Under Secretary’s Meetings, Lot 53 D 250

Record of the Under Secretary’s Meeting, Department of State, February 7, 1951


UM M–303

[Here follows discussion of matters other than foreign assistance.]

Foreign Aid Legislation for Fiscal Year 1952 (UM D–134)1

7. Mr. Thorp explained that consultations on the Hill to date had been favorable to a single-package bill, built on existing legislation and arranged geographically rather than functionally in its outline, although both regional and functional aspects would be fully covered in the justification.

8. One problem is whether a single appropriation should be sought for Europe or whether some separation should be made in the European area between military end-items and economic assistance. While the Department of Defense prefers a separation, the other interested agencies favor a single lump-sum, as being more consistent with the whole bill’s singleness of purpose for one reason. Mr. Thorp emphasized the importance of making the April 2 or 3 deadline for presenting the legislation [Page 277]to the Congress. He said that the deadline has been set that late primarily to obtain assurances as to European capabilities and intentions as part of the justification. Failure to meet the deadline would have three unfavorable effects: the Congress might feel that the Administration is uncertain of what to do, our European friends might get the same impression, and the Soviets might read the delay as an indication of lack of determination on our part. Further delay would be threatened if difficulty is encountered in working out the plans of the European countries. Mr. Thorp felt that we should proceed on the stated schedule regardless of the outcome of the European negotiations, especially since the orientation of the bill is global.

9. Mr. Webb called attention to the still earlier deadlines for the various programs to go to the Bureau of the Budget in order to meet the April 3 presentation to the Congress.

10. Mr. Webb commented that he had intended to discuss State—ECA arrangements with Administrator Foster2 but that at present these issues are being considered under Budget Bureau guidance from the over-all administration point of view. Mr. Webb believed that the Budget group will be of assistance in the planning of this legislation.

11. Mr. Rusk raised the problem of the effect of the security and anti-Communist aspects of the bill upon other programs such as Point IV. He felt that this factor will complicate some of our “neutral contacts”. Mr. McGhee suggested that this problem might be met by ECA, for example, employing a different approach in the various countries. Mr. Thorp said that it might be possible to operate country-by-country from different divisions within ECA, specialized according to a security or non-security emphasis, as the local situation required. Mr. Rusk felt this idea had some merit.3

12. Mr. McGhee expressed some concern about the inflexibility of the one-package approach, particularly where new programs are affected. He feared that certain emergency programs might be delayed for as long as 18 months by the time the omnibus legislation is passed and administrative considerations such as FBI clearance have been provided for. Mr. Webb commented that the earmarking of 25 millions as an emergency fund for the use of the President is one way of meeting this point. The Secretary agreed with the importance of the problem raised by Mr. McGhee. Mr. Thorp recognized that the problem is a basic one and said that we must work toward [Page 278]greater flexibility in the legislation. We want to be able to shift the funds where necessary to meet the emergencies. Mr. Webb commented that, on the other hand, the inherently rigid tendencies of legislation in some cases have helped us to obtain increased flexibility in shifting funds. Mr. Thorp added that the ECA legislation is the best practical example of ability to shift within the purposes of the Act. We hope for more of this ability in the forthcoming bill.

[Here follows discussion of other subjects.]

  1. Document UM D–134, February 5, 1951, titled “Foreign Aid legislation for Fiscal Year 1952”, is not printed. It consisted of a one-page outline of the projected legislation and a presentation guide, also in outline form. (under Secretary’s Meetings, Lot 53 D 250)
  2. William C. Foster, Administrator, Economic Cooperation Administration.
  3. For additional documentation on the Point Four program, particularly on the question of whether Point Four-type technical aid should be administered by the Department of State or by the Economic Cooperation Administration, see pp. 1641 ff.