Memorandum by Mr. Ivan B. White1 of the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Miller)

The following comments are submitted in regard to your two memoranda of January 172 re economic agenda items for the coming Consultation of Foreign Ministers:

I suggest that if a modification of Item 3b is required, it take the following form: “Production and distribution of products and services in short supply to provide within limits imposed by the emergency for the requirements of the American republics and for the continuation of [Page 935] essential economic activity and expansion of essential productive facilities.”3
I am becoming increasingly dubious about the advisability of a resolution entitled “Emergency Programs to Strengthen the Home Front” for the following reasons:4
In view of the fact that Congressional action will not have been taken at the time of the Conference either in respect to the fiscal year 1952 Point Four programs or expansion of lending authority of the Eximbank, Congressional reaction to U.S. participation in such a Resolution would be unfavorable. Furthermore, we would run the risk of a recurrence of commitments in excess of performance.5
In view of the fact that there are wide variations country by country in economic development financial needs, in U.S. previous performance in meeting such needs, and in governmental attitudes towards U.S. Point Four assistance, economic development and technical assistance materials can most efficiently be dealt with on a bilateral basis.
With respect to the five specific suggestions, I submit the following comments:
We intend that targets for production of essential foods will be set forth as a result of: (a) U.S. determination of requirements; (b) a Conference Resolution setting forth such targets in connection with the “production for defense” item in the agenda; and (c) subsequent IA-ECOSOC planning of the production program in pursuance of a general directive from the Consultation of Foreign Ministers.
With reference to disease control, it is my opinion that the U.S. reaps greater returns in goodwill from the masses through the operation of the Health & Sanitation programs of the IIAA 6 than it does from OAS multi-lateral activities in the same field. If this conclusion is correct, it points to an expansion of the IIAA Health & Sanitation programs, and we have, in fact, made provisions [Page 936] for a doubling of this program in the Point Four budget for fiscal 1952 which has been submitted.
In my judgment, our internal transportation activities during the emergency period should be concentrated on specific needs to meet specific situations in the individual countries, whether such situations arise from the need to maintain the basic economy of the country or to facilitate the production and distribution of strategic materials. I visualize this as a process which should take the form of bilateral programming and financing. On the multi-lateral front, I fear that we will be fortunate if we are able to go ahead with the Inter-American Highway and question the advisability of attempting any continental network of roads beyond that point during the emergency period.
From what we already know of the economic and production pattern in Latin America, I believe we would be well-advised to concentrate on manpower utilization in the fields of military manpower and of the expansion of production in minerals, fibres and essential food products. These are the things which the Latin Americas, from the economic standpoint, can best do. Our task is to put over in Washington the basic concept of utilizing Latin America to do these things as a means of meeting U.S. manpower and supply deficiencies and to get a policy which will permit the shipment to Latin America of the agricultural equipment, fertilizers and other items needed to make such a program effective.
I propose as an alternative to the suggestions of Nelson Rockefeller and the others that we proceed along the following lines in dealing with the problem of economic development:
That the Secretary, in his opening address7 at the Consultation of Foreign Ministers, set forth, and possibly elaborate, the basic U.S. policy in regard to economic development and technical assistance in Latin America as set forth in the President’s budget message.
That the Latin American Governments be informed prior to the Conference that, during the stay of the Foreign Ministers in Washington, the U.S. Government is prepared to discuss with them individually economic development and technical assistance problems.
That Nelson Rockefeller and his group be informed of the foregoing and of our intention to include Dr. Bennett8 and his staff in those bilateral discussions which relate to technical cooperation.

  1. Mr. White became Director of the Office of Regional American Affairs on February 19, 1951.
  2. One of the two memoranda by Mr. Miller under date of January 17 is printed supra; in the other memorandum, which was addressed to Mr. Thomas C. Mann, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, Ambassador Dreier, Ambassador Fletcher Warren, Director of the Office of South American Affairs, and Ambassador Albert F. Nufer, Acting Director of the Office of Middle American Affairs, Mr. Miller suggested that, in view of his discussion with members of the International Development Advisory Board and anticipated comments from Latin American governments, the U.S. seek a modification of agenda item III (b) to read as follows:

    “Production and utilization of products and services in short supply to provide within limits imposed by the emergency for the requirements of the American republics for continuation of essential economic activity and expansion.” (Miller Files, Lot 53 D 26)

  3. On January 31, the Department of State proposed a revision of draft agenda item III (b); for text of the relevant communication from Ambassador Dreier to Secretary General Lleras Camargo, dated January 31, see Department of State Bulletin, February 12, 1951, p. 266.
  4. In a memorandum to Mr. Miller, dated January 23, 1951, Ambassador Nufer stated in part that he was “Inclined to share Mr. White’s doubts as to the advisability” of a resolution along the lines suggested by Mr. Miller (363/1–1751).
  5. In a memorandum to Mr. Miller, dated January 23, 1951, Ambassador Warren stated in part the following: “It would be difficult to overemphasize the importance of refraining from making or implying any commitment which we cannot fulfill. It would be better to go on record for less than we intend to give.” (363/1–2351)
  6. The Institute of Inter-American Affairs (IIAA) was originally incorporated in 1942 and became a U.S. Government corporation in 1947. It was established to aid governments in the Western Hemisphere by promoting technical programs and projects for health, sanitation, and food supply. As of mid-1950, the IIAA operated in conjunction with the Technical Cooperation Administration (TCA) in Latin America. For background information on the IIAA, see the statement made by Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Willard L. Thorp before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 10, 1949, printed in the Department of State Bulletin, June 19, 1949, pp. 795–797. For information on the IIAA’s activities and its relationship with TCA in 1950, see the editorial note in Foreign Relations, 1950, vol ii, p. 679.
  7. For text of Secretary Acheson’s address, delivered before the opening regular session of the Meeting of Consultation on March 27, see the Department of State Bulletin, April 9, 1951, pp. 569–573.
  8. Henry G. Bennett, Administrator, Technical Cooperation Administration