Under Secretary’s Meetings, 1949–1952, Lot 53–D2501

Minutes of Meeting (UM–1), Department of State, February 8, 1949, 10 a. m.


[Here follow list of persons present (17) and discussion of prior items on the agenda.]

Major Foreign Policy Questions Facing the Department Arising out of Point 4 of the President’s Inaugural Address

7. Action: Mr. Thorp, who is responsible for coordination on Point 4 of the President’s Inaugural Address, will report back to the meeting developments or policy questions which should be considered by the meeting.

8. Discussion: Mr. Thorp pointed out that there are two aspects involved in the President’s Point 4: (1) the development of technical assistance, and (2) the making available of capital for the carrying on of projects. At present the technical assistance aspect requires immediate attention. There are about 25 agencies of the Government administering some part of our present programs of technical assistance.

9. Mr. Thorp outlined the major problems involved in developing Point 4.

Defining the scope of the program. The question here is how far do we go beyond providing technical assistance for economic purposes. Thus, does it include health and education, indexing of [Page 763] libraries and anthropological studies? The latter, of course, are of great concern to FSA, Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institution, and they wish their programs to go forward.
Are we to take an active or passive role in the development of programs in other countries? That is, should we decide on where we want technical assistance to go, or should we wait until countries have requested assistance?
Governmental organization for administration. Shall there be a separate agency with a special fund or shall we leave our governmental organization as is, simply supplementing the amount available to them now?
Relation of the Government program to private operations in the field. The President indicated that he wants technical assistance carried out with the assistance of private projects such as the Rockefeller, Curie, and Henderson efforts.2
The problem of the UN. The President wishes the programs developed to be handled through the UN wherever practicable. The UN is already in this field. Presumably, we would not object to giving additional dollars to the UN. However, we may wish to give more technical assistance in a certain area than the UN is prepared for. The UN needs to centralize technical assistance projects now being handled in each of these specialized agencies in order to get a better integration. Projects need to be developed.
Area selection and review. To which countries should technical assistance be given or should it be available to every country? There are also the questions of security and defense in connection with where technical assistance is sent.
The problem of setting up projects. The President has indicated that he wants others, both American private and foreign, as partners in any technical assistance projects. Reference was made to a joint US-British project under ECA to find strategic raw materials.
The basic question of how far we go in areas where the results of technical assistance would create competition with products in the U.S.

10. In summary, Mr. Thorp pointed out that there are two general questions: (1) Whether new legislation will be required, and (2) the question of appropriations. The latter will be very difficult to inasmuch as it will be perhaps impossible to be specific in terms of amount needed at the time legislation goes through.

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11. Mr. Allen3 agreed that the economic aspect of Point 4 is the one which should be stressed. However, he pointed to the Mundt Bill4 as the legislation which could be the vehicle for carrying on the technical assistance necessary. He feels that very serious consideration should be given at an early stage as to whether that piece of legislation does not meet the requirements.

12. In response to Mr. Webb’s5 inquiry as to whether Mr. Kennan6 should not be cut in on the preparation on technical assistance, Mr. Kennan felt his need would be met if he simply had an observer sitting in on this.

[Here follows discussion of other subjects.]

  1. Master file of records of meetings, documents, summaries, and agenda of the Under Secretary of State’s meetings for the years 1949–1952 as maintained by the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State.
  2. The references here are not readily apparent except in the case of Rockefeller. Ex-President Truman in the second volume of his memoirs has this to say: “In developing the [Point IV] program, I made it clear that all existing private and governmental activities would be utilized. American business enterprises overseas and private non-profit organizations such as the Rockefeller Institute or the Institute of International Education could furnish much valuable information and assistance in making technical services available to underdeveloped countries.” (Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, Volume Two: Years of Trial and Hope, Doubleday, Garden City, N.Y., 1956, P. 233)

    For information regarding the Advisory Board on International Development and its membership, chaired by Nelson D. Rockefeller, see Department of State Bulletin, December 4, 1950, pp. 880–881, and ibid., December 18, 1950, p. 974.

  3. George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.
  4. Public Law 402, January 27, 1948, The United States Information and Educational Act of 1948 (62 Stat. 6), known as the Smith-Mundt Act, authorized the extension of scientific, technical, and cultural interchange to areas of the world outside the Western Hemisphere. A major part of the program was administered by the Interdepartmental Committee on Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (SCC), a committee established originally in 1938 by the Secretary of State at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and whose operations had been implemented by several acts of Congress since then.
  5. James E. Webb, Under Secretary of State.
  6. George F. Kennan, head of the Policy Planning Staff of the Department.