65. Diary Entry by the President, May 18, 19561

I talked to Joe Martin about the foreign aid program and the chances of enacting the bill on OTC (Organization for Trade Cooperation).

[Here follows discussion of the difficulties the foreign aid bill was having in Congress.]

However, I asked Joe to come in to see me primarily because of my concern as to the general attitude toward OTC. There is a very great deal of misunderstanding concerning OTC. Attached is a memorandum that shows what OTC is.2

Joe understands this, as do the other Congressional leaders. However, since the popular concept is that OTC is a device for lowering tariffs, the project is disliked in manufacturing districts such as Joe’s. Consequently, he himself is very lukewarm.

I insisted that there be a conference called of Republican Congressmen (immediately after action on the foreign aid bill is completed) to make certain that each of them understands exactly what OTC is. Moreover, I insisted that each understand how intensely interested I am in having it favorably considered. I pointed out to Joe that many of these people would, this coming fall, be asking for my blessing in races for reelection. I told him that, as always, I would stand for principles and important measures, and of the measures I would insisted was needed by our country was this OTC. [sic] This would create a very difficult situation if we found a majority of House Republicans opposing me on this point; any request of mine under these circumstances for a Republican House would be greeted with a considerable amount of justifiable ridicule.

I think that Mr. Martin got the point; he promised faithfully to get the group together and allow any Congressman to present the case to the Congress whom I might consider capable of doing well.

I told Bryce Harlow to keep in touch with the matter, and expressed the opinion that Charlie Halleck would probably do the best job of anyone.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries.
  2. Not printed. Two papers attached were entitled “Important Facts on OTC” and “The Truth about the Organization for Trade Cooperation (H.R. 5550).”