ECA-MSA Executive Assistant’s File, FRC 55 A 79, box 186, “W. Averell Harriman”

The Director of Mutual Security (Harriman) to the President1


My Dear Mr. President: During the past few days I have had several talks with Fred Lawton about the proposed Mutual Security Program for the fiscal year 1954. I have given Fred frankly my views about the program, but I do not know what he will decide to recommended to you. After reviewing the requests totaling about $9.5 billion as presented by State, Defense and M.S.A., I recommended a figure of approximately $7.7 billion, exclusive of infrastructure of about $200 million which was not covered by last year’s program. It may well be that several hundred million dollars more can be squeezed out of this figure of $7.9 billion without endangering the program, but before expressing a definite view I would want to get more information from the Defense Department, inasmuch as the appropriations for military items are by far the largest portion of the program. There are so many uncertainties ahead during the next eighteen months that I believe there should be some elbow room in the sums requested to take care of requirements that cannot be clearly defined today.

I hope that you will not find it necessary to come to a decision until Dean, Bob and I return from Paris, now scheduled for Friday, December 19th.2 I believe we will have some new light on this situation in Europe and I suggest you give us the opportunity to express our personal judgments before you make your final decision.

Respectfully yours,

  1. Copies were sent to Director of the Bureau of the Budget Frederick J. Lawton and Ohly.
  2. Secretary Acheson, Harriman, and Defense Secretary Robert Lovett traveled to Paris in mid-December to participate in the Tenth Session of the North Atlantic Council, Dec. 15–18, 1952; for pertinent documentation, see vol. v, Part 1, pp. 348 ff.