107. Letter From Secretary of Commerce Stans to Secretary of State Rogers 1

Dear Mr. Secretary:

The President has asked me to transmit to you this Department’s views on the proposal for a Federally-chartered private enterprise corporation to promote private investment in the developing countries.

I have accordingly asked my staff to review the proposal presented in the Report of the International Private Investment Advisory Council (IPIAC) entitled “The Case for a U.S. Overseas Private Enterprise Development Corporation.”2 I understand that the IPIAC proposal is essentially the same as the one advanced by Senator Javits and included in the draft proposal for creating a Department of Peace.3 I am transmitting a copy of the staff review with this letter and hope you will find it of interest.4

My preliminary judgment is that there is scant evidence that the proposed corporation will help significantly to stimulate new private activity in the developing countries or impart a new direction to U.S. foreign assistance programs. These objectives, I believe, are paramount in any consideration of a change in U.S. foreign assistance machinery.

Moreover, I can foresee some possible disadvantages in creating an independent corporation to carry on some current assistance activities. Present coordination of relevant Government programs in the commercial and balance of payments areas, necessary to help meet broader national objectives, might be lost by the proposed change. I would also expect some adverse repercussions from any attempt to set up a new entity outside usual budgetary controls and to invest it with borrowing authority.

On balance and given the weight of other relevant considerations, I would not favor creation of a private enterprise corporation on the basis of the case made in the IPIAC proposal. I would, however, want to state clearly that I am in favor of a fresh, private enterprise approach to meeting [Page 256]developing country problems and would support a U.S. private development corporation that would overcome the problems and objections outlined above.

Sincerely yours,

Maurice H. Stans
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, FN 6-1. No classification marking. Attached to an April 3 letter from Rogers to Stans stating that many of the Commerce Department’s reactions were similar to those in the Department of State/AID analysis. Rogers enclosed a copy of Richardson’s March 25 memorandum to the President and its attachments ( Document 108).
  2. See Document 106.
  3. Not further identified.
  4. Not printed.