Remarks by Madeleine K. Albright

Marshall Plan 70th Anniversary Symposium

On June 5, the Marshall Center’s 70th Anniversary Symposium commemorated the Harvard commencement speech in 1947 that launched the Marshall Plan, or European Recovery Program, an ambitious aid program to reconstruct the economy of Western Europe after World War II. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave the keynote address, drawing on the lessons from the Marshall Plan, an extraordinary move in U.S. foreign aid and diplomacy at a time when Americans were less interested in foreign commitments. Albright warned that the greatest danger facing America today is the possibility “we will allow the momentum towards democracy to stall, take for granted the institutions and principles upon which our own freedom is based, and forget what the history of the past century reminds us – that problems abroad, if left unattended, will come home to America.” She added, “dollars spent on diplomacy, development, and democracy” are just as important as dollars spent on defense. [Read the full text]