A/MS files, lot 54 D 291, “Mutual Assistance Advisory Committee”
Minutes of the Mutual Assistance Advisory Committee Meeting, Held in the Executive Office Building, February 13, 19531
- Office of the Director for Mutual Security:
- Messrs. Stassen, Chairman
- Department of State:
- Messrs. Martin
- Department of Defense:
- Mr. Nash
- Gen. Stewart
- Mr. Efron
- Department of the Treasury:
- Messrs. Willis
- J. Wood
- Mutual Security Agency:
- Messrs. C. T. Wood
- Bureau of the Budget:
- Mr. Macy
- Mr. Lloyd
I. The Timing of the Congressional Presentation2
Action: The following schedule was accepted:
February 25—Agencies submit their revised 1954 programs to DMS. Mr. Ohly informed Mr. Nash and Gen. Stewart at the end of the meeting that Defense will make its submission to DMS at the same time that it goes to the Bureau of the Budget;
March 2—DMS will submit the total Mutual Security program to the Bureau of the Budget. BOB hearings on major programs will follow;[Page 577]
March 15—Bureau of Budget advises agencies of the final decision of the President as to overall amounts and agencies do necessary reprogramming;
April 20—Agencies submit revised programs to DMS;
May 1–4—Opening presentation.
Mr. Stassen stated that he would be personally available in the event that problems arise that might affect this schedule. He also announced that he would secure the President’s approval of a set of assumptions that might affect the timetable, such as Formosa and India.
Discussion: Mr. Ohly noted that some of the dates that would affect the timetable would be the March 2 date for submission to the Bureau of the Budget of the agency program re-examinations, March 25th when the report of the Evaluation Project would be received, the April 23rd meeting of the North Atlantic Council and the end of the fiscal year on June 30. Mr. Tannenwald suggested adding May 14 as the date when Congressional leaders had advised the President that appropriation legislation be through the House and the Senate.
Mr. Ohly said the problem of gathering the presentation group and the necessary briefing and presentation documents should be considered in developing the timetable.
Mr. Macy suggested that the Bureau thought the authorization legislation should go to the Hill by April 1 and that it should contain no administrative reorganization plans but that any such plans should be achieved under the Reorganization Act.3
Mr. Stassen observed that even with the $7.6 billion figure the NATO forces planned for 1954 could not be achieved. Mr. Nash reported that General Ridgway, whom Defense will rely on as a chief witness, wants to be able to have his testimony anchored to firm forces which are to be added to NATO after ’53. On this last point he observed that Defense is thinking in terms of 13 or 14 divisions while Mr. Martin and Mr. Ohly believe it would be closer to 10 or 12.
Mr. Stassen asked if the depth concept could justify the amounts in the present budget. Mr. Nash replied that he did not believe that they could since not all of the items would be common to the Ridgway and the depth concepts.[Page 578]
Mr. Stassen asked how long it would take Defense to build up a program following the Administration’s budget review. General Stewart replied that in fifteen days it would be possible to have a program which could be defended by categories although there might not be complete detail on all items. He noted that the military program for all Titles other than Title I can be justified by the services on the basis of the information that they now have. General Stewart estimated that April 15th would be the earliest date that Defense could go to Congress if the budget revision decisions are available by March 15 and DMS agrees to the military program.
Mr. Stassen raised the problem of working OSP into the program and Mr. Ohly indicated that a minimum of one week should be allowed for DMS to secure the coordination of all agencies.
Mr. Martin said that State would require six weeks following the President’s decision on the final figure for the program before it could go to the Congress and suggested the Executive Branch not try to make its presentation prior to the NATO Ministers Meeting April 23-25.4 Mr. Nash agreed and stated that General Ridgway would not be available as a witness until after the Council Meeting.
Mr. C. T. Wood stated that MSA could come within the same time limits as General Stewart had suggested for Defense. He suggested that it should be only in unusual circumstances that we tell Congress that the size of our program depends on the NATO Council Meeting.
In response to a question by Mr. Stassen, Mr. C. T. Wood indicated that the Committees do not go very far into individual country programs at the beginning of the hearings. He said that in general the House Appropriations and Foreign Affairs Committees get into much more detail than do the Senate Committees and that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is inclined to scrutinize the programs for particular countries in which certain committee members are interested. He said that the Senate Appropriations Committee hearings are usually brief with the members asking questions which they have received from their constituents.
Mr. Willis said that Treasury would like to have the program presented as late as possible. He noted that Treasury would be meeting through March with finance officials of several countries participating in the program.
Mr. Stassen asked if there was any possibility of preparing to present special concepts such as OSP or Asian policy. Mr. C. T. Wood [Page 579] and Mr. Ohly mentioned the use in past years of work with the Committee staffs and advance consultation with the chairmen and ranking members of the Committees.
Mr. Claxton stated that Rep. Chiperfield has urged the Executive Branch to present its program as soon as possible. He also observed that Congress is hoping for a session that will end at approximately the same time as it did last year, June 30, but that if hearings on the program do not begin until May 1 that is 1½ months later than the hearings began last year.
Mr. Efron stated that he would prefer seeking only technical amendments to existing legislation or alternatively seeking new legislation giving the executive broad authority. Mr. Eichholz expressed the view that the House Foreign Affairs Committee will not accept merely technical amendments. Mr. Efron observed that Rep. Chiperfield has suggested using the Richards bill (H.R. 1071) as a basis for the committee’s work. He mentioned that the Executive Branch has prepared a lengthy substitute bill.
Mr. Macy stated that the Bureau of the Budget suggested leaving organizational matters out of the bill. Mr. C. T. Wood said that advance consultation will draw out the administrative amendments that committee members may suggest. He suggested the Executive Branch might be prepared to accept an administrative device if it is popular with the committees if it would speed the overall legislation.
Mr. Martin noted that reorganizations under the Reorganization Act will now be considered by the McCarthy sub-committee. He suggested that the Administration should not let the changes wait until May. Mr. Stassen suggested that there should be advance consultation on any proposed reorganization. Mr. Efron suggested that House leaders do not see how the new administration can come up with good reorganization plans soon and might be willing to wait for next year’s presentation. Mr. Tannenwald noted that unless changes under the authority of the Reorganization Act are proposed by early March the 60-day period will not run.
Justifications for May Presentation
Mr. Nash cautioned that the reasons for not presenting the program earlier should be the need for program review by the new administration rather than solely one of waiting for the outcome of the NATO Council Meeting. He suggested that it might be possible, though there would be disadvantages, to begin the Congressional Presentation with the Far or Middle Eastern programs as early as April 15.
Mr. Martin stressed the need for going to Congress for a new Act. Mr. Macy concurred.[Page 580]
Mr. Martin noted that some of the agencies had not been informed of some of the information that DMS desires in the February 25th submittal. Mr. Ohly stated that he had just sent memos to the agencies indicating the material sought by way of testing the effect of reductions on certain programs.
Fund Available for All Titles
Mr. Nash asked whether the Bureau of the Budget will ask for a sum—as an example he used the figure of $1 billion—which will be authorized for programming by the Executive Branch in any area. Mr. Macy indicated that he has instructions to eliminate any “contingency” funds. Mr. Nash pointed to the need for a sum whose use would be in accord with one of several authorized alternatives. Mr. Stassen observed that much effort will be called for to explain the reasons and need for large unexpended balances and that if such an “alternatives fund” is not used at the year’s end that should merit reward rather than Congressional reproach. Mr. C. T. Wood stated that Representative Taber’s view would be that the Executive Branch does not know what it wants the money for.
II. Providing Information to Congress Prior to the Opening of the Presentation
Mr. Stassen mentioned the need for positive steps to prevent any adverse crystallization of Congressional opinion between now and the opening of the hearings. Mention was made of the advisability of advance consultation with staff and Committee members as well as the Chairmen and ranking members. Mr. Nash noted that the Executive Branch may get into the whole NATO problem when the Status of Forces Agreements and Protocol get into the Senate soon. Mr. Claxton suggested consideration of the value of overseas trips by the seven new members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (6 Republicans, 1 Democrat) and the five new members of the Foreign Relations Committee (3 Republicans, 2 Democrats). In response to a question by Mr. Stassen, Mr. C. T. Wood noted that the Chairmen of the Committees have indicated that they must approve the spending of counterpart for any trips. Mr. C. T. Wood urged further that a maximum amount of effort be put on consultation. He also advised avoiding steps that would result in newspaper publicity.
Defense Bill on Military Assistance to Japan
Mr. Efron suggested that Defense should delay taking to the Congress the Army legislation approving certain transfers which have taken place in Japan. Mr. C. T. Wood stated that he would oppose delay if it meant that the bill would come to Congress at the time that the Appropriations Committees are considering the final amount for the entire Mutual Security Program.[Page 581]
III. General Persons’ Responsibility
Mr. Stassen suggested that this problem on the Japanese transfer legislation should be taken up with General Persons.
IV. Suggested Items for Future Agenda
General Stewart suggested that there should be an announcement of responsibilities for handling the various parts of the Congressional Presentation. Mr. Ohly agreed that such a paper has to be prepared.
Mr. Efron suggested that next week the Committee should discuss and seek a decision on the type of legislation to be sought.
Mr. Nash observed that following the Munitions Allocation Council Meeting on February 16th on the purchase of $300 million of ammunition a policy problem will arise on the division of the amount between France and Italy.
Mr. Nash stated he believed that there were some outstanding problems on 1953 Defense Support that might come before the Committee. Mr. Ohly stated that he was not certain that they were ready for Committee consideration.
Mr. C. T. Wood suggested that there be further consideration of the “contingency” or “overall alternatives” fund.
- Regarding the origin, composition, and objectives of the Mutual Assistance Advisory Committee, see the memorandum by Sheppard, Oct. 27, 1951, p. 460.↩
- Regarding Congressional action on extending the Mutual Security Program in 1953, see the editorial note, p. 625.↩
- Reference is presumably to the 1953 Reorganization Act in which the 83d Congress, in its first major action, granted President Eisenhower the same powers to reorganize the executive agencies of the Federal Government as President Truman had possessed under the Reorganization Act of 1949. The bill, H.R. 1979, which became Public Law 83–3 on Feb. 6, 1953, extended the expiration date of the 1949 Reorganization Act from Apr. 1, 1953, to Apr. 1, 1955.↩
- For documentation on the Eleventh Session of the North Atlantic Council at Paris, Apr. 23–25, 1953, see vol. v, Part 1, pp. 368 ff.↩