Under Secretary’s Meetings, 1949–1952, Lot 53–D250

Minutes of Meeting ( UM–6), Department of State, February 18, 1949, 10 a. m.


[Here follow list of persons present (16) and discussion of prior items on the agenda.]

Report on Technical Assistance Progress

5. Mr. Thorp explained that there was a departmental policy committee and an interdepartmental committee working on this problem. The former meets four times a week, the latter twice. The interdepartmental committee’s function is to give general guidance on preparations and to consider general policy statements. The Interdepartmental Committee on Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (SCC) is working at the programming level.

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6. There are four key documents that have been prepared:

A statement of objectives on the nature of the program. This has been cleared in the Department and interdepartmentally except for a few agencies which will report their views by Monday. It was explained that there have been protests from the working level in the various agencies on the slowness with which the program has developed. This may be explained, Mr. Thorp said, by the fact that the agency representatives on the top committee have not wanted any programming to be developed at the working level until policy had been pretty well set.
Relation of our technical assistance program to the UN. This paper has been cleared in the Department and will be cleared by the Executive Committee on Economic Foreign Policy this afternoon.
Flow of private investment in connection with technical assistance. A paper has been developed in the Department and will be discussed tomorrow with the interdepartmental committee.
Criteria for programs by geographic areas. This is in preparation.

It is expected that these four papers will be ready to go to the President by the middle of next week.

7. On the operating level, Mr. Thorp reported these developments:

The SCC is preparing a summary of what has been going on in the technical assistance field. (Mr. Thorp mentioned that already there was on the Hill a detailed budget request for $30 million for 1950 from the various programs such as SCC, IIAA and ECA. This was established before the Inaugural Address.)
The Office of Research in the Department has thirty people preparing studies on as many countries. They are examining the question of what kinds of technical assistance will be useful in each of the countries and priorities among these kinds of assistance for each country. These papers, when prepared, will be reviewed by the country experts in the Department.

8. Mr. Thorp mentioned that the Bureau of the Budget has set a legislative dateline of April 15. However, he had set a dateline for completion of the work as March 20. On March 7 there should be completed sufficient studies on what the UN may wish to do, what the IIAA and SCC want to do, so that it will be possible to correlate the ambitions of the various groups wishing to provide technical assistance and the projected demands for assistance. The correlation of these two will give the dimensions of the program. It still, however, will not be programming.

9. Work is going forward on legislative questions such as the authorization to detail United States Government experts to work in foreign countries. By February 23 there will be a report on what type of legislation is needed.

10. The interdepartmental group has wanted to delay the setting up of a public advisory council until the Government had prepared the four key papers listed in paragraph numbered 6 above. Tomorrow [Page 772] this group will take up the question of the advisory group, for which it has already assembled a list of sixty names as possible candidates as a panel from which the President may make a selection.

11. The organization people wanted to delay working on the organization question until the basic papers had been prepared. The character of the problem, however, can be seen from the estimate that the funds will total somewhere between $70 and $100 millions (including the $30 million already requested). The question is whether the allocating responsibility for this money shall be attached to the White House or to the State Department.

12. The Under Secretary raised the question of how we can get these developments tied definitely to our foreign policy objectives. Mr. Kennan requested that the four key papers referred to be made available to his office.

13. Mr. Allen raised two questions:

Whether we should not use an existing agency which has experience in making allocation of funds for such programs as against establishing a new one. Mr. Allen referred to the failure of the Millspaugh Mission,1 which was established in the Near East some time ago, as the type of experience which needs to be drawn upon in allocating funds. He said we must look at our failures and establish principles for the allocation of funds. One inferred that he meant SCC has the experience to do the job.
Money additional to that which has already been requested of the Congress should be made available mainly to non-ECA countries. Mr. Butterworth agreed with Mr. Allen that this is very important psychologically for the other countries.

14. Mr. Gross mentioned that at the Paris Meeting of the UN2 he had been the delegate on the Commission for the UN Administration. He had been instructed to urge a limitation of funds for health and social work. Thereupon the Inaugural Address raised this whole question. He expected at the third session to meet in April the Far East and Latin American countries would put pressure for technical assistance. This, he said, was in line with the thinking of Mr. Allen and Mr. Butterworth.

15. The Under Secretary said that he assumed from Mr. Thorp’s progress report that the existing interdepartmental machinery was adequate to meet the deadlines that were set up. He was grateful to hear that, in as much as there had been some doubt about it. The Under [Page 773] Secretary asked whether Mr. Hulten3 had consulted with Mr. Thorp on the organizational problems. Mr. Hulten replied that there have already been discussions between Mr. Allen, Mr. Thorp and his own office. The picture at the moment is not to his liking but his office is reviewing the whole problem.

[Here follows discussion of another subject.]

  1. For documentation on the position of American advisers in Iran, with particular reference to Arthur C. Millspaugh, American Administrator General of Finances in the Iranian Government, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iv, pp. 510 ff.; ibid., 1944, vol. v, pp. 390 ff; and ibid., 1945, vol. viii, pp. 538 ff.
  2. Refers to the first part of the Third Session of the General Assembly, which met at Paris September 21–December 12, 1948. Ernest A. Gross was Legal Adviser of the Department of State and shortly to be Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations.
  3. Charles M. Hulten, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Administration.