890.00/2–2450: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic and Consular Offices 1


A mission headed by B. Allen Griffin, Calif publisher, distinguished mil career both wars including DSC and former Deputy Chi ECA Chief, will arrive points Sou and SE Asia approx as per fol sched: Saigon Mar 5; Singapore Mar 14, Rangoon Mar 19; Bangkok Mar 25; Jakarta Apr 3. He will be accompanied by his wife and by Samuel Hayes, Special Asst to Asst Secy for Econ Affairs, William McAfee, Country Specialist, Bureau of FE Affairs, Henry Tarring, Jr., an engineer in J. G. White Co., Taipeli, and two secys, Miss Elinor Koontz, a court reporter, and Miss Mary Randolph. US Treas Attaché Lipsman of Manila expected accompany Mission Saigon and Jakarta. In effort achieve maximum coordination other missions, has been arranged that Ross Moore, Chief Technical Collaborations Branch, Dept of Agri, and Howard Kline, US Public Health Serv repr, will accompany Griffin Mission to Rangoon, Bangkok and Jakarta. In addition Ray Moyer, Chief, ECA Formosa and Stanley Andrews, Dir Fon Agri Relations, expected accompany Mission to Saigon. A representative of the mil estab will travel throughout the area and keep in close touch with Griffin Mission.2

The basic purpose of Mission is to ascertain most urgently if there are justifiable projects suitable possible Sec 303 financing which will have immed polit significance and demonstrate US interest in area such as projects for rice demonstration and extension work and anti-malaria campaign now prepared for submission Secy. In addition Mission expected to lay groundwork anticipated Pt IV program unknown dimensions with special attn giving it proper perspective to avoid disillusionment; counsel local auths on preparation for it; brief our representatives current Dept’s technical assistance thinking; and [Page 25] investigate regional aspects technical and econ assistance programs. Re Burma, recently developed policy (Deptel 62 of Feb 13)3 applicable and Mission will direct attn to further development projects already outlined and additional ones within framework policy.

Griffin given Ministerial rank for trip and proceeding with support of Secy and Pres.4 He will transmit prelim report to Dept from each country and final report which in addition listing immed projects will appraise local govt’s attitude toward collaboration anticipated programs, advise re maximum coordination UN Pt IV and other assistance programs and appraise regional approach to implementation and possible needs regional coordinating orgs. Suggested Emb point out to local govts the desirability that, for econ or technical assistance projects they might plan discuss with Mission, they prepare detailed plans and supporting data, including natl org for admin and natl contribution in local currency and personnel needed for joint effort.

Dept recognizes limitations brief on-spot survey and slow nature achieving basic reforms countries this area yet wishes maximum effort demonstrate US intentions. Dept desires every effort be made assist Mission, e.g., making appropriate high level contacts Depts Fin, Commerce, Agri, Fon Affairs, Public Health and agricultural, industrial and financial leaders and arranging necessary field trips. Dept believes Emb shld appoint senior officer to serve on continuing basis as focal point technical and econ assistance activities who wld assist Mission in every way. Effort shld be made point up whatever Emb has done of nature related objectives of Mission pursuant earlier instrs and make all facilities of Emb available to Mission to extent feasible.

Publicity of Mission shld be avoided. To extent necessary explanation can be given along line Mission sent to prepare way most expeditious and efficient use whatever assistance funds available making clear presence Mission has no necessary relation to amt assistance but emphasizing effective use whatever magnitude may be. Amt Pt IV funds not known and will not be available prior start next fiscal year.

Over expectations must be avoided; this one reason Dept has attempted consolidate various surveys as described para 1. Emphasis can be given existing positive US assistance such as ECA and Exlm–Bank loans but do not mention possibility Pres authorizing use See 303 funds.

  1. Sent to Bangkok, Djakarta, Rangoon, and Saigon; repeated for information to Manila, Hong Kong, Paris, London, and The Hague.
  2. For an account of the Griffin Mission by a participant, see Samuel P. Hayes, The Beginning of American Aid to Southeast Asia: The Griffin Mission of 1950 (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath and Company, 1971), This work consists largely of the texts of the reports prepared by the Mission regarding Indochina, Malaya, Burma, Thailand, and Indonesia.
  3. Telegram 62 to Rangoon, February 13, is not printed.
  4. A memorandum of conversation by the Secretary of State, February 20, read as follows: “The President approved the [Griffin] mission and said that he would look with favor upon the allocation of Section 303 funds if the mission should report the possibilities of immediate action.” (Secretary’s memoranda: Lot 53D444)