JANUARY 8, 1948
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I see that Rep. John Taber of New York says we should adopt a day-by-day method of helping Europe. The gentleman is a good business man and I wonder how he would like to adopt this method in a business venture. Let us say, for instance, that his business had been destroyed by fire. If he could not tell what loans he could count on over the period it would take him to rebuild, would he find it very easy to make plans?
Either we believe that the sixteen European nations participating in the Marshall Plan have the ability to rebuild their countries and again become solvent, or else we are wasting our time. I think, without any question, that we should do all in our power to get those in Europe who may have sent assets out of their own countries to put everything they have into this venture and not to wait until they have obtained everything they can from us. However, that is elemental, and I feel quite sure that our statesmen have long ago laid their plans with this in mind.
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The reason for insisting on this, of course, is that we are counting on every individual doing the very best work he can, and if anything they have set aside in other countries is involved, they will do harder work to make the recovery plan succeed. However, to say to these people, "We don't know what you can have next month, but we will allow you so much this month," is to court disaster. And I hope that Mr. Taber will not find many supporters in the House of Representatives.
I happen to come from the branch of the Roosevelt family whose forebears believed in trade, and you cannot trade unless both sides have something to give which the other side wants!
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It was certainly encouraging to read the other day, in an article by Anne O'Hare McCormick of the New York Times, that a change has come over the spirit of the people in Great Britain since their production has begun to mount. The British are a trading people, and hope comes back to them as they see the chance for an exchange of goods and services.
This change must come all over Europe. If we make it possible for the Marshall Plan to work and if the participating countries begin to taste success, I think the whole of Europe, including those nations which are not directly participating, will profit. This may frighten certain people who feel that only the democracies should be aided, but I cannot help feeling that a more prosperous economy in the Communist states will be an aid to the growth of democracy everywhere.