Porter, Paul R. Papers

Dates: 1941-1983

Adviser on Labor Affairs to the Allied Control Commission, Germany, 1945; Deputy Chief and Chief, Mission for Economic Affairs, U.S. Embassy, London,1945-1947; Chief, Economic Cooperation Administration Mission to Greece, 1949-1950

The papers of Paul R. Porter primarily relate to the Marshall Plan aid program in Greece. Porter administered this program from September 1949 to November 1950. The collection also contains material relating to U.S. occupation policy in Germany after World War II, the establishment of free trade unions in postwar Germany, and the origins of the Marshall Plan. The papers include letters, memoranda, reports, unpublished memoirs, printed materials, a diary, and other items.

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


Size: 1 linear feet, 9 linear inches (about 3,000 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Paul R. Porter donated his literary property rights in any of his unpublished writings in this collection to the United States government. Documents created by U.S. government officials in the course of their official duties are in the public domain. Copyright interest in other writings in this collection is assumed to remain with the authors of the documents or their heirs.
Processed by: Carol Briley and Dennis Bilger (1983-1984); Carol Briley, Sharie Simon, and Randy Sowell (2002); Randy Sowell (2019).

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


1908 (January 12)


Born, Drexel, Missouri



A.B., University of Kansas



Editor, Kenosha Labor, a labor newspaper in Wisconsin



General Manager, Union Cooperative Publishing Co.

1940 (September 26)


Married Hilda Roberts



Chairman, Shipbuilding Stabilization Committee, War Production Board



Adviser on Labor Affairs, Allied Control Commission, Germany



Deputy Chief and later Chief, Mission for Economic Affairs, U.S. Embassy, London



Chief U.S. Delegate, Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva, Switzerland



Chief, Economic Cooperation Administration Mission to Greece



Assistant Administrator, Economic Cooperation Administration



U.S. Special Representative in Europe for the Marshall Plan



Deputy U.S. Special Representative in Europe, Mutual Security Agency



Director, Porter International Company



Chairman of the Board, Porter International Co.




The Recovery of American Cities

2002 (April 21)


Died, Sarasota, Florida

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


The Paul R. Porter Papers relate to Porter’s government service in Europe in the years after World War II. Perhaps his most important position during this period was with the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), the agency responsible for distributing U.S. aid to Europe under the Marshall Plan. Porter served as chief of the ECA’s aid mission to Greece from September 1949 to November 1950. Most of the collection consists of material relating to the aid program in Greece. The Porter Papers also include information pertaining to U.S. occupation policy in Germany, organized labor in Germany after the war, and the origins of the Marshall Plan. Porter was deeply involved with these issues while serving as a labor adviser to the American military government in Germany in 1945, and as deputy chief and (later) chief of the Mission for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London from 1945 to 1947.

Porter’s own writings make up much of the collection: these include not only letters, memoranda, reports, policy papers, and a diary written during his years in Europe, but also personal memoirs and commentaries written by Porter during the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he was preparing his papers for donation to the Truman Library. Porter also solicited similar recollections and other relevant materials from former colleagues, and added these to the collection.

For the most part, the collection was organized and arranged by Porter himself. During the early 1980s, he donated to the Library three series of papers, which he designated as Group I (concerning German trade unions), Group II (concerning U.S. occupation policy in Germany), and Group IV (concerning economic aid to Greece). Porter intended to donate additional series of papers to the Library (including one series that he planned to designate as Group III), but he never did so. To minimize confusion, the processing archivist has designated certain materials in the collection that relate to the donation and background of the papers as Group III.

Porter’s title for the first series, Group I, was "Conflict Within American Military Government Concerning the Revival of German Trade Unions." Each of the twenty–two items Porter designated for inclusion in the series is filed in its own consecutively-numbered folder. The contents include a memoir by Porter describing his work on labor policy in Germany in 1945, his diary for the period from March to August of 1945, and related correspondence, reports, and printed materials. As documented in this series, Porter strongly supported the early revival of the free trade unions in occupied Germany that had been outlawed under the Nazi regime. His efforts were opposed by other officials in the American military government. Porter suspected some of these officials of Communist sympathies, and believed that they were promoting policies favored by the Soviet Union, policies that were aimed at insuring Communist control of the labor movement in postwar Germany.

Porter’s title for the second series, Group II, was "Criticism of U.S. Occupation Policy in Germany and Origins of the Marshall Plan." Each of the thirteen items Porter designated for inclusion in the series is filed in its own consecutively-numbered folder. The contents include several policy papers written or co-written by Porter in 1946-47, along with some related correspondence. Also included is a memoir by Porter detailing his personal involvement in German policy during his tenure as deputy chief and (later) chief of the Mission for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London. The materials document Porter’s opposition to the Morgenthau Plan, a proposal to prevent future German aggression by destroying Germany’s industrial base after World War II. Instead, Porter and like-minded officials favored rebuilding Germany’s industrial economy and using U.S. aid to lay the foundation for a prosperous, democratic, and economically unified Europe. Porter was extremely doubtful about the prospects for long-term cooperation with the Soviet Union in Europe. This viewpoint eventually prevailed among U.S. policymakers, and contributed to the development of the Marshall Plan.

The third series, Group III, is entitled "Administrative and Biographical Information." This series was created by the processing archivist and includes correspondence relating to the donation of the collection, as well as lists of documents and brief introductions to the other three series, written by Porter himself during the early 1980s.

Porter’s title for the fourth series, Group IV, was "Greece at the Turning Point." This series, which makes up more than half of the collection, consists of memoirs, correspondence, printed materials, and other items, most of which were sent to Porter, at his request, by former colleagues in the Greek aid program. Over twenty former officials and their wives or widows contributed relevant materials to the collection. Their written remembrances and other documents (mostly solicited by Porter during the early 1980s) provide a detailed account of various aspects of the U.S. aid program in Greece, and record their day-to-day experiences living and working in that war-ravaged country during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The series also contains official reports on the progress of the aid program, submitted by Porter and his successor as chief of the mission, Roger D. Lapham. Porter believed that his period of service in Greece marked a "turning point" for the country. With the defeat of the Communist guerrillas and the end of the civil war, the Greek government was able to devote more of its attention to economic recovery, with the assistance of the Marshall Plan. In 1950, according to Porter, industrial and agricultural production in Greece actually exceeded prewar levels. Porter designated fourteen items for inclusion in the series. Each is filed in its own consecutively-numbered folder, with the exception of the item designated as IV-3. Because of its size, IV-3 is divided into nineteen separate folders, one for each of the sources who sent Porter historical materials relating to their involvement in the Greek aid program.

More information about Paul R. Porter and his government service in Europe after World War II can be found in the Truman Library’s oral history interview with Porter. More information about U.S. relations with Greece during the Truman administration can be found in the papers of Harry S. Truman (Official File 20