Browse Documents

Featured Documents

    • Note - Citation Marshall Papers with box number and folder refers to the George C. Marshall Papers, George C. Marshall Library, Lexington Virginia.

Marshall Plan Information

The Marshall Plan Speech

Drafting the Marshall Plan Speech

  • Secretary of State Marshall gave Charles E. Bohlen, Soviet expert and Secretary Marshall's interpreter, copies of William L. Clayton's "The European Crisis" memorandum and the Policy Planning Staff's recommendation dealing with the question of aid to western Europe. Bohlen then "prepared the first draft of the address, adding a few thoughts of my own. The speech was reworked by Marshall himself before the final version." Charles E. Bohlen. The Transformation of American Foreign Policy; (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1969), 89.
  • George F. Kennan, the influential Director of the Policy Planning Staff, delivered a talk, "Problems of U.S. Foreign Policy after Moscow," at the National War College that he stated "gives a good idea of the way things looked to me at the very moment of the establishment of the Policy Planning Staff." The May 6, 1947 talk was delivered "two and a half weeks before the Staff's recommendation were submitted to General Marshall."

European Response to the Marshall Plan Speech

The September 22, 1947 Conference Report of the Committee of European Economic Co-Operation, a reply to "Mr. Marshall in response to your speech at Harvard on the 5th June." Also available at U.S. AID.

Studies Prior to Implementation of the Marshall Plan

Committee Reports

    • European Recovery and American Aid - The "Harriman Committee" report by the President's Committee on Foreign Aid. The committee "was asked to determine the limits within which the United States could safely and wisely extend aid to Western Europe." Republican Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg (Chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committee) stated that the Harriman Committee's "ultimate report is one of the most comprehensive ever made to a public problem.”

Messages, Reports, Speeches, and Statements in Support of the Passage of the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948 (The Marshall Plan)


  • Special Message to the Congress on the Marshall Plan - Message to Congress by President Harry S. Truman; delivered to Congress, December 19, 1947. (Truman Library)
    • "I recommend this program of the United States support for European recovery to the Congress in full confidence of its wisdom and necessity as a major step in our nation's quest for a just and lasting peace."


  • Economic Recovery Program, Report of the Committee on Foreign Relations, February 26, 1948, (80th Congress).
    • "The committee believes that the program proposed is a sound one, that it will impose no dangerous strain upon the economy of the United States, and that it will be adequate to provide the margin for success in an effort which must be essentially and primarily European."



  • Statement of the Secretary of State before the Joint Session of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, November 10, 1947. Reading copy, Dept. of State Press Release, transcription (Marshall Papers, VIII, Secretary of State, Speeches and Statements, Box 157, Folder 65)
    • "The President will lay before the Congress the program
      of his administration for aid to Europe. My duty as Secretary of State is to present the reasons for this program; the reasons why I profoundly believe that the vital interest of the United States is directly involved."

  • Statement by Herbert Hoover to Speaker Joseph W. Martin, on March 24, 1948.
    • "I realize that many approach this gigantic experiment with great apprehension and a realization of the sacrifices it will mean to our people. 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." (Compare with January 18, 1948 letter in opposition to Senator Vandenberg.)

Letters and Statements in Opposition to the Passage of the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948 (The Marshall Plan)


  • Letter from Herbert Hoover to Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, January 18, 1948
    • "Whether the American Economy can stand a burden of 9 billions of relief in this 15 months must arouse great anxiety."


  • U.S. William E. Jenner, Indiana, Republican, February 3, 1948 (Congressional Record, 80th Congress, Second Session, Vol 94 Part 1, January 6, 1948 to February 19, 1948, pp 963-966)
    • "I would resolutely oppose the doctrine of the welfare state both at home and abroad and would therefore extend loans or grants only on terms and under conditions that make the solvency of the borrower certain and the repayment of a fair and equitable consideration to the United States an equal

The "Foreign Assistance Act of 1948"

  • The Act, also cited as the "Economic Cooperation Act of 1948", (April 3, 1948); 80th Congress, 2D Session. The Senate voted for passage of the Act 69 to 17 and the House 329 to 74. (Survey of United States Foreign Economic Cooperation since 1945 by David Cushman Coyle (New York: The Church Peace Union, 1957, 12).
  • The Marshall Plan - Images of the first and last pages of the law, "The Foreign Assistance Act of 1948," most commonly known as the Marshall Plan. (National Archives).
  • Summary of the Legislation for the "Foreign Assistance Act 1948" - The World Bank, April 8, 1948.

How the Economic Cooperation Act of 1948 Worked

  • "The Economic Cooperation Act of 1948" - Extensively footnoted 48-page 1948 California Law Review article that examines "the broad outlines of the Act and probable questions of interpretation which have arisen or will arise."
  • "The Marshall Plan and How it Works" - The article, filed in the Marshall Research Library Pamphlet Collection, analyzes the Act's administrative procedures and the responsibilities of staff. The original version has been revised with footnotes and photographs.

How the Economic Cooperation Administration Administered the Act

  • "The Economic Cooperation Administration" (1948) - Organization and Activities (United States Government Manual -1948, 68-72)
  • ECA Organization Chart (1950-1951) - (United States Government Organization Manual-1950-1951, 511)
  • "The Economic Cooperation Administration" (1950-1951)- (United States Government Organization Manual-1950-1951,  299-303). Sections on Functions, Public Advisory Board, and U.S. Special Representative in Europe. Note changes to and additions to staff since 1948.
  • ECA Organization Chart (1951-1952) - (United States Government Organization Manual-1951-1952, 565). Note changes since 1951 including the addition of the Assistant for International Security Affairs who reported directly to the Administrator.
  • "The Economic Cooperation Administration" (1951-1952) - (United States Government Organization Manual-1951-1952 323-326). NOTE: On October 10, 1951 the Mutual Security Act of 1951 was adopted. The new legislation abolished the ECA and established in its place the Mutual Security Agency.
  • Mutual Security Agency Organization Chart - (United States Government Organization Manual-1952-1953, 592).
  • "The Mutual Security Agency" (1952-1953) - (United States Government Organization Manual-1952-1953, 437-439). The Mutual Security Agency had "primary responsibility for the development and administration of defense support and economic assistance." In Europe the main emphasis was on "working with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization." (See Creation and Authority, p 438)

History of the Marshall Plan

Background of the Marshall Plan


Introduction and Chronology of the Marshall Plan from June 5 to November 5, 1947 - Thorsten V. Kalijarvi. (U.S. Library of Congress Legislative Reference Service) November 6, 1947. Chronology with excellent coverage of the committees established by President Truman and House of Representatives to analyze the initial report of the Committee of European Economic Co-operation and study the impact on the U.S. economy of aid to Western Europe.

Interviews with and Documents and Memoranda from State Department Officials

  • Origins of the Marshall Plan - Memorandum by Charles P. Kindleberger, Chief of the Division of German and Austrian Economic Affairs, Department of State. The memorandum is published in the Foreign Relations of the United States 1947. The British Commonwealth; Europe, Volume III, 241-247.
  • Secretary of State George C. Marshall - Interviews
    • October 30, 1952 and February 18, 1953 (George C. Marshall Research Library, Harry B. Price Papers, Box 3 Folder 24) In the October interview Secretary of State Marshall states the his greatest fear to domestic acceptance of the proposal was an "adverse reaction from the Mid-West."
  • Dean Acheson, Undersecretary of State
  • Charles E. Bohlen, Counselor of State Department, Russian translator for Presidents Roosevelt and Truman and Secretary Marshall, and drafter of the Marshall Plan Speech
  • George F. Kennan, Director of the Policy Planning Staff, Department of State
    • Memoranda of Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs William L. Clayton
      • Memorandum on the Creation of a National Council of Defense dated March 5, 1947. Transcription of a George C. Marshall Research Library copy of the original handwritten memorandum; see also Selected Papers of Will Clayton; edited by Frederick J. Dobney, (The Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1971), 198-200. According to Greg Behrman, the memorandum “marked the first high-level call for a concerted U.S. program for European Recovery." Clayton called for "an appropriation of $5 billion in the first year, presumably to be followed by comparable and tapering amounts for several years to follow.” Greg Behrman. The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe; (New York: Free Press, 2007), 54.
      • The European Crisis - May 1947 memorandum sent to Under Secretary of State Acheson: in the memo Clayton states, “Millions of people in the cities are slowly starving;” if the standard of living is not improved, “there will be revolution.” Portions of this memo were integrated into The Marshall Plan Speech. The memorandum is published in the Foreign Relations of the United States 1947. The British Commonwealth; Europe, Volume III, 230-232.


  • Special
      • Leonard Miall interviewed by Barbara Vandegrift of the Marshall Foundation - British Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Leonard Miall's June 5, 1947 broadcast, "American Commentary," about Secretary Marshall's speech at Harvard, "was actually heard by Ernest Bevin, the British Foreign Secretary." Bevin said Marshall's speech, "was like a lifeline to a sinking man, It seemed to bring hope where there was none."

Scholarly Articles

Marshall Plan Funding Statistics

Relevance of the Marshall Plan Today




Transcripts of the following Congressional Testimonies are available at the Marshall Library and online at the Marshall Foundation Digital Library.

  • Table of Contents
  • March 3, 1947 - Department of State Appropriations - House
  • March 4, 1947 - Peace Treaties - Senate
  • May 16, 1947 - US Information and Educational Exchange Act - House
  • May 28, 1947 - Saint Lawrence Seaway - Senate
  • June 03, 1947 - Military Missions - House
  • June 10, 1947 - Budget Reductions - Senate
  • June 10, 1947 - Ship Sale Act Amendment - House
  • June 23, 1947 - Inter-America Military Cooperation - House
  • July 2, 1947 - Information and Education Exchange Act - Senate
  • July 7, 1947 - Trusteeship Pacific Island - Senate
  • July 16, 1947 - Admitting Displaced Persons into the US - House (Marshall Asks for Aid for Displaced Persons - related Quicktime movie)
  • November 10, 1947 - Interim Aid for Europe - Senate (Marshall requests Interim Aid for Europe - related Quicktime movie)
  • November 10, 1947 - Emergency Foreign Aid - House
  • January 8, 1948 - European Recovery Program - Senate (Marshall Testimony for the Congress - related Quicktime movie)
  • January 12, 1948 - Postwar Recovery - House
  • January 26, 1948 - Department of State Appropriations Fiscal Year 1949 - House
  • February 20, 1948 - Postwar Recovery - House
  • February 20, 1948 - Aid to China - House
  • March 3, 1948 - Postwar Recovery - House
  • March 17, 1948 - UMT - Senate
  • March 23, 1948 - State Department Appropriations Fiscal Year 1949 - Senate
  • May 5, 1948 - United Nations relations with United States
  • May 6, 1948 - Trade Agreements Program - House
  • June 11, 1948 - ECA appropriation - Senate
  • August 1, 1949 - Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949 - House
  • October 21, 1949 - Unified National Defense Program
  • June 7, 1950 - Amendment of Mutual Assistance Act of 1949 - House
  • June 7, 1950 - Amendment of Mutual Assistance Act of 1949 - Senate

Other Documents

Army Country Guides: These small pocket-sized pamphlets were given to soldiers before they were posted overseas. They include cultural, political, geographic, and climatological information plus useful phrases in the country's language. The guides reflected official American views about the country and its society as well as the writers' occasional touch of humor. Our collection includes volumes from Iraq, Iran, Syria, the USSR, North and West Africa, Morocco, Australia, India, and a lively volume entitled 112 Gripes about the French!


What the Soldier Thinks: This collection consists of sixteen issues of a monthly confidential report conducted by professional opinion researchers at General Marshall's behest. Marshall commissioned this work over the objections of numerous high-ranking officers. Marshall sought to prevent morale and social problems from being ignored until they became significant political issues damaging to the army and the war effort.

Section Directory

Search the Online Card Catalog