Harry S. Truman photo

Citation Accompanying Medal for Merit Awarded to Fred M. Vinson.

October 03, 1947


FRED M. VINSON, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the United States from May 1943, to June, 1946. Mr. Vinson demonstrated the peculiarly exacting qualities of statesmanship needed in a global war whose economics and organizational complexities created problems of a scope hitherto unknown to history. To the people he was a human symbol of the strength of American leadership, and to the two commanders-in-chief he served, he was one of the Nation's greatest contributors to victory in the war and to the successful reconversion to peace afterwards. In personality, in speech, in the tone and justice of wartime decisions whose wisdom have since been amply proved, he displayed solid knowledge of detail governed by a true perspective and a shrewd eye to the over-all needs of the Nation. His outstanding qualities as administrator, negotiator and conciliator were rooted deep in American character, and his words and acts, determining some of the greatest decisions of the war and postwar period, had their base in the principles that go back to the founding fathers. As the Director of the Office of Economic Stabilization he kept America's war economy pointed to victory without the concomitant chaos that had been the major disease of production in past wars. Few Americans contributed so much to the check of inflation during the war as this economist, financial expert and lawyer with the judicial mind, the broad-gauge imagination and the simple American talent for practical judgment. His policies as Director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion lubricated the Nation's transition from the overwhelmingly strenuous war effort in the two-front war to the reduced pace required after Germany's capitulation and before Japan's surrender. He directed the liquidation of the Nation's nervous strain finally from total war to total peace so that the change created a pattern of economic smoothness and harmony unparalleled in previous postwar periods and hardly anticipated in this one. As Secretary of the Treasury, he maintained the same high level of statesmanship, carrying his talents into the international field. The job he had done before as a leader in America's war and reconversion economy he now repeated on an international plane in the effort to rehabilitate world economy. Here, and in every post to which his President and his country assigned him, Mr. Vinson sustained the reputation that he had securely established as one of the foremost Americans of his generation.


Note: The presentation was made by the President in a ceremony at the White House at 11 a.m.

Harry S Truman, Citation Accompanying Medal for Merit Awarded to Fred M. Vinson. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232373

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