On this day in 1948, President Harry S. Truman signs the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, more popularly known as the Marshall Plan.
Back in June 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall called for an enormous economic recovery program to aid the ailing economies of the war-ravaged countries in Western Europe.
Secretary Marshall’s statement on the signing described the decision as a “historic step in the foreign policy of this country.”
He went on:
“The leaders in the Congress and the membership generally have faced a great crisis with courage and wisdom, and with legislative skill, richly deserving of the approval and the determined support of the people.”
Upon signing the Act, President Truman labeled it “an outstanding example of cooperative endeavor for the common good.”
Then, Truman closed his statement, echoing his predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by using the commonly accepted paraphrasing of Luke 2:14:
“I believe that the determination of the American people to work for conditions of enduring peace throughout the world, as demonstrated by this act, will encourage free men and women everywhere, and will give renewed hope to all mankind that there will one day be peace on earth, good will among men.”