6. Memorandum of a Conversation, Washington, July 20, 19561

PARTICIPANTS

  • Clarence Randall, Chairman, CFEP
  • D.A. FitzGerald, ICA
  • Mr. Galbreath, CFEP
  • Colonel Cullen, CFEP
  • T.V. Kalijarvi, State

The meeting was called by Mr. Randall to explore his views on his new responsibilities and to discuss his plans. He conceives of his job as combining broadly responsibility for trade matters and for [Page 20]foreign economic policy. He is looking forward to the preparation of the State of the Union message and to other acts of leadership in the foreign economic policy field. In Mr. Dodge’s assignment, Mr. Randall said, he had covered everything except the field of responsibilities of Mr. Randall. He went on to say that the President in his letter to Mr. Randall2 stated that he expects him to come up with a bold new approach. Mr. Dodge, according to Mr. Randall, tried to build foreign economic policy by the case method, but nothing had emerged.

He remarked that Mr. Humphrey had stated that foreign economic policy is the failure of the Eisenhower administration. Secretary Dulles had remarked that the biggest problem of the immediate future is our trade policy. In this context Mr. Randall expressed horror at a statement by Mr. Stassen that “we should deny our aid and economic assistance to those who do not accept our political philosophy.”

Mr. Randall discussed the “study group concept” to examine our aid policy. The President had thought of a top-level group to advise him on a continuing basis and had so recommended to the Congress. The Senate had turned down the idea and set up its own group,3 which would undoubtedly devote itself to the investigation of past “give-away programs.”

In view of the Senate action, Mr. Brundage arranged a meeting of Messrs. Adams, Dulles, and Hoover to discuss the matter. This meeting considered a group, limited to five, to study foreign aid. Mr. Randall said he was very unhappy with the names suggested. Secretary Dulles had expressed a desire for a Hoover Commission4 type group, but, according to Mr. Randall, this raised the question of conflict with Congressional activities and of possible conflict of interest in the case of some proposed members.

[Page 21]

Mr. Brundage had also considered the appointment of five consultants to ICA, but Mr. Randall was not happy with this because it was too narrow and did not encompass the whole field of foreign economic policy.

As for a committee composed of citizens not engaged in governmental work, Mr. Randall took exception to that too. He said that Dr. Hauge had been in favor of it. Mr Randall does not want to place in power any public figure who might feel he could change policy by his activity on a commission. Mr. Randall has doubts about such a commission. Furthermore, the time element is such that it would be impossible to get together the kind of staff required.

Mr. Randall went on to say that he conceived his responsibility to be to come up with a “bold new look.” He recognized the necessity for Secretary Dulles’ participation in this matter and has just prepared a letter suggesting that no further activity be undertaken until Secretary Dulles returns from Latin America.

He plans to seek views from various sources for the next 60 days. He will go to Paris and to the Pacific to talk with people on the firing line. At a recent meeting in Paris, he stated, economic officers made it clear that they did not know why they were in Europe; they did not know what our foreign economic policy may be in the future. He wants to talk over foreign economic policy matters with those “who bear the responsibility for them.” He wants to do this in the same way that he had carried on his studies under the old commission. His proposed method of procedure is to take each man alone for one hour and make a record for the CFEP. Each man presents a paper for 20 minutes and discusses it for the balance of the hour with Mr. Randall. Messrs. Galbreath,5Cullen and Siefkin6 will go along and make records for the CFEP.

Mr. Randall said it is necessary to move pretty fast. He said the group did not know what the pressures were from the “boss” and the Cabinet. He plans to go to Paris August 13, 14, 15, 16. He does not want any “blowing of trumpets.” It has been suggested that he deal with the Far East as well as Europe at one time, but he had turned that down. FitzGerald raised the question of going South as well as East and West.

Mr. Randall then said “the Administration expects me to present some of these questions to the American people,” and “I plan to do some speaking and writing during the Fall.”

Mr. Randall proposes to initiate the program by sending a cable to selected individuals telling them that “you will hear from me.” [Page 22]He would then make the arrangements himself. Mr. Kalijarvi pointed out to Mr. Randall that Secretary Dulles had some doubts as to formalizing a meeting in any one place with the officials proposed in the telegram, and said that he would have to take the telegram back to the Department for clearance.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 100.4/7–2056. Confidential.
  2. Eisenhower’s letter to Randall dated July 10, 1956, is printed in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956, p. 594.
  3. In S. Res. 285, adopted on July 11, 1956, the Senate established the Special Committee to Study the Foreign Aid Program. The committee, first chaired by Senator Walter George (D–Ga.) and subsequently by Theodore Green (DR.I.), contracted with 11 private U.S. groups to conduct studies of various aspects of U.S. aid. The committee was instructed to transmit the results of these studies to the Senate not later than January 31, 1957.
  4. The Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, commonly called the Hoover Commission after its chairman, former President Herbert Hoover, was established on July 10, 1953, to study the workings of the various departments and agencies of the executive branch and to make recommendations which would improve efficiency and eliminate waste in Government operations. The commission submitted 20 reports to Congress in the 2 years of its existence. For a summary of the commission’s findings, see its Final Report to Congress (Washington, June 1955).
  5. Dr. Edward C. Galbreath, White House economist.
  6. Forest D. Siefkin, Vice President and General Counsel of International Harvester; consultant to Clarence Randall.