American Commitments

April 2, 1947

Report Outline
New Role of United States in World Affairs
American Commitments Before World War I
Foreign Commitments in Inter-War Period
Present American Foreign Commitment

New Role of United States in World Affairs

When President Truman went before Congress, Mar. 12, and asked for authority to extend assistance to Greece and Turkey, it was universally recognized that the nation faced a decision in foreign policy of momentous importance. The aid proposed—$400 million in supplies and the services of American civilian and military personnel in supervisory and advisory capacities—did not differ from that furnished to other countries in the war and postwar periods. But the circumstances surrounding extension of aid to Greece and Turkey made the President's request of the highest significance.

No secret was made of the fact that in taking up a burden Great Britain no longer can carry, the United States will be seeking to counteract Soviet pressure on Greece and Turkey and prevent Russia from gaining a controlling influence in the eastern Mediterranean. Although President Truman did not mention the Soviet Union by name in his address to Congress, he discussed the broad implications of the policy he was advocating. He declared that “Totalitarian regimes imposed on free peoples, by direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States.” And he voiced the belief “that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”

If Greece should fall under the control of an armed minority, the effect upon its neighbor, Turkey, would be immediate and serious. Confusion and disorder might well spread throughout the entire Middle East. Moreover, the disappearance of Greece as an independent state would have a profound effect upon those countries in Europe whose peoples are struggling against great difficulties to maintain their freedoms and their independence while they repair the damages of war.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Alliances and Security Agreements
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
U.S. at War: World War II
World War II