800.50 T.A./2–949

Operational Memorandum Regarding the Technical Assistance Working Group 1

Responsibility has been delegated by the President to the Department of State for implementing “Point Four” of the Inaugural Address, namely, the “bold new program” of extending technical assistance to under-developed countries. Mr. Thorp has been designated as the responsible officer within the Department to develop this program.

To date, two committees have been set up as follows:

The Advisory Committee on Technical Assistance (ACTA), an inter-departmental committee, consisting of the eight Agencies including the Department of State, concerned with the program.
The Technical Assistance Working Group (TAG), an intra-departmental committee consisting of representatives from E, C, SA/M, ARA, EUR, FE, NEA, OFD, TRC, ITP, PA, OIR, OEX, SCC and IIAA, and chaired by Mr. Samuel Hayes of E.2

TAG has already held four meetings and expects to continue daily sessions (except Wednesdays), so to advance the program as rapidly as possible. Mr. Butterworth3 has asked me to serve as FE’s representative on this committee, and I shall try to keep all Divisions informed as the program evolves.

Prior to the first meeting of TAG, a list of major problems in connection with an expanded technical assistance program was compiled in question form. These questions were assigned to various officers in the Department for the preparation of preliminary papers to be considered by TAG. After TAG has come to a general agreement upon the delineation of a problem, it is planned that the paper will pass to ACTA and in turn will be assigned by them to the appropriate agency within the Government to develop in detail that particular phase of the program. This will then become policy, only after regular intra-agency clearance through the established channels of the SCC, the ECEFP, or other appropriate inter-departmental group. FE will therefore receive two opportunities to review and pass on questions which may come up before the Technical Assistance Committee, once when it is in the preliminary stage in TAG, and finally when the proposed policy is being cleared on an inter-departmental basis.

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In the meetings already held, a number of controversial issues have arisen. One major question has arisen in connection with the scope of the program. One group would interpret it as basically a production program, with everything relating thereto. Another group interprets it as a program for economic development in the broadest sense, to include raising the standard of living not only through increased production but also through programs of public health and education. Another has involved the relation to the program of the international flow of capital. The President used the words, “We should foster capital investment in areas needing development”. It is not clear whether this refers to private investment alone, or to Government lending as well. The President’s statement with regard to “guarantees to the investor” also requires study.

In the meeting this morning the creation of a public advisory committee was discussed. Such a committee would act in an advisory capacity to the Secretary during the formative stages of the program and would seek to rally the support and cooperation of private organizations and groups throughout the country. It is expected that this project will be consummated at an early date, and that a committee of from 8 to 12 prominent citizens will be invited to assist in the evolution of the “Point Four” program.

There are attached hereto copies of all the documents which have been published to date. It will be appreciated if each Division would designate one officer to be responsible for matters connected with the Technical Assistance Program so that future papers may be routed directly to him for comment and clearance.4

  1. Drafted by R. D. Weigle of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs for the guidance of FE division chiefs.
  2. This committee, which became known as TAG, was established on an informal basis on February 9, 1949 “to coordinate staff work in the development of a Department of State position with respect to the establishment of the Point IV program”.
  3. W. Walton Butterworth, Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs.
  4. None attached.