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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1947. The British Commonwealth; Europe

Europe,   pp. 196-654 PDF (168.7 MB)

Page 237

  General Carter said that the Secretary is still considering the other
parts of the memorandum of May 23.
                                             C[ARLTON] S [AVAGE]
Lot 64 D 563, Box 1(20027), 1947-50
    Press Release Issued by the Department of State, June 4,1947
  Remarks by the Honorable George -C. Marshall, Secretary of State,
at Harvard University on June 5,1947.
  I need not tell you gentlemen that the world situation is very seri-
ous. That must be apparent to all intelligent people. I think one diffi-
culty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that the
very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it
exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraise-
ment of the situation. Furthermore, the people of this country are
distant from the troubled areas of the earth and it is hard for them
to comprehend the plight and consequent reactions of the long-suffer-
ing peoples, and the effect of those reactions on their governments in
connection with our efforts to promote peace in the world.
  In considering the requirements for the rehabilitation of Europe the
physical loss of life, the visible destruction of cities, factories, mines
and railroads was correctly estimated, but it has become obvious during
recent months that this visible destruction was probably less serious
than the dislocation of the entire fabric of European economy. For
the past ten years conditions have been highly abnormal. The feverish
preparation for war and the more feverish maintenance of the war
effort engulfed all aspects of national economies. Machinery has fallen
into disrepair or is entirely obsolete. Under the arbitrary and destruc-
tive Nazi rule, virtually every possible enterprise was geared into the
German war machine. Long-standing commercial ties, private institu-
tions, banks, insurance companies and shipping companies disap-
peared, through loss of capital, absorption through nationalization or
by simple destruction. In many countries, confidence in the local cur-
rency has been severely shaken. The breakdown of the business struc-
ture of Europe during the war was complete. Recovery has been
seriously retarded by the fact that two years after the close of hostili-
ties a peace settlement with Germany and Austria has not been agreed
upon. But even given a more prompt solution of these difficult prob-
lems, the rehabilitation of the economic structure of Europe quite
evidently will require a much longer time and greater effort than had
been foreseen.

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