Even before the U. S. entered World War II, art professionals and organizations such as the American Defense Harvard Group and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) were working to identify and protect European art and monuments in harm’s way or in danger of Nazi plundering. The groups sought a national organization affiliated with the military which would have the same goal. Francis Henry Taylor, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, took their concerns to Washington, D. C. Their efforts ultimately led to the establishment by U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the "American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas" on June 23, 1943.
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