Oral History Interview with
Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the
Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), 1949-52.
November 12, 1970
by Theodore A. Wilson
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview
Transcript| Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]
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
Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript
indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral
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 It may not be published in full except by permission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 April, 1989
Harry S. Truman Library
[Top of the Page | Notices
and Restrictions | Interview Transcript
| Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]
Oral History Interview with
November 12, 1970
by Theodore A. Wilson
QUESTION: Would you describe the political, economic and social climates
into which United States aid was introduced?
HARKORT: When in 1947 Secretary of State Marshall announced the Marshall
Plan, the war in Europe had been over for two years.
The Potsdam Conference had divided the German "Reich" into four zones.
Contrary to the conference provisions, the Allies had not succeeded in
preserving -- even loosely -- an economic unity. In fact, the Soviet Occupying
Power sealed off its zone completely, demanding from it high reparations
and organizing it according to Soviet ideas. On January 1st, 1947 the
British and American Zones had been joined together economically to form
the Bizone; the
French Zone however, remained separate and on its own. A political amalgamation
of only the three Western Occupation Zones loomed very remote at that
In the preceding very, cold winter of 1946-47 food and heating supplies
to the population had dropped to their lowest point.
Industrial production in 1947 was stagnant at a very low level: vis-a-vis
1936, coal at 70 percent, iron and steel at 25 percent, machinery and
optical instruments at 40 percent, textiles a little over 30 percent (Bizone
Joint Report, September 1948, pp. 72-74).
It is true that exports (of the three Western Zones and Berlin West)
in 1947 amounted to $318 million which was $112 million higher than in
1946, but half of this amount consisted of coal; another quarter was made
up of other raw materials (coal and wood were compulsory export items)
and only 10 percent were manufactured goods. Imports amounting to $843
million were $155 million higher than in 1946, of which only $243 million
were financed through Germany's own import proceeds. (Wiederaufbau
(Recovery)), p. 79).
The currency reform had not yet taken place; the new currency, the "Deutsche
Mark," was not introduced until a full year after Marshall's speech on
June 21, 1948. Thus, we might say that it took a very, long time until
the foundation was laid for a recovery of the German economy. The dismantling
process was continuing, even though in the summer of 1947 a new directive
from the Chiefs of Staff had reduced the number of factories and other
establishments to be dismantled.
By the end of 1947 a total of eight million expellees and refugees had
poured into the West Zone. (St. Jb., 1952, p. 30)
In summary: the Marshall Plan aid reached West Germany in the middle
of a political and economic predicament which in essence did not differ
greatly from the catastrophic condition immediately following the end
of the war. This climate of stagnation in misery, of hopelessness and
despair, could not have endured much longer. The fact that no social disturbances
arose may have had three reasons: Everyone was fully occupied in keeping
his family and himself alive from day-to-day; distress and privation were
general and evenly distributed,
with only a very few faring relatively better; and resignation and the
need for rest were widespread, as well.
QUESTION: What economic problems did you consider most serious and urgent?
HARKORT: The most urgent problem was the importation of foodstuffs and
raw materials to afford the chance of resuming and raising production.
For a solution, foreign currency was lacking -- and this lack was compensated
for by the dollars of the Marshall Plan aid. At the same time it behooved
Germany to increase her imports as quickly as possible and earn her own
foreign exchange. Therefore, a liberal trade policy, a liberal economic
policy, and a policy of strict price stabilization were advisable.
Import figures for the later area of the Federal Republic (with Berlin
West) amounted to only $689 million in 1946, reaching $2.237 billion in
1949. Respectively, 68 percent, 71 percent, 65 percent and 43 percent
of imports during these four years were financed through the foreign aid.
Without foreign aid, increased imports and consequently a rise in German
production would not
have been feasible. German exports in the first three years were substantially
less than the amounts of foreign aid. (Recovery, p. 79)
QUESTION: Did American representatives hold different views of the situation?
HARKORT: Differences of opinion did exist. In 1951, under the effect
of the balance-of-payments crisis, the ERP representative at the German
Federal Government, Mr. Jean Cattier, who had only recently arrived in
Germany, demanded the reintroduction of exchange control measures. On
the German side there was little willingness to acquiesce, in spite of
the prospect of an early end to the aid program. In the fall of 1951 there
was a report by Professors Hansen and Musgrave which became known to the
public only much later and which Professor Erhard firmly rejected. The
American professors were recommending an economic policy of credit expansion,
putting up with the danger of stronger price increases than Professor
Erhard deemed acceptable.
QUESTION: What were the conditions which you, your government,
believed were necessary for the achievement of complete recovery?
HARKORT: If West Germany's economy was to get going again, i.e., if it
was to be reconstructed, the German view considered the following to be
necessary: an increase in production of goods and services in all areas;
a rise in productivity; large-scale return and new investments; an increase
in exports; an only limited increase in consumption in the less vital
areas in order to facilitate capital buildup; a currency reform in order
to create a stable new currency in lieu of the inoperable "reichsmark."
QUESTION: How was "recovery" defined?
HARKORT: The recovery, as envisioned by the Germans in 1947, did not
set any high goals for itself. No one had thought that the standard of
living of the prewar era could be reached again in the foreseeable future;
the starting condition did not permit such hopes. What people did strive
for was a certain prosperity sufficient to enjoy social peace at home
and to ward off extreme political systems. And even such a state of affairs,
it was believed, could not be reached without foreign assistance over
Moreover, the return to a gross national product as high as in 1936 would
have made possible only a substantially lower standard of living per capita,
in view of the influx -- by 1947 --of eight million refugees, in view
of the annihilation and dismantling of manufacturing plants, and in view
of the destroyed cities and dwellings.
The American authorities themselves were far from being optimistic. In
Country Studies XVII Western Germany (1948) p. 41, it says: "The
recovery program for Germany assumes an austere standard of living throughout
the entire period....because food consumption per capita will be only
about 80 percent of the prewar figure, the population will be about 25
percent greater, and housing will be considerably below prewar."
QUESTION: What were the most serious obstacles to recovery and to further
economic development in your country?
HARKORT: The most significant obstacles to the economic recovery of West
Germany were the following: 1. The division of Germany, which had dismembered
a uniform economic body.
According to an estimation by the OEEC, the trade of the area of the
Federal Republic with the remaining parts of Germany in 1936 amounted
to 4.4 billion reichsmark, whereas the turnover in interzonal trade (1950)
was only 670 million DM. (Fdnf Jahre, ((Five Years)), p.
30; Stat. Jb, 1952, p. 233) The Western Zones had been severed in particular
from the agricultural surplus areas of Middle and East Germany. Of the
total production of the German "Reich," the three Western zones' share
in percentage figures was: sugar beets 32, rye 41, potatoes 42, wheat
52, hogs 53, milk 59, cattle 62 (Five Years, p. 14). The bulk of
some branches of industry (brown coal, clothing, optics, electrical industry,
glass, ceramics, paper) had also been located in German districts outside
the Western zones.
2. The destruction of numerous production plants in the war (about.12
percent vis-a-vis 1938), and their reduction by dismantling (8 percent)
[Five Years, p. 32]. [Also, there was] a wrong structuralization
by force of the war economy; enormous wear and tear which had not yet
been replaced; and obsolescence.
3. The lack of raw material to the extent that even those production
plants left intact could not be operated.
4. For this reason and because of less efficient work performance (famine,
lack of housing and heating, occupation with providing survival-level
needs) there was a very low job productivity.
5. No foreign currency to finance the most necessary imports. Very little
export, ironically consisting -- above all -- of coal, wood, and scrap
metal which would have been in urgent demand for the country's own reconstruction.
6. Eight million utterly destitute expellees and refugees; later, even
more arrived (in 1952, approximately 20 percent of the total population).
7. A currency which had become unable to function and with which practically
only rationed goods, rent and taxes could be paid. No incentive to earn
more money by increased efficiency.
8. Money in extremely short supply; no money market.
QUESTION: In all of the countries included in the European Recovery Program?
HARKORT: In all European countries, to which the ERP provided
aid, the central problem was the "dollar gap": the term for the lack
of that one foreign currency with which alone one could acquire the necessary
food, industrial raw material, fuel, fertilizer, etc. Even where actual
war destruction was relatively slight, industry found itself in a run-down
state due to the war; it was obsolete, its structure distorted. It would
have taken a long, long time for a country to once again produce enough
by its own efforts in order to defray the cost of imports from self-earned
means. The governments would have had to adhere to a regime of austerity
that probably might have been beyond people's strength.
QUESTION: What were the most significant political, economic, and social
conditions within your country which contributed to recovery and to economic
HARKORT: The most important factor for the success of foreign aid was
the willingness on the part of the Germans to find their way back to a
halfway normal standard of living.
Millions of people had been bombed out, millions had fled. Whoever had
salvaged his house saw his pecuniary assets worthless, his stockholdings
devaluated. Food and rudimentary
supplies left everything to be desired, neither matches nor sewing cotton
being available at the outset. As late as 1948, six million households
did not have their own living quarters, versus 0.8 million in 1936 (Five
Years p. 15). The desire to change this situation as quickly as possible
aroused every bit of work energy of an industrious people. It was clear
to every individual, even to the trade unions, that the primary concern
was increased production. Everything else had to wait.
Likewise, the German authorities (Professor Erhard) viewed as their main
task the unfettering of every productive force in the country; more elbowroom
was given to private initiative, and economic and financial policies were
organized so that private initiative became worthwhile.
The refugees and expellees, posing at first seemingly unsolvable problems,
in later years formed a reservoir of ready and willing workers, such as
no other European country had available.
QUESTION: In those states included in the European Recovery Program?
HARKORT: The reasons for the success of ERP aid in the other
European countries were on principle the same as those applied to Germany,
the urgent desire to return to normal conditions and to work for it. But
nowhere were the hardship and privations as acute as in Germany, and therefore
nowhere the readiness for hard work so general and constant. Also, the
psychological situation of nations who felt themselves to be victors was
quite different. The Germans knew that they had to start from the. very
beginning and that without the utmost efforts of their own they would
not regain a lifestyle worthy of human beings.
In 1948 industrial production reached only 52 percent of the 1938 level;
by way of comparison, in Great Britain it was 116 percent, in France 110
percent, in Italy 99 percent (Five Years, p. 31).
As late as 1949 the export volume index (1936 = 100) amounted to 37,
compared to Great Britain's 146, Italy's 131 (St. Jb. 1952, p. 61*).
QUESTION: What were your expectations regarding the nature, extent, and
duration of United States aid at the end of the war?
HARKORT: This question can be directed only to the inhabitants
of the countries allied with the United States. The Germans, at the end
of the war, were not expecting any American aid; they could not expect
it. Our hopes were much more limited; no excessive war indemnities and
dismantling, not too much compulsory exportation, no excessive interference
-- of the inexpert or inexpedient kind -- in our way of organizing and
restarting the economy.
QUESTION: At the time of Secretary of State Marshall's speech in June,
HARKORT: When two years later, in June 1947, Secretary of State Marshall
presented his plan, the situation was substantially different. We knew
that the Americans were interested in Germany's economic recovery for
political, economic and humanitarian reasons. They had realized -- and
we were aware of it -- that they were not giving the European recovery
a chance without including an economic recovery in Germany.
QUESTION: At the beginning of the war in Korea?
HARKORT: When the Korean war broke out, the American relief measures
were in full swing. We did not assume that the demands
of the war would lead to a suspension of the ERP; we knew, however, that
it was going to be difficult to the American Government to get the ERP
funds appropriated by Congress. We certainly, then , overestimated the
time during which we would be urgently dependent upon American aid. The
aftermath of the war itself, creating a demand for German goods in markets
all over the world, contributed to reducing the time in which we needed
QUESTION: Do you believe the aid program of the Truman administration
facilitated the economic and political union of Europe? If so, in what
ways. Was it the serious intent of the U.S. Government that they do so?
HARKORT: It is absolutely indisputable that the Marshall plan with its
emphasis on Europe's economic cooperation and with its practical initiative,
which led to the establishment of the OEEC, did provide the decisive thrust
towards all further integration efforts.
Only Churchill's famous Zurich Speech of September 19, 1947 took place
prior to the foundation of the OEEC (April 1948)-but even that event came
after Marshall's Harvard Speech. The agreement over the Council of Europe
go into effect until August 1949. All the remaining developments, particularly
the establishment of the EWG, followed only later.
The impulses emanating from the Marshall Plan were by their nature more
effective for an economic integration and less significant for the political
unification of Europe. Whatever progress was made in the purely political
field received its impulses also from the foundation of the NATO and from
ideological motives of Europe's self-consciousness.
The OEEC for the first time brought together the European governments
for economic cooperation, taught them the methods of such cooperation,
shifted the discussion from the political to the professional sphere,
showed them the first successes and made them expect even greater ones.
I am convinced that the American Government meant what it was saying
when it urged the Europeans to economic cooperation. The more quickly
and the more intensively it was brought about, the earlier Western Europe
had to regain its economic vitality ("viability" it was called then) and
become independent of American aid. Worries about worrisome
competition from an economically integrated Europe were quite remote
at that time.
QUESTION: Did you view United States economic aid as primarily anti-Communist
HARKORT: General Marshall had not excluded originally the participation
of the communist states of Europe and the Soviet occupation zone of Germany.
They excluded themselves -- at Soviet request. Thus the basic conception
of the plan was probably not anti-Communist. If it was later misconstrued
as such, then through Soviet fault.
Which is not to convey the idea that General Marshall and the American
Government did not expect from their proposal a safeguard of Western Europe's
political stability -- independence, liberty and democratic institutions
-- and a strengthening of American influence and of American prestige;
even beyond the Iron Curtain, if for instance Czechoslovakia, Poland,
Hungary had participated.
It is true, however, that with the Korean war defense against communism
shifted decidedly to the foreground; instead of recovery, it was now mutual
QUESTION: What were the broad motives of the Truman administration in
providing this assistance?
HARKORT: Like all government decisions, surely also Truman's decision
was the result of a good number of motives.
Probably the crucial point of view was that Western Europe had to become
economically viable again. The entire area had to be politically and economically
stabilized if it was not to remain permanently dependent upon American
economic aid, if in the long run it was to be again a receptive market
for American goods, if it was to become a politically valuable partner
of America. This had to happen relatively fast. Therefore, a big campaign
was much more expedient than an ongoing modest subsidy. Only a spectacular
program could get the Europeans to understand that American aid was help
for self-help and to make the decision for cooperation, not only with
the Americans but also among one another.
Secondly, the short-term securing of sales in certain American economic
branches, e.g. agriculture and maritime shipping, were [in effect] advocating
the plan (Nourse Report). The Foreign Assistance Act of 1948 prescribed
that 50 percent of the delivered goods were to be transported on American
ships; 25 percent of the delivered wheat had to be purchased as wheat
Thirdly, there was also no lack of purely humanitarian motives.
QUESTION: Would you comment upon the effects of the aid program in the
overseas dependencies of European nations?
HARKORT: On the German side there is little knowledge about the effect
of the Marshall Plan on the Dependencies of Great Britain, France, Italy.
The recovery of the mother countries quite certainly brought along increased
imports from the overseas Dependencies, facilitated deliveries to the
colonies, which they had been unable to before, and even gave them a chance
to financially support their colonies.
QUESTION: What, in your view, were the most serious difficulties anticipated
and experienced regarding cooperation among the nations receiving aid?
HARKORT: The cooperation among the European governments, as desired and
initiated by the American Government, met
with two principal difficulties: The European nations were not at all
accustomed to such a cooperation. Today there are numerous international
and European organizations. Ministers and officials are familiar with
the procedures and the possibilities of international cooperation; they
are backed up by experienced international secretariats. When the OEEC
came into being, all this had to be learned first.
One of the most important early tasks of the OEEC was to divide up the
American aid among the European nations. Even in the oldest and most experienced
organizations, a dividing process of this kind belongs with the most difficult
of chores. Here, a young fledgling organization had to cope with it.
Differences of opinion perceivable from the beginning with regard to
the desirable degree of European integration produced a disturbing effect,
the British mostly wanting less than many others. The OEEC could pass
resolutions only unanimously. While this is the case with most international
organizations, it made the job of the OEEC especially difficult: the crucial
issue was to come to a decision quickly.
Also, the presence of German representatives was at the outset something
which people had to get accustomed to.
QUESTION: Were you kept informed regarding the influence of domestic
considerations within the United States (the role of Congress and of public
opinion especially) upon the Marshall Plan and other aid programs?
HARKORT: Starting in autumn 1949 I was a member of the German delegation
on the Marshall Plan in Washington and thus had the opportunity -- in
Washington very little remains secret -- to observe the influence of the
different Government organs, of public opinion and of interest groups.
The German representatives reported on it to their government. German
public opinion was definitely less well informed than if the Marshall
Plan were carried out today; there were hardly any German correspondents
in the USA as yet. But even in Germany it was generally known for example
that we were obliged to request tobacco in our programs, although we ascribed
to it a lesser degree of urgency than to other goods; without the votes
by senators and representatives from the tobacco
growing states, the passing of the appropriation bills was in jeopardy.
It was clear anyhow that American aid was also in the immediate
interest of the American economy, since it opened up additional export
possibilities. The aid was "tied" (in colloquial words: there were "strings
attached"), i.e. the goods had to be imported predominantly from the USA.
The so-called "offshore" purchases were kept within narrow limits (less
than 20 percent). (Recovery, p. 24)
QUESTION: Was the reaction to these aid programs within your country
uniformly favorable? Would you identify any interest group or groups as
being particularly important in creating support for and carrying forward
HARKORT: In the three Western Zones public reaction to the Marshall Plan,
and this is really quite obvious, was unanimously favorable, even enthusiastic.
I have no recollection of any opposition worth mentioning against the
It would be very difficult to single out a group which might have particularly
stood up for an efficacious
realization of the proposed aid. Politicians and officials, the representatives
of the economy and of the trade unions, professors and journalists all
gathered together in support of the program; there were no serious opponents.
QUESTION: Would you describe the mechanics of administering the aid (especially
your role) from the point of view of your country? Were significant changes
required? Did the arrangements put into effect by the Economic Cooperation
Administration require important administrative changes?
HARKORT: The contractual basis for the implementation of the Marshall
Plan in West Germany was above all an agreement arranged in July 1948
between the American Government and the three military governors. Later
came the agreement of December 15, 1949 on economic cooperation between
the American Government and the government of the Federal Republic of
Germany -- by the way the first international agreement concluded by the
new German government. It was supplemented by an exchange of notes in
December 1951 after the establishment of the MSA.
Speaking of myself, from October 1949 through
September 1952, I was an economic adviser with the German representation
[delegates] at the ECA/MSA, Washington. The mission, a field office of
the Federal Ministry for the Marshall Plan, protected German interests
vis-a-vis the Washington authorities. Its tasks were essentially of operative
nature: technical implementation according to directives from Bonn. The
big decisions were made in bilateral government talks or in the OEEC.
The Economic Adviser was not involved in the operations of the mission,
he had to pursue the development of the ERP policy, in the Government
and in Congress, in order to prepare the German government for imminent
decisions. He observed public opinion in the USA with regard to the aid
program. His reports attempted to cover also the political, economic,
financial and monetary scene in America, as a backdrop to the aid policy.
This was all the more necessary because the Federal Republic was represented
in the United States at first only by the mission, no briefings being
available by way of an embassy or consulates. Thus the mission held for
a long time a monopoly of official reporting.
Every week a detailed report went to Bonn, with copies already run in
the mission, to brief the Marshall Plan Ministry and other interested
parties. In addition, there were ad hoc reports as occasion demanded.
At the same time the Economic Adviser acted as consultant for the Chief
of the mission in questions of political economy.
Prior to the establishment of the Federal Republic, the "office of adviser
(Dr. Otto Schniewind) for the Marshall Plan to the Chairman of the Administrative
Board" (of the Bizone) safeguarded the concerns of the ERP. He was assisted
by an "ERP work committee" in which participated, besides the administrations
of the Bizone, also the Bank Deutscher Lander, the trade unions, and expert
authorities. In other respects, the responsible entity in charge of implementation
was the Administration for Economic Systems. Also the other administrations
established ERP reviews of their own. A committee from the L9nder and
administrations secured cooperation with the Lander. The ERP Committee
of the Economic Advisory Council (Parliament of the Bizone) was continually
briefed by the Administrative Board.
In the fall of 1949, during the very structuralization of the Bonn ministries,
a special ministry, the Federal
Ministry for the Marshall Plan, was established; it was to be headed
by Vice-Chancellor Dr. Franz Bldcher (Free Democratic Party). Its areas
of competency were the negotiations over foreign aid, the two foreign
mission at the OEEC (Paris) and at the ECA/MSA (Washington), the domestic
organizations, and also the equivalent resources -- all of it under tight
Allied control. A number of technical tasks were delegated to the ERP
business office. On November 5, 1948 by Act of the Economic Advisory Council,
with government funds and in the character of a public-law corporation,
the "Credit Institution for Reconstruction" (Frankfurt) was established;
its main task became the bank-like distribution of the equivalent resources.
The German organization of ERP aid management proved to be a success.
The facilities created for it have lasted for many long years and still
exist today. The Marshall Plan Ministry, later a Federal Ministry for
economic assets of the country, partly now entrusted with new tasks, but
still managing the ERP budget (equivalent resources), was not dissolved
until the forming of the Brandt administration in autumn of 1969. The
Credit Institution for Reconstruction has become a large state-owned banking
facility, which, besides the distribution of the ERP budget resources,
concerns itself with the long-term financing of exportation. Above all,
Institution was turned into the Development Bank of the Federal Republic
-- for the handling of German monetary assistance to developing countries
-- and more new duties are assigned to it on a continued basis. Two members
of its board of directors, Dr. Martini and Dr. Rieck, had already been
acting in leading positions in the office of adviser for the Marshall
Plan (Bizone), later in the Federal Ministry for the Marshall Plan.
QUESTION: What was the nature of and results of "public relations" efforts
regarding ERP and other programs? Would you comment on the organization
of this effort, their relative success, and which activities were most
HARKORT: The ERP aid was accompanied by a stream of information and publicity,
from both the American and the German side. The Federal Ministry for the
Marshall Plan -- its very establishment and existence under the leadership
of the vice-chancellor had an "advertising" effect -- developed a lively
publicizing activity, from detailed yearly reports to daily press information.
Hardly has a campaign-type action ever encountered such a large response
from German public opinion, none such a thoroughly positive one.
On the American side, it seemed to us, Paul G. Hoffman was little short
of a genius in public relations.
QUESTION: Did the United States aid program have influence upon the political
system and international political alignments of your country? If so,
in what ways? Did U.S. aid serve to strengthen democratic processes by
the general aims? By the methods adopted?
HARKORT: The ERP was one aspect of Washington's slowly evolving policy
to proceed from the suppression of the Germans toward cooperation, towards
alliance, towards friendship with them. Less than two years after Marshall's
speech the Parliamentary Council convened, the Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Germany was agreed upon on May 23, 1949, and Konrad Adenauer
was elected Federal Chancellor on September 16, 1949.
It is only from this moment on that we can speak of an independent German
policy. Its unequivocal orientation towards the West rested on a number
of motives; among them, and playing a part, was America's readiness for
cooperation which was clearly proven with the Marshall Plan.
Numerous reasons, from the direct influence of the Allies up to their
own experiences with national socialism, made democracy appear to the
Germans as the only possible form of government. Except for the Communists
-- who also spoke of democracy, but meant something quite different by
it -- from the beginning all German parties and all
somehow important personalities found themselves in the camp of democracy.
An immediate influence of the ERP program can hardly be demonstrated here.
Only relatively late did its implementation pass over to the German side,
to the Ministry for the Marshall Plan established in the autumn of 1949,
and it even then still remained under strict American control. Aid programs,
by their very nature, cannot directly promote democracy; the relationship
between helper and receiver is too unequal. Notwithstanding, of course,
the ERP aid did support German democracy indirectly; its success repealed
different kinds of radicalism on the right and on the left in a lasting
QUESTION: Do you believe the Americans who carried forward the aid programs
were well prepared for the economic, political and psychological effects
of the aid programs? Would you comment in general upon the ability, knowledge
of European problems, and so forth, of Americans with whom you worked?
HARKORT: The ECA attracted at the outset a large number of knowledgeable,
active people -- this was an opportunity for
a gigantic task, tempting for political, economic, methodical and humanitarian
reasons. Chief ECA representatives combined idealism and pragmatism in
the best sense of the American tradition.
Giving aid to foreign countries is not easy. Whoever wishes to help quickly
and efficiently and who at the same time calls on the receivers for self-help,
needs great persuasive power, ample subject knowledge and a good deal
of psychological skill. On the whole, one might say that the American
personnel of the ECA/MSA did justice to their task.
For aid to Great Britain, France, and Italy the ECA dealt with the governments;
for .aid to the Western Zones of Germany it negotiated in the first instance
with the three military governments, which welcomed advice by German experts,
but made their own decisions regarding the aid program, just like in all
other matters. It is for this reason that Allied, especially American,
personnel was engaged in the organization and implementation of the aid
to a much larger degree than in other countries.
In terms of the quality of the military government personnel, opinions
differ somewhat. All in all, it is
probably fair to say that really good people made efforts to return home
to the United States as quickly as possible; he who saw less opportunity
over there, remained. This is a generalization, exceptions prove the rule.
A relatively large portion of the military government personnel were
German-born individuals who had emigrated during the national socialist
era. If they were able to forget their understandable resentment -- and
many were -- their knowle