Memorandum by the Special Assistant in the Bureau of Economic Affairs (Dort)


Budget Hearings (3/21/51)

Latin America Economic

The following points were of particular significance.

Mr. Miller made the following general points:

That the economic program in Latin America was primarily one of long term significance and should not be viewed simply as an emergency program.
That we should extend aid even though some countries temporarily might have governments we do not particularly like. Governments come and go and we can not constantly change our basic attitude toward the countries in Latin America with each change in government. By cooperation and steady pressure we can influence them for the better.
The Inter-American Highway program should be a part of the omnibus bill1 since it has the same basic objectives, i.e., securing greater production and greater cooperation. It also has some significance for defense.
In answer to possible criticism that Latin America had a low priority at the present time and therefore all assistance should be directed to other areas, he said that this concept of priority was fuzzy. We do have an absolute interest in Latin America.

The following remarks of particular significance were made by the Budget Bureau representatives:

The justification should be greatly sharpened up in relationship to the increase of production, particularly of vital materials, which would result directly or indirectly from the program.
Whereas it might not be hard to justify the programs at current levels only a particularly significant objective would justify any substantial increase in view of the current demands on our resources.
Although the questioning ultimately developed relatively clear purposes and concrete results in connection with the programs, this was not evident in the written justification. The justification was largely in generalities, building good will, etc. They felt that for Congress it was essential to develop a comprehensive country picture indicating specific goals and anticipated results from the programs together with indications from past experience of the effectiveness of the work. As a result of the testimony on several sample countries they seemed satisfied that such material was available.

  1. For documentation on foreign aid legislation, see vol. i, pp. 266 ff.