71. Memorandum From the Acting Regional Director for Latin American Operations (Atwood) to the Assistant to the Director of the International Cooperation Administration (Sage)1


  • Follow-up on Recommendations of “An Economic Program for the Americas”2

In response to a memorandum on the same subject, addressed to you by Frank C. Kimball, Executive Director, IDAB, and dated September 30, 1955,3 there is given below the information requested therein on the extent to which ICA programs have rendered technical advice to and aided in the organization of development institutions in Latin America.

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For various reasons not all Latin American countries can be included. In Paraguay, for example, where there are in existence a National Council for Economic Coordination and an Economic Planning Commission, U.S. technicians have not been called upon to give advice because the Paraguayan Government used U.N. technicians for the purpose. The Development Commission of the Dominican Republic has not relied upon any foreign technical advice. In Peru, on the other hand, where about five years ago a North American group of private consultants, headed by Dr. Julius Klein, formulated a plan for the economic development of that country, no special development institutions were set up. The Cabinet appears to be the coordinating body and Government Ministries implement the recommendations of the Klein Mission availing themselves freely of the advice available from the ICA technicians. This occurs, of course, wherever ICA has a Cooperative Servicio in a Government Ministry or cooperates in other ways on the developmental projects undertaken by a Ministry.

Bolivia—An Economic Planning and Coordination Commission was established in October 1953 with the advice and assistance of the USOM which has continued to participate in the deliberations of this body. There is being set up an overall minerals mission to assist the Bolivian Development Corporation and other agencies of the government to secure better management of their mineral activities which are of paramount importance in the national economy.

Brazil—There are no specific projects to provide technical advice to development institutions. Functional segments of the USOM, however, have been and are working on various projects to which certain Brazilian institutions, which might be defined as development institutions are parties. Through the Getulio Vargas Foundation, which is charged with the task of “national development” USOM technicians are serving in the fields of business administration and of public administration at state and local levels. The Amazon Valley Development Authority is receiving advice in the fields of public administration and health and sanitation, and the San Francisco Valley Authority in health and sanitation. In the State of Minas Gerais, the nine northeastern states, and the State of Rio Grande do Sul, U.S. technicians are advising the rural development associations which combine activities in rural credit, soil conservation, agricultural extension and community development.

Chile—Provision is being made for a university-to-university contract between Chicago University and Catholic University in Chile in setting up an overall pool of planning which will provide a nucleus of trained personnel to assist in the developmental planning of Chile. The Chilean Development Corporation, which prior to September 1954 had the cooperation of a U.S. technician in the field of [Page 337] economic research methods, has not requested technical assistance since that date.

Colombia—There are two national planning bodies, the National Economic Council and the National Planning Committee. The Council is concerned with short term economic and monetary problems, while the Committee engages in long-range planning for economic development. The USOM follows closely developments in either group which might affect the Technical Cooperation Program. It is possible that as the work of the National Planning Committee develops technical advice from the USOM will be requested.

Costa Rica—Overtures were made to the USOM in February 1955 with respect to assistance in the establishment of a National Economic Development Planning Coordination Board. However, the Government of Costa Rica abandoned this approach and proposed creation of an economic planning unit within the University of Costa Rica. Assistance in this direction is being considered in conjunction with the University of Florida proposals for reorganization and strengthening of the University of Costa Rica.

Cuba—U.S. technical advice was made available to the Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank to determine the capacity and to recommend methods to increase production and diversification of the food processing industry.

Ecuador—Two consultants were provided to a National Planning Board which has been established by the Ecuadoran Government. They are part of a foreign group of five serving as a working staff to the Board.

El Salvador—Planning for economic development is carried out within the Ministry of Economy. The USOM provides an economic advisor who has assisted in the establishment of an Institute for Economic Studies devoted to general economic development planning.

Guatemala—The National Economic Planning Council was set up early in 1955. The USOM has provided technical advice to this organization, but not on a regular or organized basis, as well as specific information relating to our program plans.

Haiti—U.S. technicians are advising the Artibonite Valley Authority on agricultural development.

Honduras—In October 1954 there was established an “Organizing Committee for the Economic Development Plan” which was to draft a law to set up a National Economic Council and make suggestions concerning the immediate rehabilitation of the North. This Committee has, however, gone ahead with drawing up a five-year plan for economic development requesting from time to time USOM technician assistance in the preparation of its studies and recommendations.

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Nicaragua—An Institute of National Development was established in January 1954. U.S. technicians have advised the Institute from time to time on technical problems. Earlier in the present calendar year, two economists were assigned through the Technical Cooperation Program to assist the Institute in its work of planning and effecting national economic development programs.

Panama—Since September 1954 and preceding that date the USOM has supplied to the Institute for Economic Development the services of an agricultural credit expert, a farm machinery technician, and a hydraulic engineer. A joint fund contribution of $25,000 to be matched by Panama is to provide for specific studies and services in the fields of transportation, power and agricultural development. At the instance of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development the dormant National Economic Council was revived early in 1955, but the USOM has as yet no direct connection with it.

Uruguay—The USOM Public Administration Advisor recommended to the Government in his comprehensive report “Public Administration in Uruguay” the creation of an Office of Economic Planning as a dependency of the Council of Government describing in some detail the functions of such an office. He also discussed the proposal with the Chairman of the Council of Government.

Surinam—U.S. technicians have been advising the new Development Planning Bureau in the fields of agriculture, housing, health and vocational education.

British Guiana—The Office of the Development Secretary, which is the planning and economic policy agency for the economic development program has been assisted primarily in the fields of agriculture, housing and general community development.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, ICA Director’s File, FRC 61 A 32, Box 309, Latin America.
  2. Reference is to a report prepared by J. Peter Grace, Jr., under the direction of the International Development Advisory Board (IDAB), and presented to Harold Stassen in September 1954.
  3. Not printed. (Washington National Records Center, ICA Director’s Files, FRC 61 A 32, Box 309, Latin America)