators of the Marshall plan initially.

HESS: I have one question about Mr. Acheson. As you may recall, he made a very important speech in Cleveland, Mississippi prior to the speech that Secretary Marshall did.

SNYDER: That's right, and it was practically unnoticed.

HESS: I have read in some history books that Mr. Truman was supposed to have made that particular appearance in Cleveland, Mississippi at that time, and then that was called off. Is that correct?

SNYDER: That's correct I think.

HESS: Why was Mr. Truman's appearance canceled?

[1178]

SNYDER: I've forgotten. Something probably came up, you know. That happens frequently. Well, I won't say frequently, but it does happen.

HESS: Moving on to the Secretary of the Treasury, we know already about your views. Let us move on to the Defense Department.

SNYDER: By the time ECA was being promoted, the Defense Department had been formed, and had combined the Army and the Navy, and the new department, the Air Force, and was under the direction of Secretary James Forrestal. Forrestal was in favor of the program; he had so many other problems at the time, and he didn't probably take so much active participation in the operation of ECA, but he did indirectly, because he was forming up the military assistance program, in which he was very effective. So I think in fairness to Forrestal, we must say that he did take a very active and aggressive part in the

[1179]

program, because the military program was vitally essential in this whole recovery program.

Tom Clark was in the Justice Department. Of course, he was kept very busy in working out the legal phases of what we could do and couldn't do, and in our legislation that was sent up to Congress that had to be worked out under the Constitution, and he was cooperative and very helpful in that fashion.

I think at the time the legislation was introduced, [Robert F.] Hannegan was Postmaster General, and my recollection is that Mr. Truman used him quite a bit in getting political backing for the ECA in its formative days before the legislation was set up. This was during the time that we were trying to get the businessman, and labor and all the others to take a favorable attitude. Hannegan was working in the political field.

[1180]

HESS: Was he effective in such actions as this in the political field?

SNYDER: Well, it's hard to measure because he resigned shortly before the legislation actually went into effect, and following him, Mr. Donaldson took very little other than acquiescence in the program. It's hard to say, though, just what measure any of them from the Post Office Department may have had, because they had programs in operation trying to work out the mail situation, so there was the work that was done in that field; but as a standout, Mr. Donaldson did not appear too many times in other operations.

HESS: Was he a vigorous Cabinet member?

SNYDER: No, Donaldson had come up through the ranks from being a postal employee in Kansas City, and through the years he had built himself up to

[1181]

where he was one of the top civil servants in the Post Office Department. He had grown rather organizationally minded, but was not an aggressive, driving force.

Over in the Interior Department, Krug did not take too active a part, although he did on a number of questions that came up in regard to raw materials, critical materials, the distribution of oil and problems from things of that sort, why, he did offer cooperation.

Clint [Clinton P.] Anderson initially worked very, very aggressively in Agriculture, in the food side of it, and in reorganization of international food committees, and international food organizations, he was very cooperative.

Averell Harriman, Secretary of Commerce in the early days of the planning of the ECA, was extremely helpful. He had had vast experience in the diplomatic field. He had been ambassador

[1182]

to England, and of course had previously been Ambassador to Russia, which gave him a diplomatic air and knowledge. He was extremely helpful in the organization and planning of it, and its passage through Congress, and later became U.S. representative to the ECA as an ambassador stationed in Paris, after it was passed. He resigned his position as Secretary of Commerce in April of 1948 and took the job as Ambassador.

HESS: Why was he chosen for the post of the overseas representative?

SNYDER: As being a well-fitted man diplomatically, and through experience, and availability. He was one of our good men, and we felt he should do that job.

HESS: As you know, Paul Hoffman was selected to be the head of ECA.

SNYDER: That was international. He was the head

[1183]

of it, but Harriman was to represent the United States. Hoffman was to be representing all people, all nations.

[Lewis] Schwellenbach in the Labor Department initially took an interest in it. He was not well during the periods of the formation of it, and died in the spring of 1948, just about the time that the ECA was going into operation.

Maurice Tobin in the Labor Department took a very cooperative and active part in working with the labor organizations in Europe and their relationships with our labor organization. That about covers it, I think, unless you have some questions.

HESS: No, that's about all on the Cabinet.

Do you recall if President Miguel Alemán of Mexico may have had any influence on Mr. Truman's thinking regarding aid to foreign countries?

[1184]

SNYDER: I'm not too sure about how much specific influence President Alemán had on Mr. Truman on this particular subject. He was a very aggressive, forward-looking head of state. As a matter of fact, the real economic growth, I think, of Mexico began under his administration. He took office in 1946, and Mexico has been on the upgrade ever since. They began to build a middle class, which is probably the only Latin American country that does have one. He saw the effect that a middle class would have, and he took the United States as his pattern. He and Mr. Truman were very good friends and exchanged ideas, and Mr. Truman did discuss the plan of the ECA with him. I recall his talking with me about it, and he considered it one of the great plans of the postwar period, and he was constantly intimating that it would be a very fine thing if we had a Latin American program similar to it. I think that you'll find

[1185]

that he actually supported it very strongly in his conversations. Whether it had any effect on Mr. Truman I don't know. I think Mr. Truman had already worked up his plan. He may have discussed it with him.

HESS: One of the reasons I ask that was because Mr. Truman was, as you know, in Mexico during March of '47, and then President Alemán was in the United States in May of that same year. Do you recall if there was ever any official thinking in the high levels of Government as to having something like a Marshall plan for Latin America?

SNYDER: Oh, yes, that was discussed at great length, and various substitutes of organizations were formulated, but nothing of the intensity or of the size of the ECA ever developed.

HESS: Do you recall why that didn't develop at that time?

[1186]

SNYDER: Well, it was largely getting agreement, think, among Latin American leaders.

HESS: Who would probably have been the leader of the Latin American leaders, in your opinion, at that time? Would that have been President Alemán, or was there any person that you could look to and say, "This man was the one."

SNYDER: I don't think so. I don't think there was any one, single, Latin American leader who stood out as a [Simón] Bolívar.

HESS: Just through the strength of his own personality, there just wasn't one.

I mentioned Mr. Paul Hoffman a few moments ago, but why was he selected for that particular post?

SNYDER: Well, Mr. Hoffman had made quite a reputation as head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He was

[1187]

a tremendous speaker, very vocal. He gave the impression of firmness and drive, and had made quite a reputation in the industrial world. He had been a Studebaker dealer, I think, out in San Francisco, and was sent from there to be the head of the Studebaker organization; and as head of the Studebaker organization he became president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and it gave him quite a forum to appear before the public and demonstrate a type of leadership that was thought to be what was needed here in his personality, and in his ability to talk with people, to compromise, to organize. I think probably that was it.

HESS: How would you evaluate his effectiveness as head of ECA?

SNYDER: Well, at the time he did a very good job. We can always look back and make suggestions

[1188]

or criticisms, or recommendations, but at the time that he took it over I think he did do a very good job in getting it started.

HESS: Was he a Republican?

SNYDER: Yes.

HESS: I have heard that one of the requirements that Senator [Arthur H.] Vandenberg made of President Truman for his support in these matters was that the head of the ECA would be a Republican. Is that true?

SNYDER: I don't know whether it ever got that pointed. There was quite a bit of talk that a so-called avid, liberal Democrat should not be put at the head of it, but that it should be headed by a conservative businessman. That was talk. I think that it was the matter of trying to select a man who had a reputation and a name and was

[1189]

fairly well-known that really swayed the choice. I know that they decided that they did not want to put a political leader in charge of it, for the reason that it was a business operation, largely, and they wanted a man who could call on business leaders. You see, another very strong factor in the selection of Mr. Hoffman was the fact that he could put his finger on so many leaders who were used to organizing companies, industries, big merchandising operations, because we were going to have to put men who could take hold of a situation, size up local conditions as the heads of these various communities in the ECA, and Mr. Hoffman had the contact and the ability to draw that type of men into this program. This was another factor in his favor.

HESS: Do you recall who else was under consideration during this time?

[1190]

SNYDER: No, I don't.

HESS: Concerning the Marshall plan, before it was instituted, what members of the foreign governments were thought to be the best to work with and through in setting up such a plan?

SNYDER: Well, I think that the ones that we looked to, more than any others, were the British, Belgian, and French.

HESS: Any particular reasons for selecting those nations?

SNYDER: I didn't say they were selected. I said that they were the most effective because of experience in finance, and their knowledge. You see, there was a great deal of financial operation involved in this, of the international type, and there were exchange problems involved; and so, you see, Italy had been an enemy, and

[1191]

therefore we didn't have quite the accord there, although they had some very fine Italian leaders, and we later used them a great deal. Of course, the Greeks, the Turks, had good men, but for the financial community and for the ones who could take hold, the real leadership we looked to, I think, was largely Great Britain, Belgium, France; and later we did use some of the other countries' leaders. But you asked the question of which countries did we look to principally.

HESS: How great was the risk at that time, that the Communist nations, the nations of the Communist bloc, would also join in the Marshall plan and drain great amounts of aid to their countries, and to the Communist bloc.

SNYDER: Well, I don't think there was any great concern about that. They were invited to take part. They were invited into the World Bank.

[1192]

But it required certain actions on their part to reveal what their monetary plans were, and what their economic plans were, and they weren't going to do that, so we had no real concern that that would ever happen, that they would join and draw off great amounts of aid. We had already had an example of that in our program of assistance to them prior to the end of the war, you know.

HESS: Just as a matter of pure conjecture, but wouldn't it have been possible for them to submit a false set of economic plans?

SNYDER: I don't think that their imagination had reached that point at that time.

HESS: They didn't have as much imagination as I do, is that right?

The next subject that I have concerns point 4, do you want to cover that today or

[1193]

wait until next week?

SNYDER: I'd rather wait until next week.

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