16. Memorandum From the Director of the International Cooperation Administration (Hollister) to the Acting Secretary of State 1


  • Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge’s Memorandum to the President

Answering your request of March 9th2 that I give you a report in connection with the President’s memorandum which enclosed Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge’s memorandum datelined Paris, March 5th,3 I am enclosing [for] you memoranda2 which have been submitted with respect to the various parts of this report by different people in my organization.

Of course, Ambassador Lodge has raised points which are basic in the whole foreign aid program and have been given a great deal of thought by me, as well as, I am sure, by my predecessors in this work. Some of the issues raised cannot be settled conclusively one way or another. Let me comment briefly on the five points he has made.


The trouble with the “flashy” project is that, in general, it does not stand the test of time, and if our effort is to be a constructive one, the brief publicity achieved by the flashy project may well be more than counteracted by the ultimate disappointment when a project turns out to have been flashy and nothing else.

Of course, we have long since decided not to try to make a country take something it does not want—what Ambassador Lodge refers to as the “Mother Superior” attitude, but it seems to me we would be equally foolish to spend a substantial amount of money to give a country something it wants if it isn’t good for it.


Obviously, Ambassador Lodge’s suggestion that we should be able to act quickly is basic. I think we have demonstrated that we can act quickly when an emergency arises. Examples have been given in the memoranda which I enclose. It must be realized, however, that speed in embarking on an expensive program, or one that involves some substantial policy decision, can frequently do more harm than good.

In any organization, particularly government bureaucracy, one must be continually alert to the elimination of red tape, and I think an organization such as this, where communication, except by cable, takes many days, we are always striving to improve our mission personnel so that more discretion and authority can be given to the field, and thus permit regular programs to go forward faster.

We, of course, are all agreed as to the desirability of authority for long-term projects. Ambassador Lodge refers to five or six-year programs. You will remember that I recommended that the long-term authority be made applicable to programs as well as projects.
This suggestion deserves study. Remembering the ill-fated UNRRA, and realizing the enormous overhead percentage cost of the international organizations now operating, I wonder whether we want to get into larger multilateral programs under the United Nations unless there is some very definite political advantage.
Ambassador Lodge’s statement here is indisputable, but it only covers a part of our program. Many of the countries with which we are dealing achieved their independence a good many years ago, and there is no relationship between our economic aid and this achievement. It would seem to me that the thing to stress is the fact that we have reached great heights through complete freedom of all kinds, that we support it everywhere, and that one thing we have demonstrated is that we are only too anxious not only to free, but to assist countries which through the hazards of war have come under our domination.
John B. Hollister
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Administration Series, Hoover, Herbert, Jr. Top Secret.
  2. Not found in Department of State files.
  3. Supra .
  4. Not found in Department of State files.