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Letter to Secretary Harriman Following His Nomination as U.S. Special Representative in Europe

April 22, 1948

Dear Averell:

In designating you to assume a post of great responsibility in the administration of the European Recovery Program, I realized that I was asking you to undertake a mission which would command all of your time and energy. In the circumstances, therefore, but with sincere regret, I accept, effective at the close of business this day, your resignation as Secretary of Commerce.

Under other conditions I would prefer to see you carry forward the work of the Department of Commerce to which you brought such a wealth of experience. But that experience also adds to the equipment which gives you such exceptional qualifications as United States Special Representative in Europe with the rank of Ambassador.

Few men in public life today know Europe and its problems and perplexities as you do. Besides the knowledge which you gained as Ambassador to Russia and to Great Britain in war and postwar years, you have acquired additional information through extensive travels and wide studies in most of the countries of Europe. I can think of no one with a keener grasp of the problems presented by the economic dislocation which has followed in the wake of hostilities.

Largely because of these considerations I am consenting to your release from the duties of Secretary of Commerce. The superb direction which you have given to the affairs of that office during a year and a half is sufficient guarantee of the results which you would achieve if it were possible for you to continue in the Cabinet.

The European Recovery Program must succeed. I know that you will bear your part.

Very sincerely yours,


[Honorable W. Averell Harriman, Secretary of Commerce, Washington, D.C.]

Note: Mr. Harriman served as Secretary of Commerce from September 28, 1946, through April 22, 1948. His letter of resignation, dated April 22, was released with the President's reply.

Harry S Truman, Letter to Secretary Harriman Following His Nomination as U.S. Special Representative in Europe Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/229317

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