JANUARY 19, 1948
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Little by little, and one by one, the Republican Presidential candidates are coming out into the open. Long ago Mr. Stassen announced that he was in the race. After a long interval Senator Taft finally allowed that perhaps he might be induced to run, and now Governor Dewey announces that if the nomination were offered to him he could not refuse.
Senator Vandenberg, though not a candidate, cannot help being a "dark horse," and I suppose we will have to put Governor Warren of California in that category. So far, General Eisenhower is very cleverly not a candidate while still running a pretty good campaign. Perhaps before the actual conventions are at hand, we will see General MacArthur come galloping back from the Pacific. And the Communists will manage to organize an active campaign for Henry Wallace which may or may not mean a certain number of votes for him by election day.
It certainly is a pity that this Presidential campaign year must come at a time when world problems need immediate and impartial attention. If only the world were sailing on smooth seas, we could give full time to our political antics without fear of its affecting serious questions.
The Marshall Plan should not be made a football of Presidential politics. It should be carefully considered, weighed against all the alternatives and then implemented on a scale which will do the best possible job. It seems to me a very wise idea to have a nonpartisan group of businessmen to keep track of what happens in every country—not to interfere, but to act as advisers, and to bring encouragement and security to people who will need it to meet the difficulties which lie ahead.
It would seem to me highly impractical, however, to have this group outside the control of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is responsible to the Congress for our foreign policy. Whatever economic actions we take must affect that policy and therefore they must be coordinated and guided under one head.
For purposes of economy, supposedly, we see Mr. Herbert Hoover setting up a fairly large organization to investigate how the executive branch of the government can be made more effective and at the same time cost less. Certainly, one way to make it cost more is to continue to name more and more independent bodies and to muddy the waters still further so that the channels of responsibility are hard to find. At present the Secretary of State is responsible to the President and the Congress, and it seems to me that any group active in the economic reconstruction of Europe must of necessity be responsible to the Secretary of State.