From a statement by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to the Bundestag on June 5:

. . . {George} Marshall returned from Moscow convinced that the Soviet Union was banking on the division of Europe and the economic collapse of the West.. . . Within a few weeks he drew up . . . a relief program for Europe which historians rightly regard as one of the great achievements of the American nation.

In his speech 40 years ago, Marshall described the danger of economic, social and political decay in Europe and reminded the United States of its responsibility. At the heart of his speech was the notion of providing additional relief with a view to restoring sound economic conditions, without which, as he stressed, there could be no political stability and no secure peace. These words are just as valid today as they were 40 years ago, and we would be well advised to bear them in mind at all times.

It was typical of Marshall that he never thought of imposing on Europe a recovery program dictated by the United States. The program he envisaged was to be clearly shaped by Europe, and therefore he expressly stated that "there must be some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take . . . "

By thus linking American relief to agreement among the European countries, he imparted strong, perhaps decisive, impetus to the willingness of the Europeans for joint action. Without this American appeal for European coordination, Europe would scarcely have merged as quickly as it did after the war. George Marshall therefore deserves a place of honor among the great men and women who advanced the cause of European unity.