Editorial Note

A fundamental organizational problem beset the Point IV program from the beginning. Within the Department of State there was uncertainty as to the focus of authority and responsibility, affecting relationships between the “General Manager” and the regional bureaus. Another Washington problem was the question of the appropriate role of the other government agencies participating in the program, the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, the Public Health Service, etc. Under the original plan, these agencies were actually delegated responsibilities for particular functional segments of the program—agriculture, health education; they were to be alloted funds, to recruit personnel and to send them to the field, to administer projects, and to receive reports. Also at the Washington level was the question of the position of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs (the IIAA), a government corporation which for more than 10 years had successfully administered a technical assistance program in Latin America.

Abroad, there was the problem of field relationships between the diplomatic mission, the technicians, and the administrators. In Latin America there was again the IIAA, already operating a going and successful program. In other areas of the world the organizational problem merged with the problem of the character and scope of the Point IV program. The Point IV program was (according to the enabling statute) “to aid the efforts of the peoples of economically underdeveloped areas to develop their resources and improve their working and living conditions by encouraging the exchange of technical knowledge and skills and the flow of investment of capital to countries which provide conditions under which such technical assistance and capital can effectively and constructively contribute to raising standards of living, creating new sources of wealth, increasing productivity and expanding purchasing power.…”(64 Stat. 198, Title IV, sec. 403(a)) Was this concept to be applied restrictively or broadly? What was its relation to the totality of current national security objectives? More specifically, what was to be the relationship between Point IV programs and other United States foreign economic [Page 852] aid programs that were primarily an adjunct to the United States defense program? The organization with which relations had to be clarified was the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), already supporting Point IV-type projects in the colonial African possessions of the OEEC metropolitan governments and in early 1950 about to undertake economic aid to strengthen the economies of the newly independent and underdeveloped countries of Southeast Asia in support of more immediate defense and political goals rather than long-range economic development (the so-called STEM programs). The upshot was a Department of State–ECA agreement in April 1950 in respect of colonial Africa and another State–ECA understanding in November 1950 with regard to Southeast Asia, delineating a division of responsibilities in those areas as between types of economic aid programs. There is an extensive documentation on these matters in the Department of State’s central indexed files (800.00–TA, 820.00–TA, 870.00–TA, 880.00–TA, 890.00–TA, and country files as appropriate) and in Lot Files 122 and 54–D291. Essentially, it may be said that at the end of 1950 Latin America was the only area where there were Point IV programs of significance in being, and these were essentially IIAA programs.

The papers that follow are intended to illustrate aspects of some of the problems just described and do not necessarily appear chronologically.