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West German Chancellor Willy Brandt will commemorate the announcement of the Marshall Plan, 25 years ago today, at a special convocation this morning in Sanders Theatre.
Brandt will address an audience including American dignitaries who were involved in the formulation and implementation of the European Recovery Plan, which provided post-war economic assistance to European countries over a four-year period from 1947 to 1951.
Secretary of State George C. Marshall first proposed the plan, which sent $22 billion in aid to Europe, at Harvard's Commencement exercises on June 5, 1947. Marshall's proposal came in addition to scheduled Commencement activities, and most of those in attendance failed to realize the immediate importance of his announcement.
Brandt is here today at President Bok's invitation. His speech is being billed as a major address on European-American relations, although its contents are being withheld until the convocation.
Reliable sources indicate that Brandt will not discuss foreign policy, but will focus instead on the establishment of a program in West European Studies, funded by the German government, to reciprocate the American initiative embodied in the Marshall Plan.
The Marshall Plan counterbalanced the threat of Russian expansion into Europe following World War II. It called upon Europeans to join in drawing up their own plans for post-war recovery.
The Plan proposed that the U.S. offer economic aid to combat "not...any country or doctrine but...hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos." However, most historians view it as a response to Russian overtures in Europe.
In his Commencement speech, Marshall said: "It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace."
Because Brandt is coming expressly for the convocation, which is closed to the public, his sojourn does not constitute an official state visit and thus skirts usual protocol.
While a State Department representative will greet Brandt, neither President Nixon, nor Secretary of State Willian P. Rogers will see Brandt. Henry A. Kissinger '50, the President's National Security Advisor, is vacationing with Nixon in Key Biscayne, Florida, and will not be here today.
Brandt arrived in Boston yesterday afternoon on a German Air Force jet, accompanied by an entourage which includes Kurt Birrenbach, an official in the Christian Democratic Party, and Alex Moeller, Brandt's Foreign Minister of Finance.
Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Walter Scheel was scheduled to join the group, but an infected knee prevented him from making the trip.
President Bok, Boston Mayor Kevin White, and John Richard, assistant secretary of state for cultural affairs, greeted Brandt's party at the airport yesterday. Brandt attended a small party given by personal friends last night.
Brandt stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel under tight security last night. The German Secret Service has also imposed stringent security arrangements for this morning's convocation and for a private luncheon in Brandt's honor, hosted by President and Mrs. Bok, which follows at the Busch-Reisinger Museum. He will return to Germany tonight.
Brandt has been to Harvard once before, in 1963, when he received an honorary doctor of laws degree. He was Governing Mayor of Berlin at the time
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