BERNARD BARUCH ARCHIVE
(1870 - 1965) American businessman and statesman and a close personal adviser to Franklin D. Roosevelt. A superb correspondence of 6 A.Ls.S. and 41 T.Ls.S. written between 1920 and 1949 written to columnist and author Mark Sullivan (1874 - 1952), together with approximately 20pps. of retained return correspondence from Sullivan to Baruch as well as an 18 pp. press release "TESTIMONY OF Bernard M. Baruch on EUROPEAN RECOVERY PROGRAM " (Jan. 19, 1948); a 4p. typescript press release: "THOUGHTS OF B. M. BARUCH On ADMINISTRATION OF EUROPEAN RECOVERY PROGRAM"; a telegram from Baruch to Sullivan, Nov. 15, 1937. Also included are two pamphlets, Some Aspects of the Farmers' Problems (1921) and Address by Bernard M. Baruch at the Re-Union of the Members of the War Industries Board, at Washington, D.C.. Approximately 115pp. overall. The correspondence covers a variety of topics including the Treaty of Versailles and Baruch's consternation over obstructions by isolationists in ratifying the treaty; agricultural representation on the Federal Reserve Board; his work on the War Industries Board; the lack of American preparedness at the onset of the Second World War; economic recovery issues after the First and Second World Wars; and his criticism of the Marshal Plan among others. The collection also includes more personal correspondence including a long 1927 letter that was published in most part by Sullivan in his column describing in detail his early schooling days.
The correspondence opens at the close of the First World War. Baruch had been an advisor to Wilson throughout the First World War, and at the Paris Peace Conference he helped draft the economic provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. The aftermath of the Treaty and the American response troubled Baruch tremendously. In response to Sullivan's critique of Baruch's 1920 work on the Paris Peace Conference: The Making of the Reparation and Economic Sections of the Treaty, he writes, in part, "...I believe that if you had read the book through, that you would have changed your suggestion regarding the opening. I have modified the final introduction along the lines suggested by you. I thought it would be better to say to the reader as I tried to say: 'I want to tell you how this treaty happened to be written, the way it was written, and why it couldn't be done any other way. Just bear with me for a few minutes and let us reason this thing out together,' rather than to say to the reader, 'This is the very best little treaty in the world,' because as a matter of fact it wasn't the best treaty in the world, but was the best that could be done in the circumstances. Those people who are opposed to the Treaty would not read an argument starting affirming this is a perfect treaty. But they will start out to read it if it says that it was the best that could be done. In this way they are bound to arrive at the same conclusion that I have arrived at...". His critique of U.S. policy following the war continues in subsequent letters that read, in very small part: [Mar. 27, 1921]: "...Most anything can happen in Europe when there is an absence of a balancing wheel such as America was during the Peace Conference and such as it could be now in the settling or carrying out of the terms of the Treaty. As I have said so often... the success of the Treaty of Peace depends upon the spirit in which its terms are carried out. Its terms will surely be made vengeful in their execution with without the presence of the cooler judgment of America. Again I must repeat that the present world conditions, industrially, financially, socially and, above all, morally are due to the fact that America welched -- welched not alone toward her Allies, but towards a defeated foe as well. We induced Germany to lay down her arms, and in fact were principally instrumental in getting her to do so, but now are not there to see the terms of the Treaty enforced in the spirit in which they were meant. Ignorance and fear have swept this country like a great popular delusion... "...[May 9, 1921] "...When I look back upon the accomplishments of the last Administration I wonder that they ever did anywhere near as well as they did because they had practically every newspaper against them. Wilson had but to suggest something, even so simple a proposition as that the sun was shining at twelve o'clock in the middle of the day in a cloudless sky, to have any number of men seek to prove that he was crazy or that it was not a correct statement of fact. Harding, on the other hand, seems to have the good will of everyone. Of course, Harding is a loveable character...[On the Versailles Treaty]...How can we have any stabilized peace unless there is a mutual understanding that the territorial divisions must remain in the status quo? And how can this be maintained unless the nations of the world are associated in some way...personally I am not in sympathy with this criticism and twitting of Harding, Hughes and the Republican Senators because of the apparent necessity of adopting the Versailles pact and some form of the Covenant of the League of Nations...I must say that I think their campaign against Woodrow Wilson and his polices was a poisonous one which was carried on with the deliberate attempt to befuddle and deceive the public mind; and I must say that I have the greatest contempt for the men who were parties to it....By the way, your friend Keynes has certainly made an ass of himself. Why did he write his book in protest if he were going to advise the Germans to accept the Treaty of Peace? Why didn't he advise them to accept it two years ago instead of advising them to hold out? I am perfectly certain that there is only one way to make those Germans do what they ought to do, and that is with the bayonet...". [May 21, 1921] "...I am willing to confess that I do not like the present policy of the Administration as it appears to unfold itself. To-day I noticed...that the Administration is opposed to the lending of money to European governments unless the money is used for purchases here. I can not believe that, because it is so ridiculous and shows such a lack of knowledge of business that it would be most discouraging were it true...It is particularly gratifying to know that that part of the Treaty -- the economic section 00 which was more my work than that of the others, is the one part of the Treaty which everybody wants to retain to protect American business. Sometimes I secretly chuckle over it because I also believe in my heart that none of the men sitting opposite me outrated me in any respect. Nor do I think that I over-rated my self to the extent of being unfair". [Mar. 6, 1922] "... I heard a conversation the other night which I think I ought to pass on to you because of your personal regard for Medill McCormick. As you know, I don't agree with Medill in his position on the Treaty of Versailles. But I always felt he was honest about it. These people, who were Progressives, said that they were watching with interest to see whether he will be forced by his associates in the Republican party to take a position in favor of the four-power pact, which he must know is an alliance, and which they think undoubtedly is an alliance, although Medill took a position against the League, which was not an alliance. Personally, I think Medill has courage enough to stand on his own bottom. I am passing this along to you for what it is worth. It came up in a discussion of presidential candidate possibilities... ". [May 6, 1922] "...The first peep that I have heard, inspired by your article nominating me to be the next Warwick of the Democratic party, was a story that appeared only in the late edition of the new York Globe, in which was said something to the effect that Democratic leaders were fearful of an investigation of Palmer, McAdoo and Baruch. You know as well as I do that no Democratic leader need fear an investigation of me...Yesterday I was much interested to see a proposition supposed to come from Lloyd-George, a part of which included the suggestion that the definite sum Germany should be made to pay should be 45,000,000,000 marks with a moratorium for four years. That is just about the figure I fixed as the limit of Germany's capacity to pay. You see, the reparation is alike a sore finger--always in the way. It is more than a sore finger; it happens to be the most important thing that needs to be done in order to get the world back to work...".
As the years pass, Baruch's critique of the general mood following the First World War grows more severe, beginning to equate the isolationists with anti-Semites and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan: [Sept. 22, 1922 ] "...I feel exactly as you do in regard to leadership; and if it were not for anti-Semitism, and if I could overcome my desire not to be a leader, I would not object to taking the role that you suggest someone should take". Sept. 26, 1923 ] "...It is going to be a long time before the damage done in the campaign against Wilson and Wilsonism is repaired. He was a dignified and cultured gentleman whose greatest fault was that he was an idealist who would not stoop to the methods of his enemies, methods which finally destroyed him in the popular mind. It is like the Ku Klux Klan and other things that those in office are responsible for they may object to them, but they are the creatures of their own doing...". In the very next letter he notes on Sept. 28, 1923: "...I am never denying, but always stating the fact that I am a full blooded Jew. I do not believe in taking a hyphenated position regarding anything or anybody, and I take second place to no one in being a pure American and in my pure Americanism". [Dec. 20, 1923] "...What I said about the Ku Klux Klan was not that it itself was in the Harvard Club, but that, if anti-Semitism prevailed, it was the same spirit that pervaded the Ku Klux Klan; also that we should not belabor the Klan as existing only among the intelligentsia, and I particularly referred to the great club organizations...".
Toward the late 1920s and early 1930s the correspondence becomes less frequent, but still quite profound. On the imminent election of Franklin D. Roosevelt [Oct. 18 1932], he writes, "...No matter what the result is, the world will go on just the same for everybody except for the man who is beaten and the man who succeeds. Which one is the luckier one no one can tell...". Baruch went on to be appointed to Roosevelt's "Brain Trust" and helped form the National Recovery Administration (NRA). As war clouds in Europe gathered, Baruch again set his focus on American foreign policy and preparedness: [Sept. 12, 1940] "...Now that we have passed the Selective Service Act, have spent X billions of dollars for defense purposes and are now working for a two ocean Navy, have increased taxes (not enough) and are now working on the South American economic offensive, repeating the mistakes of the industrial mobilization of the last war, I am wondering why it was that in 1938 when I stated the necessity for many of these things, I could not get the support of one single observer or columnist except Hugh Johnson, Frank Kent and the Hearst papers. The necessity for all these things was so apparent. I used everything I had to get support but we had to wait for the collapse of France before we moved. If we had done something in 1938 after my statements...we would have saved France, and England would have been in a different position. We would have been ready to defend ourselves, or play an offensive which we cannot now play...It has been a heart-breaking experience for me..." [Jan. 21, 1941 ] "...Enclosed you will find a little pamphlet which might interest you. The remarks on labor on pages 2 and 3 might be helpful in view of the English proposed drafting of labor. Remember, we must prepare ourselves to fight, win and survive a war. We are not prepared in any one of these three respects. This pamphlet tells something of it". Following the end of the Second World War, Baruch continued to offer his critique on postwar economics and especially the Marshall Plan [Jan. 28, 1948] "...What I suggested is pretty strong meat. A pilot on a commercial plane said to me, 'I like your plan. Mr. Baruch.' I answered that some people would not like it. Then he said, 'Sometimes people have to take castor oil, whether they like it or not.' You will note that I was very careful about naming an amount. I believe if we establish a clearing house system much less money is going to be needed...I do not like to give up a reduction in taxes, but I think it outrageous that corporations should have been given relief and not individuals". [Nov. 22, 1948] "...this creeping inflation will have a greater effect upon our position nationally and internationally than any other single thing, even more than the Russians, because when inflation comes it opens up all the old and new isms...I am in hopes we will learn before it is too late. Never has any President had such a task as has Mr. Truman. If we wreck America, we wreck the world...". [Dec. 2, 1948] "...You may recall... when I appeared before the Vandenberg Committee, I had certain reservations as to the Marshall Plan. One was that instead of lending so much money we ought to buy all the non-perishable, raw materials that that the world could produce for five years. That would have given the peoples of the world work. I also advocated that unless they formed a union for defense in Western Europe, we should not aid them; but that if they did form such a union for defense we would be willing to go to war in case of aggressions...". [Jan. 31, 1949 ] "...I recall with a good deal of comfort the many suggestions I have made...I am glad to see that they are adopting a mutual assistance pact in Western Europe. I think I was the first to suggest that...". [Feb. 7, 1949 ] "As an old darky on my place said, 'You couldn't be no righter'. 1. The Marshall plan has cost at least twice as much as it should have 2...it is going to result in the nationalization of a lot of their industries...In this craze to develop the rest of the world, we seem to forget that in doing so we are creating competitors to ourselves. You can see it already in oil. You will soon see it in steel...". Much more fine content, far too voluminous to quote here. Overall condition very good to fine with expected folds, and with minor wear and marks from paperclips.