Editorial Note

On August 9, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs reported H.R. 5113, a draft Mutual Security Act which cut $650 million from the President’s request of May 24 and established a Mutual Security Agency to replace the Economic Cooperation Administration effective December 30. For other provisions, see The Mutual Security Act of 1951: Report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States House of Representatives (House Report No. 872, 82d Cong., 1st sess.) (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1952). On August 17, the House of Representatives passed an amended version of H.R. 5113 (260 to 101) after cutting an additional $350 million from economic aid to Europe.

On August 24, the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Armed Services reported a draft Mutual Security Act which authorized the expenditure of $7,535,750,000 in Fiscal Year 1952 (only slightly more than proposed in the House bill), but differed markedly from the House version of H.R. 5113 as to administration of the program. Rather than creating a new agency, the Senate bill provided for the continuation of divided responsibility among the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the ECA, under the coordinating authority of an independent Presidential board. Regarding the Senate version, see The Mutual Security Act of 1951: Report of the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Armed Services of the United States Senate (Senate Report No. 703, 82d Cong., 1st sess.) (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1951). On August 31, following three days of debate, the Senate passed (61 to 5) the bill reported by the Joint Committee, after reducing economic aid to Europe by $250 million.

House and Senate conferees reached agreement on September 27 regarding a version of H.R. 5113 which authorized $7,483,400,000—approximately $1 billion less than requested by the President. Under the conference bill, the functions of ECA were transferred to a new Mutual Security Agency headed by a Director for Mutual Security who was authorized to coordinate the entire Mutual Security Program. The Defense Department continued to determine military end-item requirements while the Point Four Program for technical aid to underdeveloped areas remained under the control of the Department of State. Regarding the conference bill, see The Mutual Security Act of 1951: Conference Report (House Report No. 1090, 82d Cong., 1st sess.) (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1951).

The conference version, slightly amended, was approved by the Senate on October 2 by a vote of 56–21, and by the House on October 5, 253–298. H.R. 5113 received the President’s signature on October 10, becoming the Mutual Security Act of 1951 (Public Law [Page 390]165, 82d Cong.; 65 Stat. 373). For a summary of the provisions of the act, see extract from Current Economic Developments, October 15, page 425. For the text of President Truman’s remarks on the occasion of signing the Mutual Security Act, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1951, pages 563–564, or Department of State Bulletin, October 22, 1951, page 646.