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Gunther Harkort Oral History Interview

Oral History Interview with
Gunther Harkort

Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), 1949-52.

Bonn, Germany
November 12, 1970
by Theodore A. Wilson

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript| Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]


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 It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.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 April, 1989
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | Appendix | List of Subjects Discussed]



Oral History Interview with
Gunther Harkort

Bonn, Germany
November 12, 1970
by Theodore A. Wilson

 

[1]

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

 

[2]

French Zone however, remained separate and on its own. A political amalgamation of only the three Western Occupation Zones loomed very remote at that time.

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).

 

[3]

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,

 

[4]

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

 

[5]

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,

 

[6]

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,

 

[7]

it was believed, could not be reached without foreign assistance over many years.

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.

 

[8]

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.

 

[9]

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

 

[10]

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 development?

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

 

[11]

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

 

[12]

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

 

[13]

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, 1947?

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

 

[14]

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 assistance.

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 did not

 

[15]

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

 

[16]

competition from an economically integrated Europe were quite remote at that time.

QUESTION: Did you view United States economic aid as primarily anti-Communist in purpose?

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 security.

 

[17]

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

 

[18]

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 meal.

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

 

[19]

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.

 

[20]

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

 

[21]

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 the program?

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 German participation.

It would be very difficult to single out a group which might have particularly stood up for an efficacious

 

[22]

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

 

[23]

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.

 

[24]

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

 

[25]

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, the

 

[26]

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 successful?

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.

 

[27]

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

 

[28]

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 manner.

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

 

[29]

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

 

[30]

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