The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018 27 render those governments vulnerable to com- munist takeovers. Conceptually, the plan was rooted in a neoliberal world view advanced by power- ful corporate interests that played a key role in Washington’s postwar planning. These proponents supported free markets, limited government intervention in the economy, and sustained economic growth. President Harry Truman, like Franklin Delano Roos- evelt before him, drew the likes of W. Averell Harriman of the Union Pacific fortune, Edward Stettinius Jr. of U.S. Steel and James Forrestal of Dillon Reed into their innermost circles and appointed them to important government positions: Secretary of Com- merce, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, respectively. Both FDR and Truman also sought input from a number of commit- tees populated by influential members of the private sector, including the Committee for Economic Develop- ment, to develop economic plans for the postwar period. The CED, in particular, was intimately connected to the imple- mentation of the Marshall Plan. Its chairman, Paul Hoffman, was the president of the Studebaker Automobile Company, and would go on to become the chief administrator of the agency that oversaw the program. The committee’s vice chairman, advertising executive WilliamBenton, had been assistant secretary of State for public affairs from 1945 to 1947, while another key member, William Clayton, had served as under secretary of State for economic affairs from 1946 to 1947. Other CEDmembers included top executives at General Foods, the Coca-Cola Company, Scott Paper, Quaker Oats, General Electric and Goldman Sachs, many of whom testified before Congress in support of assistance to Europe. These leaders argued that unless Washington helped bolster European currency markets, to ensure that those nations would be able to purchase American-made goods on the global markets, the U.S. economy would suffer. This group of well-placed execu- tives represented the interests of large consumer-goods corpora- tions and favored large, capital-intensive units, global flows of capital and expanded international markets that would allow for easy accumulation of capital, increased consumer demand and more individual prosperity. This model, they argued, was crucial to sustaining the U.S. balance of trade, preserving American wealth and establishing a stable global market system. It would be an oversimplification, however, to state that the ABBIEROWE/WIKIMEDIACOMMONS From left to right, President Harry S Truman, General George Marshall, Paul Hoffman and Averell Harriman in the Oval Office discussing the Marshall Plan, Nov. 29, 1948. Marshall Plan sprang only from the minds of these scions of industry and was primarily designed to benefit their narrow interests. Foreign Service officers within the Department of State also saw great promise in this approach to rebuilding Europe. In their view, the economic crisis in wartorn Europe represented an opportunity not just to assist key allies, but to remake the politi- cal and economic makeup of the region. The Marshall Plan’s efforts to integrate European markets and create a common trading area were the economic counterpart to the Department of State’s, and also the Pentagon’s, geopolitical policies focused on encouraging European political and military integration, policies that were ultimately embodied in such arrangements as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Under the leadership of Foreign Service Officer George Kennan, who had recently returned from Embassy Moscow, the State Department Policy Planning staff participated in the detailed groundwork for European recovery planning. A variety of interagency committees staffed by junior Foreign Service officers sprang up around this effort and informed the work of the Policy Planning staff, and ultimately the department’s senior leadership—including William Clayton and George Marshall, who became Secretary of State in early 1947. Kennan and other members of the Foreign Service’s rank and file agreed that Western European integration was the key to achieving an economically and strategically stronger continent. Specifically, this would require rebuilding the German economy