443. Editorial Note

At luncheon on December 8 at Camp David, President Eisenhower, Secretary Dulles, Secretary of the Treasury Humphrey, Secretary of Defense Wilson, and Dr. Howard Snyder, the President’s [Page 838]personal physician, reviewed several matters, among them the problem of financing the Aswan Dam. On this subject,Dulles recorded the following:

“There then ensued some general conversation. Secretary Humphrey expressed the view that if we went to Congress for specific authorization on a project like the Aswan Dam, it would probably be defeated on the grounds that it would ultimately increase agriculture production and also that every Congressman who wanted a dam for his district would press against giving a big dam to the Egyptians.

“I said that I did not think that Congressmen ought to be called upon to vote on specific projects which involved these difficulties for them but that the responsibility should be taken by the national administration and Congress merely asked for general authority. However, this needed to be such as to permit of supporting projects which had several years to run; only thus could we dependably support major projects which were of a character to catch the popular imagination and produce the psychological results we sought.

“The idea then developed that we might ask Congress for authority to use not more than 100 million dollars a year for 10 years for ‘soft’ local currency loans, subject, however, to appropriations to be made on an annual basis. This would be somewhat like the policy adopted to finance the Marshall Plan where there was an authorization for 4 or 5 years but with only annual appropriations.

“The net result of the proposal would be to enable the Administration to undertake long-term projects, aggregating in value one billion dollars.

“The President thought this was an interesting idea to be explored.” (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President)