Paul G. Hoffman

Last updated
Paul Hoffman
Paul Hoffman (1950).jpg
Administrator of the
United Nations Development Programme
In office
1 January 1966 15 January 1972
Secretary General U Thant
Kurt Waldheim
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Rudolph A. Peterson
Personal details
Paul Gray Hoffman

(1891-04-26)26 April 1891
Western Springs, Illinois, U.S.
Died8 October 1974(1974-10-08) (aged 83)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Dorothy Brown
(m. 1915;died 1961)

(m. 1962)
Education University of Chicago

Paul Gray Hoffman (April 26, 1891 October 8, 1974) was an American automobile company executive, statesman, and global development aid administrator. He was the first administrator of the Economic Cooperation Administration, where he led the implementation of the Marshall Plan from 1948–1950.


Life and work

Hoffman was born in Western Springs, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He quit his studies at the University of Chicago at 18 to sell Studebaker cars in Los Angeles, had made his first million dollars by the age of 34, and became president of Studebaker ten years later. Hoffman and Harold Sines Vance were the two executives most responsible for rescuing Studebaker from insolvency in the 1930s. [1] :p.98–104

Hoffman being sworn in as administrator of the Economic Recovery Corporation (1948) Paul Hoffman is sworn in by Chief Justice Fred Vinson as administrator of the Economic Recovery Corporation in a... - NARA - 199759.jpg
Hoffman being sworn in as administrator of the Economic Recovery Corporation (1948)

From 1935 to 1948, Hoffman served as president of Studebaker. From 1950 to 1953, he also served as the president of the Ford Foundation.

Returning to Studebaker in 1953, Hoffman was chairman of the corporation during the turbulent period leading up to and during the 1954 merger with the Packard Motor Car Company. When Studebaker-Packard found itself nearing insolvency in 1956, the company entered into an Eisenhower Administration-brokered management agreement with Curtiss-Wright. Hoffman, Vance (who had become chairman of the executive committee after the Packard merger) and S-P president James J. Nance all left the company.

From 1966 to 1972, he was the first administrator of the United Nations Development Programme when it was founded, with David Owen as his co-administrator. [2]

On June 21, 1974, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon. [3]

The Marshall Plan

President Harry S. Truman nominated Hoffman to lead the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) in April 1948. Truman initially wanted to nominate Dean Acheson, but Hoffman was a more acceptable candidate to Congress, which preferred someone with more business acumen. [4] In this role as administrator, he was responsible for managing the distribution of U.S. aid to post-WWII Europe. He primarily worked with the Organization of European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) and coordinated policy with the U.S. State Department.

He was a forceful advocate of European integration. In September 1949, Hoffman and his staff met in Washington to assess the progress of the Marshall Plan. They agreed that the "salvage function is substantially completed" and that the ECA should now focus on integrating the economies of Europe by supporting European-led initiatives to reduce trade barriers, coordinate fiscal policy, streamline regulation, and ensure currency convertibility and stability. This would, in their view, strengthen the European economies so that by they could be "free from dependence on sustained outside assistance." [5]

His most famous speech as ECA administrator was his October 31, 1949 address to the OEEC in which he argued that Europe must integrate. Invoking a comparison to the United States, he argued:

The substance of such integration would be the formation of a single large market within which quantitative restriction on the movements of goods, monetary barriers to the flow of payments and, eventually, all tariffs are permanently swept away. The fact that we have in the United States a single market of 156 million consumers has been indispensable to the strength and efficiency of our economy. The creation of a permanent, freely trading area, comprising 270 million consumers in Western Europe would have a multitude of helpful consequences. It would accelerate the development of large-scale, low-cost production industries. It would make the effective use of all resources easier, the stifling of healthy competition more difficult... This is why integration is not just an ideal. It is a practical necessity. [6]

He concluded this speech with a veiled threat that the U.S. Congress may not continue to fund the Marshall Plan if the Europeans did not integrate. Congressional leadership was, indeed, skeptical of continuing to fund the Marshall Plan absent integration. [7]

Hoffman's tenure as administrator of ECA was marked by dramatic improvements in the industrial and agricultural output of countries receiving Marshall Plan aid. [4]

Personal life

Hoffman's first wife was Dorothy Brown. They married in 1915. She died in May 1961. She was a Christian Scientist. The couple had five sons, Hallock, Peter, Donald, Robert and Lathrop, and two adopted daughters, Barbara and Kiriki. [8] Hoffman married businesswoman Anna M. Rosenberg on July 19, 1962.


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  1. Longstreet, Stephen. A Century on Wheels: The Story of Studebaker. New York: Henry Holt and Company. p. 121. 1st edn., 1952.
  2. Biography at United Nations [ dead link ]
  3. UN booster is given nation's highest honor. Lodi News-Sentinel June 22, 1974. Accessed December 1, 2015
  4. 1 2 Price, Harry Bayard (1955). The Marshall Plan and Its Meaning. Governmental Affairs Institute.
  5. ECA Policy Board: Plan of Action for the ERP, 11 October 1949, Box 7, Folder: European Integration, 1650: Records of Ambassador Charles Bohlen, 1942-1971, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State, National Archives Building, College Park
  6. "Statement by Paul Hoffman at the 75th OEEC Council meeting (31 October 1949)" (PDF).
  7. Memorandum of Conversation with Senator Fulbright by Ware Adams, 13 October 1949, Box 4, Folder: Europe 1949, A1558CB: Policy Planning Staff/Council Area Files 1947-1962, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State, National Archives Building, College Park
  8. Raucher, ALan. Paul G. Hoffman: Architect of Foreign Aid. Lexington, KY: U of Kentucky P, 1985. Whitman, Alden. Paul G. Hoffman is dead at 83; Led Marshall Plan and U.N. Aid. New York Times, October 9, 1974.
Positions in intergovernmental organisations
New office Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
Succeeded by
Rudolph A. Peterson