800.50 T.A./1–2849

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State


Memorandum of Conversation With the President

I mentioned to the President the desirability of developing point 4 of his inaugural address,1 that is, our assistance in the development of undeveloped areas. I suggested that the Department promptly give him a memorandum containing its recommendations on

An organization which would include the State Department, the Treasury, Department of Commerce, Export-Import Bank, the purpose of which would be to make suggestions as to the next step to be taken and an organization to be responsible for taking it.
A statement of problems which might arise.2

Dean Acheson
  1. For the text of President Truman’s Inaugural Address of January 20, 1949, see Department of State Bulletin, January 30, 1949, p. 123.

    For a discussion of the relationship between the Point IV concept and existing (as of January 1949) technical assistance programs, see article by Ruth S. Donohue, ibid., February 20, 1949, p. 211. Perhaps the best known of U.S. governmental programs relating to technical assistance or which had technical assistance aspects was that of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs (IIAA); for an informative statement by Willard L. Thorp, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, on the IIAA and its program, see ibid., June 19, 1949, p. 795.

    For further information on the origin of the Point IV program, see Betty Snead, “Point IV: How Ben Hardy’s Idea Became an Historic Speech”, in War on Hunger; A Report From The Agency for International Development, vol. vii, no. 5, May 1973, p. 7, and a related letter and accompanying memorandum of December 16, 1966, from Francis H. Russell (Director of the Office of Public Affairs, Department of State, in January 1949) to Edwin S. Costrell of the Historical Office (800.50 T.A./1–2849). For a somewhat different account, see Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (New York, 1969), p. 265.

  2. Assistant Secretary Thorp was designated to assume responsibility in the Department of State for developing a program of technical assistance based on the fourth point.