Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Mr. Lucius D. Battle, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State
Mr. Lawton called the Secretary this morning to discuss with him the problem of ECA–State relationship and a paper which Mr. Webb has apparently shown to the Secretary.2 The Secretary said that he had been over the paper with Mr. Webb. It was all right so far as he was concerned. He thought he understood it and saw no objection to it.
Mr. Lawton said Mr. Foster was quite upset about the paper. Mr. Foster feels it would be the end of ECA as an independent agency and that it might be better to move ECA formally to the State Department. Mr. Lawton said that Mr. Foster was worried about the Cabot–ISAC Committee relationship and felt that in effect ECA was moved down to the country-desk level and would receive instructions from this group.
Mr. Lawton said that he thought that there must be planning on NATO and back-stopping for it and that there could be no proper coordination without “teeth in it”. He said that this proposal simply puts the teeth into the coordinating function and by the funds going to the State Department a real coordination could be effected.
Mr. Acheson said that he did not feel this proposal put ECA in anything like the position Mr. Foster felt it did. He mentioned that, [Page 288]while he would be responsible for allocating, after receiving the recommendations of ISAC, there was still an appeal available by anyone who was dissatisfied to the President of the United States. Mr. Acheson said that he felt this should be stressed with Mr. Foster.
Mr. Lawton said that he planned on talking with the President this morning and that the President might want to talk to the Secretary and to Mr. Foster. Mr. Acheson said he would, of course, be glad to join any meeting, if it would be helpful. Mr. Lawton also mentioned that it might be desirable for Mr. Acheson, Mr. Foster, Mr. Harriman and Mr. Lawton to sit down together for general discussion in an effort to get an agreement on the plan. The Secretary said he would like very much to have Mr. Webb present if it were agreeable to the others, but told Mr. Lawton he thought that it would be helpful if he went ahead with his plans for discussion with the President today.