JANUARY 11, 1949
NEW YORK, Monday—As one who has had the opportunity to work in two international assemblies under Secretary of State George C. Marshall, I should like to pay a tribute to the man as well as to the servant of his country.
My husband also held him in great esteem, not just as a great war leader but because of his strong and noble character. Franklin felt that the American people never could show their gratitude sufficiently for the service which General Marshall had rendered the nation as Chief of Staff during the war.
The General showed the qualities that we sometimes think are lacking in those trained in military life. He was flexible; he could adjust himself to circumstances and to people. But he was uncompromising when he considered that the good of the country required a specific action—no matter how difficult that action might be. I once heard him say during the war he had never allowed friendships or personal feelings to affect his judgment on any question that came before him.
The complete integrity and devotion to duty and the service to his country that he had developed through his Army training was brought by him to his work as Secretary of State. I sometimes thought that he took too much for granted, that all those with whom he came in contact were of the same calibre and had the same high standards of service that he had. However, that may be a virtue, for people are apt to rise to heights they never dreamed of under the approbation of someone whom they cannot fail to respect.
Secretary Marshall won the respect and admiration of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the war and he won the respect and admiration of the leading statesmen of other nations in the troubled years during his tenure in the State Department.
The country has felt that with Secretary Marshall and Undersecretary Robert A. Lovett it had a team well balanced and trustworthy. And from the point of view of the nation as a whole it is a matter for rejoicing that both of them will have freedom from responsibility and some opportunity for rest and leisure in the years to come.
As citizens we can never show sufficient gratitude to those who have served us in the most trying, so-called peaceful years that this country has ever gone through. And in this case both Mr. Marshall and Mr. Lovett have served us also through the years of the war and served us well. Let us hope that the respect and admiration of the people will be compensation for what both have given up and actually suffered in order to accomplish their duty as they saw it.
I have never trusted any man's integrity more fully than I have Secretary Marshall's, and I will see him leave our international gatherings with deep regret. He has well earned his rest and may God give him health and happiness and the joy of his family and his home for a long time to come.
I offer him today the homage of a very deeply grateful heart.