Phelps, D. Maynard Papers

Dates: 1945-1979; Bulk Dates: 1945-1949

Deputy U.S. Representative, Allied Commission on Reparations, 1945-46; Deputy U.S. Delegate, Paris Conference on Reparations, 1945; U.S. Representative, Inter-Allied Reparation Agency, 1946

The papers of D. Maynard Phelps primarily pertain to German reparations after World War II and related issues.. The collection consists almost entirely of printed materials, including published reports, excerpts from the Department of State Bulletin, and newspaper clippings. Also included is a 1979 speech by Phelps on postwar German reparations.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


Size: Less than one half of one linear foot (approx. 600 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: The Truman Library has received no donation of copyright in the Papers of D. Maynard Phelps. Documents created by U.S. government employees in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in any other writings in this collection presumably remains with the authors of the documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: C.W. Ohrvall (1980).
Updated by: Brad Houston (2003) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and Amy Williams.

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1897 (May 8)


Born, Manton, Michigan



A.B., University of Michigan



M.B.A., University of Michigan; Instructor of Business Administration, University of Michigan



Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Business Administration, University of Michigan



Ph.D., University of Michigan

1934 (February 6)


Married Mildred Irene Hendrick



Author, Migration of Industry to South America



Received leave of absence from the University of Michigan to assume position in State Department



Associate Chief, Division of Financial and Monetary Affairs, Department of State



Member, Rosenman Mission to Western Europe



Deputy U.S. Representative, Allied Commission on Reparations; Deputy U.S. Delegate, Paris Conference on Reparations; Acting Director, Office of Financial and Development Policy, Department of State; Chief, Division of Foreign Economic Development, Department of State.



U.S. Representative, Inter-Allied Reparation Agency



Returned to Professorship at University of Michigan



Author, Sales Management, Policies, and Procedures



Author, Rubber Developments in Latin America



Retired to Professor Emeritus status

1993 (January 1)


Died, Ann Arbor, Michigan

[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


The papers of D. Maynard Phelps are comprised almost exclusively of printed material, including reports, articles, excerpts from the State Department Bulletin, speech drafts, and newspaper clippings relating to Phelps’ work with the State Department during and after World War II. Although Phelps officially worked with the State Department from 1942 to 1946, the collection at the Truman Library does not begin until 1945, when Phelps began working with European officials to survey post-war Europe and set reparations policy for the defeated Germany. Moreover, much of the collection extends to 1947-1949, by which time Phelps had already returned to the University of Michigan. Presumably, Phelps maintained an interest in reparations proceedings even after leaving his post to resume teaching, and continued to receive and collect State Department Bulletins and the reports of the Inter-Allied Reparation Agency (IARA). The collection is comprised of approximately 600 pages and includes three series: an Articles and Reports File, a Speech File, and a Clipping File.

The Articles and Reports File makes up most of the Phelps collection, and is comprised of published reports, excerpts from the Department of State Bulletin, an article by Phelps from the Michigan Alumni Quarterly Review, and other items dealing with reparations policy in Europe from 1945-61, with the bulk of the material dating between 1945 and 1948. Many of the reports and articles also deal with foreign policy issues directly related to German reparations, such as United States-Soviet Union relations, European recovery and the beginnings of the Marshall Plan, and diplomatic conflicts over the division of Germany that would eventually contribute to the Cold War. Of particular interest are newsletters by the American Association for a Democratic Germany, which present a non-partisan, non-governmental criticism of the Allied reparation policy, as well as the article by Phelps, in which the roots of the United States-Soviet Union conflict are explored in great detail. The “Memorandum on the Provisions of the Berlin Protocol Relating to Reparations”, produced by the U.S. delegation to the Allied Commission on Reparations also provides a useful summary of reparations policy. 

The Speech File consists of one item, a speech delivered by Phelps to the Dunworkin Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan in September of 1979 entitled “German Reparations and Restitution after World War II.” The speech serves as an effective summary of the reparations proceedings against Germany, and includes descriptions of the Rosenman Mission to liberated Europe (of which Phelps was a part), the Paris Conference on Reparations, and the actual implementation of the reparations by IARA. Phelps also attempts to address the reasons for the ultimate failure of the reparations program in Germany in the latter half of the speech, an explanation that again illustrates the budding conflict between the U.S. and the USSR. 

The Clipping File on Reparation consists of newspaper clippings, and a few magazine articles, from 1946-49, again mostly referring to reparations policy in post-war Europe but also containing some information about Japanese reparations. For the most part, the clippings do not refer to Phelps’ own work in setting this policy, but to that of his successors on the IARA and other reparations groups. The file is largely a chronicle of the face-off between the Soviet Union and the West in the reparations and German partitioning context, as most of the clippings deal with the friction between the two European blocs on the amount and division of reparations, the interpretation of the Potsdam accords, and other such precursors to the Cold War. There are also a large number of articles referring to the dismantling of German factories, a program stipulated in the Potsdam agreement on which American leadership was divided until the end of the program in November 1949. The Marshall Plan, while not specifically the subject of any of the clippings, also receives frequent mention in conjunction with reparations policy.

Materials in the Harry S. Truman Papers relating to the D. Maynard Phelps Papers include series in the Official File (OF198, OF198d, OF 295, OF 85c), the General File (Germany), and the Confidential File (Subject File and State Department File). Other holdings of the Truman Library that may be relevant include the papers of George M. Elsey, Abijah U. Fox, Paul G. Hoffman, Charles P. Kindleberger, and Samuel I. Rosenman. Numerous oral history interviews at the Truman Library may also be useful, including those of Josiah E. DuBois, Merrill C. Gay, Isador Lubin, James W. Riddleberger, Gustav Adolf Sonnenhol,