716.5 MSP/7–1453

The Ambassador in El Salvador ( McDermott ) to the Department of State


Totec 3.


  • Circular Telegram 1237 of June 29, 1953.1


  • Report to Director of Mutual Security on United States Aid Program in El Salvador, January–June 1953.


Substantial and increasingly rapid progress was made during this period in attainment of major United States foreign policy objectives in El Salvador through technical assistance supplied under the Mutual Security Program. Objectives were clarified and extended during this period, under pressure of local political developments, to include an extensive program of rural rehabilitation and betterment. Action programs [Page 1006] now in preparation to carry out this program will require substantial increases in United States technical assistance in a number of fields.

The outstanding current local need is for increased efficiency of organizations of all kinds, public and private, together with sound development of local industry. Local recognition of this need was reflected in the signing of a Productivity Center Agreement on May 14.2 Personnel was requested by the Salvadoran Government to work in cooperation with private commercial, industrial and service enterprises to increase their efficiency from the technical and administrative as well as the organizational standpoints. This Agreement is also of key importance to United States program development since it constitutes a precedent for reorganization on a joint fund basis of the agricultural mission and should lead to establishment of a joint fund Education Mission in the near future.

Submission of the Productivity Center Agreement to the National Legislative Assembly brought to light the tendency toward economic nationalism among certain deputies. This development has caused delay in ratification of the Agreement.

Vigorous cooperation and warm appreciation continued to characterize the attitude of Salvadorans towards the United States technical assistance program. Of particular significance was the fact that awareness among local leaders of the DTC form of organization and its effectiveness for broad and balanced program planning and operation is beginning to bring about a corresponding closer integration among local Ministries, and others concerned with planning and carrying out programs for economic and social development.

At the request of the Salvadoran Government extensions were negotiated of agreements for Fisheries, Health, and Agriculture. Requests were fulfilled for technicians in public administration, labor standards, industrial safety, industrial hygiene, administration of orphanages, and agricultural courses in public schools. The range of these requests reflects the broad scale of needs of the local government for assistance and the decisive current importance of industrial development. At the same time, it may also reflect an increasing pressure on U.S. technical assistance resources due to failure of U.N. to supply promised technical assistance.

All agreements under the Mutual Security Program continued to be fully honored by the local government.
A record coffee harvest and consequent prosperity has stimulated political, economic and social development of the country. There is a general optimistic outlook for stable economic conditions which will strengthen local interest in foreign investment.
El Salvador is generally adjudged the leader of ODECA (Organizacion de Estados Centro Americanos) following the withdrawal of Guatemala from the organization.3 Internal conditions continue to be very stable.
United States technical assistance contributes materially to internal political stability, particularly in its role of improving rural living standards.
Major economic projects for the reporting period included the projected coastal highway which will open up a rich agricultural area, heretofore unexploited; completion of the country’s first cement plant; continued research leading to improved port facilities, and progress toward completion of the Lempa River Hydroelectric project.
Favorable social effects of the Technical Assistance Program have become increasingly evident as the action programs have reached the point where achievement can be measured. Outstanding in this respect is the effect of the training program. The economic effects can be expected to increase rapidly with the change of emphasis by the government from general welfare projects to industrialization, as indicated by the signing of the Productivity Center Agreement.
The attitude of the government and general population toward the United States and its assistance program has been extremely favorable during this reporting period. Increased interest on the part of private organizations is evident as a result of increased emphasis on the economic development aspects of the program. The traditionally close political, social and economic ties with the United States have been strengthened by U.S. interest as manifested through technical assistance. A marked increase in appreciation of the technical assistance program has become evident as the work of the various operating missions yield tangible results and can be evaluated.
Michael J. McDermott
  1. The referenced telegram requests reports from Chiefs of Mission concerning progress toward achieving objectives under the Mutual Security Program (700.5 MSP/6–2953). The lettered paragraphs below correspond to paragraphs in circular telegram 1237.
  2. For text of the referenced agreement, signed at San Salvador, May 14, 1953, and entered into force on the same date, see TIAS No. 3122, or 5 UST (pt. 3) 2568.
  3. See footnote 3, p. 1069.