A/MS Files, Lot 54 D 291, Point IV Organization: General
Memorandum by the Technical Cooperation Administrator ( Bennett ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Webb )
Subject: Organization and Administration of the Point 4 Program
I believe there is reason to be confident that the technical cooperation activities proposed in the 1952 foreign aid program will be regarded favorably by the Congress. We will be able to point to considerable accomplishment in spite of the short year, the recruitment and other difficulties and the necessity to build slowly and carefully the necessary foundation for such a long-range cooperative program.* More importantly we will be able to tell a good story on future outlook—in terms of (1) general bilateral agreements negotiated looking toward long-term cooperation for economic development, (2) progress of joint planning in the field, (3) reception of the program and willingness of governments to devote substantial efforts and resources to the program, (4) possibilities of increasing food production, and (5) plans for utilizing land grant colleges, private non-profit organizations and business firms on a broader scale.
We should immediately re-examine our organizational structure to determine what changes are required to enable us to operate this expanded Point 4 Program within the Department of State with the maximum effectiveness.
It has been argued that the State Department is incapable of administering an “operating” program—that in some magical way all operating problems would become simpler if such an organizational change were made. I do not understand this point of view. I should like us to meet that issue squarely and promptly.[Page 1649]
There is no good reason why an operating arm of the State Department cannot function just as rapidly and effectively as any outside body. In fact the task of policy guidance and coordination is made easier by keeping the program within the Department’s framework. But I believe that the Department must be willing to give its “operating arm” the same authority and flexibility to function operationally as it would give to an outside operating agency.
I recognize the necessity for placing upon the Regional Bureaus the central responsibility for determining basic over-all U.S. political and economic policies and objectives with respect to the countries within their regions, and for coordinating all of our programs affecting those countries. But I believe it is essential that TCA be given the initiative for program development and relative freedom in carrying out approved programs.
The pattern of organization and administration for Point 4 necessarily was laid down before I took office. During the months I have been here I have studied this pattern carefully. I am convinced that the program is suffering from an excessive dispersion of responsibility. Responsibility for detailed development of programs and projects and for general supervision of field activities is shared within State by TCA and the Regional Bureaus. Responsibility for recruitment of specialists, for getting approved technical projects underway and for technical supervision of field work is borne by a dozen participating Federal agencies.
Participation in our operations by many agencies has both advantages and disadvantages. It is unwieldy but it makes available to the program all of the resources and experience of the Federal Government. In the long run it will make for a better program. Some modification eventually may be necessary in the precise role of the agencies but any significant change at this time would be unwise.1
However, since we must deal with a great many U.S. agencies and private groups and with a complex of multilateral organizations it is imperative that we have within the State Department a highly centralized capacity for decision and action. I am the first to concede that the Administrator of Point 4 cannot and should not carry on his activities independently of the interests and responsibilities of others in the Department. He must work as a member of a team. There is no reason why this requirement of team work cannot be met and at the same time leave no doubt as to where the initiative and operating responsibility rest.
I am attaching as Tab A2 a longer memorandum which outlines my organizational proposals in some detail. If you agree with this general approach, I would appreciate having Mr. Humelsine and his [Page 1650] staff proceed with necessary discussions and action to give effect to these proposals. I hope you will agree with me in my feeling of urgency in this matter.