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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 245

about to transpire, but that on balance he thought the majority view
was that there would be no program of assistance.
   A newspaper man-I forget which one-gave me a long story on
 how the speech happened to be delivered at Harvard which may be
 worth setting down, despite the fact that I cannot vouch for one word
 of it. First, however, I cannot help recalling a bit of dialogue which
 took place in the central corridor, fifth floor, New State Department
 Building, in about the second week of July between Philander P.
 Claxton 14 and me.
   CLAXTON: Where have you been? I haven't seen you around lately.
   ]iINDLEBERGER: I 'am not working on German matters any more. I
have moved over land now work on the European recovery program.
   CLAXTON: Oh, that's the program which developed out of the Secre-
tary's speech at Princeton.
   KINDLEBERGER: Phil, where did you go to college?
   CLAXTON: Princeton, why?
   KINDLEBERGER: That's what I thought.
   According to the newsman's unsubstantiated story, the Secretary
agreed with Messrs. Kennan and Clayton that there should be a speech
and that it should read about as it eventually did. He then wondered
where it might be given. Pat Carter 15 looked up and found that the
Secretary had no speaking engagements until June 17, 1947, which
all agreed was too far distant in the future in the nature of the existing
European crisis.
  At that point, the Secretary is said to have remembered that Har-
vard University had awarded him a degree during the war. He had
refused it. Normally, he wrote letters to universities which offered him
degrees during the war, saying that he was unable to accept because
he felt that the soldiers overseas might misunderstand his position if
he were to accept an honorary degree, leaving his desk for the purpose,
when they couldn't get away. This type of letter could not be written to
Harvard, however, since Admiral King and General Arnold had both
been awarded degrees and had accepted. Accordingly, the Secretary
merely wrote and refused it.
  It had rarely if ever occurred before that Harvard had been refused
an offer of an honorary degree, and the University was both surprised
and puzzled. Suspecting, however, that the Secretary had some hidden
motive for refusing, it wrote back to him saying that it would award
the degree, which the Secretary could claim at any time when it
suited his convenience.
14Philander P. Claxton, assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for
Occupied Areas.
1 Brig. Gen. Marshall S. Carter, special assistant to Secretary Marshall.

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