United States Economic Policy and International Relations

By Raymond F. Mikesell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER14
The Truman Doctrine and Foreign Economic Assistance

PRESIDENT TRUMAN'S message to Congress of March 12, 1947, requesting aid for Greece and Turkey marks the beginning of what has come to be known as the Truman Doctrine. In the course of this message, the President said:1

I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.

I believe we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.

I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes.

The immediate occasion for the formal statement of the above policy was the internal crisis in Greece and the announcement by Britain that she could no longer assume the economic and other burdens of continued participation in Greek affairs. Fundamentally, however, this policy was based upon a recognition of the implications of certain far-reaching developments for the foreign policy of the United States. On the political side, the United States had come to realize that the United Nations machinery could not guarantee the peace of the world and that the U.S.S.R. was determined on a policy of political aggression which only the United States could arrest. On the economic side, the Truman Doctrine was a recognition that the postwar assistance and reconstruction plans which had been developed during the war were inadequate to rehabilitate the war-torn economies of the world and that something more was needed to establish a number of foreign countries on an economic basis which would assure political stability and enable them to resist Communist pressure from within and without. The Truman Doctrine implies a recognition that America's responsibility for the economic welfare of the rest of the world did not end with the immediate postwar period,

____________________
1
For the text of this message and other early documents relating to the Greek- Turkish aid program, see "Aid to Greece and Turkey", Department of State Bulletin, Supplement, May 4, 1947.

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