The Truman Doctrine, 1947
PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN
ADDRESS BEFORE A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS,
MARCH 12, 1947
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Congress of the United States:
The gravity of the situation which confronts the world today necessitates my appearance before a joint session of the
Congress. The foreign policy and the national security of this country are involved.
One aspect of the present situation, which I wish to present to you at this time for your consideration and decision,
concerns Greece and Turkey.
The United States has received from the Greek Government an urgent appeal for financial and economic assistance.
Preliminary reports from the American Economic Mission now in Greece and reports from the American
Ambassador in Greece corroborate the statement of the Greek Government that assistance is imperative if Greece is
to survive as a free nation.
I do not believe that the American people and the Congress wish to turn a deaf ear to the appeal of the Greek
Greece is not a rich country. Lack of sufficient natural resources has always forced the Greek people to work hard to
make both ends meet. Since 1940, this industrious and peace loving country has suffered invasion, four years of
cruel enemy occupation, and bitter internal strife.
When forces of liberation entered Greece they found that the retreating Germans had destroyed virtually all the
railways, roads, port facilities, communications, and merchant marine. More than a thousand villages had been
burned. Eighty-five per cent of the children were tubercular. Livestock, poultry, and draft animals had almost
disappeared. Inflation had wiped out practically all savings.
As a result of these tragic conditions, a militant minority, exploiting human want and misery, was able to create
political chaos which, until now, has made economic recovery impossible.
Greece is today without funds to finance the importation of those goods which are essential to bare subsistence.
Under these circumstances the people of Greece cannot make progress in solving their problems of reconstruction.
Greece is in desperate need of financial and economic assistance to enable it to resume purchases of food, clothing,
fuel and seeds. These are indispensable for the subsistence of its people and are obtainable only from abroad. Greece
must have help to import the goods necessary to restore internal order and security, so essential for economic and
The Greek Government has also asked for the assistance of experienced American administrators, economists and
technicians to insure that the financial and other aid given to Greece shall be used effectively in creating a stable and
self-sustaining economy and in improving its public administration.
The very existence of the Greek state is today threatened by the terrorist activities of several thousand armed men,