Secretary’s Memoranda, Lot 53 D 444

Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Personal Assistant to the Secretary of State (Evans)

confidential

Participants— Secretary Acheson
Mr. William Foster, ECA

The Secretary telephoned Mr. Foster to discuss the handling of ECA in his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Foreign Aid Bill.1

The Secretary said he thought we should not fight to not have ECA wound up. He thought he should follow the lead of the President’s message and the draft bill, and what he should say was that the President has suggested that the method of dealing with the question of ending or continuing ECA should be the one which permits the least dislocation. The President’s recommendations allow the Committee to go into the whole question, consider the various alternatives, and make up its own mind; the original idea of ECA can be adhered to or changed. The Secretary said he thought it was bad to have rumors about what the Committee is going to do. There is now a fine, going concern, and, if there is a lot of talk about what is going to happen to it before the Committee makes up its mind, the whole ECA administration [Page 335]will be unsettled. The Committee should be able to make up its minds, without rumors, and then take the action it determines upon.

Mr. Foster said he thought that was right, and he agreed that the more talk there was, the more difficulties ECA would have. He suggested that the Secretary might be able to lean a little more heavily on the advantages of keeping the going concern of ECA in being than he, Mr. Foster, could. He thought he should be almost neutral, although his personal judgment was that it is better to go on with ECA, since by doing so, less momentum would be lost. He thought the Committee would probably come out with that judgment.

The Secretary again said he thought that care should be taken not to be too blatantly insistent that ECA should not be ended; for he thought that would be the surest way of bringing the Committee to the decision to end it. Mr. Foster said he was quite certain that was true.

  1. The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held hearings on the Mutual Security Program between June 26 and July 31. Secretary of State Acheson testified on June 26, 27, and 28, followed by Secretary of Defense Marshall (June 29 and July 2), W. Averell Harriman, Special Assistant to the President (July 3), and ECA Administrator Foster (July 10–11). Numerous additional administration witnesses as well as other individuals appeared during the course of the proceedings. For the record of testimony, see Mutual Security Program: Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, United States House of Representatives (82d Cong., 1st sess.). The text of Secretary Acheson’s prepared statement of June 26 also appears in Department of State Bulletin, July 9, 1951, pp. 46 52.