103. Editorial Note

On March 30, 1961, President Kennedy appointed ICA Director Henry R. Labouisse as chairman of a task force to bring about the transition from existing foreign aid programs to the new approach outlined in the President’s March 22 message. Labouisse was given “responsibility and authority to formulate programs and legislation appropriate to bring into effect my proposals, as well as to establish a new organization which will integrate the programs of ICA, DLF, the Peace Corps and the Food for Peace Program.” (Memorandum from President Kennedy to the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, and Defense, et al., March 30; Department of State, Central Files, 700.5-MSP/3-3061)

At his press conference on April 12, President Kennedy formally announced the creation of this task force—what he called “an advisory group”—under Labouisse. He also indicated that Eugene Black, President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and “other distinguished members of the banking community” would be helping the administration on the problems of development assistance abroad, while Theodore Tannenwald, a New York lawyer, would assist in the drafting of the foreign aid legislation, and George Gant of the Ford Foundation would help with the organizational aspects. Finally, he announced the appointment of several experts to provide advice on putting the aid on a sound and economical basis, which the President called “the most important phase of the effort.” For text of the President’s statement, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, page 258.

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Labouisse created three task force groups, or subcommittees, as follows: Legislation and Congressional Presentation, chaired by Tannenwald; Organization and Administration, headed by Gant; and Program Development, with Frank M. Coffin, Managing Director of the Development Loan Fund, as chairman. In addition, Professor Max Millikan, Director of the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, and Henry Alexander, Chairman of the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, headed panels of private citizens and consultants.

The task force met regularly during the spring of 1961. It solicited comments and suggestions from posts abroad in circular telegram 1644, April 21. (Department of State, Central Files, 700.5-MSP/4-2161) For text of a report entitled “Research and Development in the Development Assistance Program,” prepared by the Development Assistance Panel of the President’s Science Advisory Committee, which was made available to Labouisse’s task force, see the Supplement. Following NSC discussion of U.S. policy toward Cuba on May 5, NSC Record of Action No. 2422-l, approved by the President on May 22, directed implementation of several measures to strengthen the Alliance for Progress. (Department of State, S/S-NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council) Among these measures, the task force was directed to study Latin American needs and capacity to absorb capital in preparation for the administration’s proposed request for a supplemental appropriation of $200-400 million for development loans for FY 1962. (Memorandum from Ball to Labouisse, May 9; Department of State Bulletin, June 12, 1961, page 918)

The Labouisse task force report was published as a paperback pamphlet under the title An Act for International Development: A Summary Presentation, June 1961 (Department of State Publication 7205).