MAY 1, 1947
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—In his report to the nation, Secretary of State George C. Marshall continued to talk in the same objective, calm, firm and clear manner that he adopted in his report on China. The Secretary does not believe in using words to hide facts. I think he also believes that it is well for us to try to understand the complex situations in Europe. Even when he cannot make them entirely clear to us, because these are difficult questions requiring specific knowledge, he does try to indicate what the difficulties are and that they need study.
There is no question in my mind but that Russia is entitled to reparations, but the rest of Europe is entitled to a chance to rehabilitate the whole European economy, and this cannot be done unless some very careful planning is done for the German economy. In the past, the economy of the whole of Europe depended on the German economy. That situation should not be allowed to return, but there are things that Germany must produce to help the rest of Europe. And she must not be so stripped of her powers of production, or of her agricultural lands, as to make it impossible for her to do her necessary share.
This balance is hard to keep. That is why I believe that an economic plan which envisages the whole world is essential. But it should not be based only on the loan of money, since the loan of men is just as essential.
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With Secretary Marshall's honesty and Marshal Stalin's hopeful statement that only the preliminary skirmishes have taken place and that they clear the way for some future plan, I hope the people of this country and of all other countries will settle down to think through how that plan can be made. Sooner or later, it has to be found. We cannot go on forever with a large part of the world still governed by foreign armies.
I was amused to see someone pick me up reproachfully the other day for having said that we of the democracies have to prove that our form of government and our way of life is better than all others. Instead, the writer said, the Soviets have to prove that their way is better than ours. They, not the democracies, are on trial. Unfortunately, misery turns more easily to the economic philosophy of Communism and to government by dictatorship than it does to free and individual enterprise. We are not on trial, but it takes security and self-confidence to be a citizen in a democracy.
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And now for a switch from the broad fields of international affairs to the Equity Library Theater, which I visited for the first time yesterday afternoon at the Greenwich Mews Playhouse. I saw the first act of a play written many years ago—Frank Craven's "The First Year." It was simple and sweet and wholesomely funny, and I believe that, with a really good cast, people would enjoy it as much today as they did years ago when it was produced on Broadway.
What I really want to tell you is that this Equity Library Theater is doing things for actors and actresses in the way of giving them opportunities, and also is doing things for their audiences. I only hope this example will spread to the rest of the country, for it can be educational and provide much good entertainment.