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AHI Hosts Special Book Event in Commemoration of Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan on Capitol Hill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Demetra Atsaloglou
March 14, 2012—No. 15 (202) 785-8430

AHI Hosts Special Book Event in Commemoration of Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI), in cooperation with the Embassy of Greece, hosted a book presentation and reception in commemoration of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, March 6, 2012, on Capitol Hill. Ms. Photini Tomai, director, Service of Diplomatic & Historical Archives, Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made a presentation about the book, “Documentary History of Greece: 1943-1951, Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan” of which she was the editor. The event was supported by U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), co-chairs, Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues and sponsored by the Onassis Foundation.

“The historical significance of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan to Greece cannot be underscored enough,” said AHI President Nick Larigakis in opening remarks. “President Truman argued Greece, already in the midst of a Civil War, would fall into communist hands resulting in dire consequences if it did not receive the aid it needed. The Marshall Plan would provide that aid, approximately 376 million dollars, to purchase food, feed, and fertilizer; to improve transportation systems and infrastructure, and to purchase machinery and vehicles.”

Tomai’s book utilizes more than 180 documents to detail the implications of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan to Greece. In her presentation, Tomai identified as being quite clear the impetus by scholars and archivists for undertaking the documentary project, which was to properly commemorate the Marshall Plan – a “generous program” that contributed “decisively to the triumphant reemergence” of Europe after World War II.

“And the point of marking that anniversary was not just to say thank you,” she said. “After two generations, there was an urgent need to remind the peoples of the United States, by then a mature superpower, and of the European Union, an economic superpower still locked in adolescence, of a responsibility that never ends, of a duty to humankind whose fulfillment – certainly in the case of the Marshall Plan – is its own reward.”

Although Tomai made it quite clear she was not making a plea for a similar economic aid package for Greece today, she did convey that the lessons of the Marshall Plan must not be lost and that America has everything to gain from teaching those lessons today.

“We are grateful for the support your government has signaled for the Eurozone and Greece as a member of that union,” she said. “I hope this book of ours will give some tiny additional fraction of weight to your advice.”

Ambassador Vassilis Kaskarelis, ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to the United States, provided remarks. “Studies such as the one presented today… ably put together by the experienced writer and researcher Photini Tomai, … are very important in that they do not allow us to forget history. They remind us of the long-standing bonds of friendship between Greece and the United States, between Europe and the United States.”

The ambassador discussed the importance of the transatlantic relationship between Europe and the United States as well as Greece’s crucial role during World War II that contributed to the demise of the Axis that left Greece devastated by tremendous famine, losses to more than 10 percent of its population, including the greatest part of its thriving Jewish community; and a destroyed infrastructure.

He added, “Greece is, indeed, facing a crisis today, though of a different nature, of course. And yes, we bear responsibility for a good part of our troubles. But rest assured that these same heroic qualities of the Greek people will pull us through once again. Their determination and sacrifice, along with loans and know-how of the EU, Greece is rising to the occasion and will ultimately emerge stronger and better for it, as its long history attests.”

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee, also addressed the audience. The congresswoman cited examples of how the United States and Greece have confronted threats and extremism since that pivotal moment in time, including in Afghanistan with NATO’s mission there and in the prevention of arms proliferation in the Mediterranean.

“Today, as our democratic societies confront new threats from many directions, the partnership between our countries has become even more important to ensuring our security and interests,” the congresswoman said. “Building upon decades of cooperation, Greece and the United States continue to work together to promote democracy and human rights in the world.”

In addition to Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, members of Congress in attendance were: U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

President Truman announced the Truman Doctrine 65 years ago, March 12, 1947.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.

 

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For additional information, please contact Demetra Atsaloglou at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.