Memorandum by Mr. Louis J. Halle, Jr., Special Adviser, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs ( Barber )


In accordance with our conversation on the subject, I set forth here certain views on the organization and administration of Point Four technical cooperation in the other American republics.

[Page 857]

The present concept of how the technical cooperation program is to operate envisages the division of operational responsibility among some score of agencies in the U.S. Government, the Department exercising supervision over what they do. This concept is the product largely of acquiescence by the Department in the views advanced by the other interested agencies. The general attitude in the Department has been one of hoping that somehow the Department will be able to coordinate all these powerful independent agencies in Washington and that somehow our embassies will be able to coordinate their operations in the field. There has been some criticism that the Department has not thus far exercised the force of leadership necessary to an effective program and this naturally has its counterpart in doubt whether the Department, in such an interdepartmental setup as is contemplated, can exercise such leadership in putting the actual program into-operation. The present concept seems to many of us to be a formula for frustration.

Some of us have anticipated that weakness in the Department’s handling of Point Four may give rise to a move to centralize the responsibility elsewhere, and consideration would be given in such a context to providing a justification for perpetuating ECA. beyond its present two-year lease of life.

There is a possible alternative to the present drift of circumstances. It has been in many minds and now a precedent for it is being established in plans for the administration of Point Four in southeast Asia.1 That alternative would be to establish a single administering or operating agency for each of the three geographic regions involved (the respective areas of ARA, NEA, and FE). Presumably the Institute of Inter-American Affairs, revamped for the purpose, would be the agency for the Latin American area. It would conduct the actual operations in what are conceived to be the basic fields of economic development: agriculture, public health, elementary and vocational education, and perhaps communications. It would not, however, as is the present case, duplicate the technical staffs of USDA, USPHS, and any other competent regular agencies of the Government. It would, rather, depend entirely on them for the recruiting of technical personnel, for technical inspection of field programs, and for whatever else is embraced by the term “technical backstopping”. The respective country programs would not be under the direct daily supervision of the respective embassies. They would, rather, be under the direct daily supervision, in each case, of an IIAA Chief of Field Party, who would in turn have the same sort of ultimate responsibility to the Ambassador that IIAA Chiefs of Party have today. He would have under his supervision all the IIAA programs (in the several fields of the IIAA’s operations) [Page 858] and also special projects in fields outside of the IIAA’s scope operated by other agencies of the Government. Thus the Bureau of the Census might directly operate some project for technical assistance in census-taking with Point Four funds allocated by the Department and under the general field supervision of the IIAA Chief.

There is reason to believe that this “chosen instrument” approach2 might be acceptable to the other agencies of Government, if it were agreed that they would supply the “technical backstopping”, where it is not agreeable to them today under circumstances in which IIAA duplicates to some extent their technical staffs. I am told, for example, that the USDA has indicated informal agreement to the use of ECA as the chosen instrument in southeast Asia on this basis.

From our point of view, of course, a fundamental point is that the IIAA, while a separate agency of the Government from the Department of State, is fully under the control of the Department through its Board of Directors appointed by the Secretary. This is not the case with the ECA.

Underlying this memorandum is one prepared at my request by Philip Glick, Acting President of the IIAA.3 It sets forth in more detail the general scheme and arguments that I have sketched above. I do not agree with it in all its points but consider it a sound and competent basis, subject to revision, for reaching agreement among the bureaus and offices concerned in the Department. It has already been discussed with Mr. Gardiner4 of NEA and a copy of it is in his hands.

I should note here that Mr. Glick advocates a single agency within the Department for the entire world, but proposes the alternative of regional agencies in close association and combination with one another.

Passage of the Point Four legislation is now impending momentarily. The next rapid move will be the presentation to the Congress of appropriation requests, and it may be expected that tables of organization and various procedural matters will become gelled in the process. I do not believe it would be useful for us to putter further with the proposals set forth above and in Mr. Glick’s memorandum. [Page 859] However, a joint move by Mr. Miller,5 Mr. McGhee,6 and perhaps Mr. Rusk7 at the upper levels of the Department should certainly prove effective. I am mindful of the fact that up to the present (or up to the last few days in the case of Mr. Rusk) the geographical Assistant Secretaries have not been given the occasion to develop and bring to bear their own views on how the Point Four program should be setup and run. The Regional Bureaus in the past few months have had more occasion to deal with details than with the overall plan.8

Louis J. Halle, Jr.
  1. For documentation on economic and technical assistance to Southeast Asia, see vol. vi, pp. 1 ff.
  2. A term then popular in the Department of State, in reference to an existing agency or program, or one to be newly created, which would be the vehicle (“chosen instrument”) for the administration of the Point IV program in a given area, as in Latin America (the IIAA) or the Near East (to be established).
  3. Not attached. It is quite probably the same as a memorandum attached to the Halle memorandum of February 9 (see footnote 10, p. 856) and entitled “The Institute of Inter-American Affairs and Technical Assistance in Latin America under Point 4” (820.00–TA/2–950).
  4. Arthur Z. Gardiner, Refugee Adviser, Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs.
  5. Edward G. Miller, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.
  6. George C. McGhee, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs.
  7. Dean Rusk, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs.
  8. In a memorandum of June 30, 1950, to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs (Barber) and several of the “area” officers of ARA (Messrs. Atwood, Clark, Mann, and Shillock), the Director of the Office of Regional American Affairs (White) commented in part:

    “In my judgment, a number of suggestions made in the memorandum, particularly those relating to the consolidation of all operating functions of Point Four in Latin America under the IIAA, are excellent ones and conform to the ‘chosen instrument’ approach which Mr. Miller and I had previously discussed with Mr. Iverson. It seems to me, however, that there are other considerations in this memorandum which require close consideration:

    Firstly, it appears to mark a complete abandonment of our earlier concept that the Embassies would have the primary role in programming technical assistance and in the responsibility for economic development surveys.

    Secondly, it is not clear from the memorandum that ARA would have any definite responsibility at the Washington end in these same matters.

    Finally, I am somewhat disturbed about the discussions on Pages 9 and 10 of the memorandum concerning the relationship of the Chief of Field Party to the Ambassador. It does not seem to me the arrangement outlined conforms to the recommendation of the Rio Conference of Ambassadors which said:

    ‘Operations of all U.S. Government agencies affecting the economy of a given Latin American country should be directed towards the execution of a single comprehensive program for the development of which the U.S. diplomatic mission in the field should bear the primary responsibility.’”(820.00–TA/6–3050)

    Kenneth R. Iverson was the newly appointed President of the Inter-American Institute (the IIAA).