13. Memorandum From the Administrator of the Agency for International Development (Hannah) and Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon 1
- Presidential Support for Foreign Assistance Bill (HR 14580)
This year’s Foreign Assistance authorization bill (HR 14580) was reported out of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on November 6, 1969, and will reach the floor early in the week of November 17. The Bill submitted by the Committee recommends an authorization of $2.18 million, roughly $500 million below your request of $2.63 million.
We understand that proposals for further cuts will be made on the House floor, and that the adherents of the Bill, primarily Democrats, are unwilling to resist these further cuts, or to attempt restoring the cuts already made, unless you strongly indicate your support for the Bill.2 Also, Republican opposition is likely to remain strong unless party leadership effectively dampens it down. The Senate has not yet acted on the Authorization Bill either in Committee or on the floor and most importantly, the Appropriation Committees in both Houses have yet to act. Further damaging reductions could be made at any or all of these further stages.
The House Committee cuts, and those we can expect from the floor, have particular significance for Latin America. The Committee, which is generally sympathetic to the Hemispheric program, cut $100 million from the requested new obligational lending authority of $437.5 million [Page 36] and $16 million from the technical assistance request of $116.0 million. Following up on your Latin American address of October 31, 1969,3 and together with the November 17 commencement of the IA-ECOSOC meeting in Washington,4 our Latin American partners and interested sectors of domestic opinion will be closely watching Congressional action on the foreign assistance program and the efforts of the Administration to obtain a favorable result. The credibility of your commitment of October 31 to continue strong U.S. support and assistance for development in the Hemisphere will be weighed by those two groups in terms of Congressional action on the Foreign Assistance Bill.
The amounts recommended for authorization by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in other parts of the A.I.D. program also were sharply reduced. The $100 million reduction in Supporting Assistance will so limit our ability to help the Vietnamese Government finance the costs of Vietnamization of the war that we risk being charged with bad faith. Any further substantial reduction in Supporting Assistance would almost certainly require seeking a supplemental appropriation early next year. The $200 million reduction in Development Loan funds will perpetuate the recent failure to do our fair share in several international development consortia, particularly those programs seeking to capitalize on the agricultural breakthrough in Southern Asia.
- That you consider a public reiteration of your support for the full foreign assistance budget request as well as direct appeals to the Congressional leadership for their active support in at least holding the levels proposed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
- That Assistant Secretary Meyer be authorized to emphasize your strong support for the Foreign Assistance Bill in his remarks to the IA-ECOSOC conference which starts here next Monday.5
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 193, AID, Volume I 1969. No classification marking. Attached, together with an October 30 memorandum from Hannah to President Nixon, to a November 18 memorandum from Bergsten and Nachmanoff to Kissinger recommending direct Presidential intervention to avoid cuts beyond the $500 million already made in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the foreign assistance bill. According to the Daily Diary, the President did not make any calls to the House Congressional leadership on November 18 or 19. (Ibid., White House Central Files)↩
- Hannah was actively working to raise the levels of funding. Attached to an undated handwritten note from Hannah to Kissinger is a paper entitled “Non-Military Aid—FY 1970,” dated November 17. The paper indicated that the House Foreign Affairs Committee the previous year had authorized $1,975 million for non-military aid and asserted that “the minimum HFAC authorization” for 1969 should be $1,947.7 million. (Ibid., NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 193, AID, Volume I 1969) Hannah’s handwritten note to Kissinger reads: “Henry: Attached is a copy of paper left with Adair and Morgan. Bergsten has a copy. In event you have not seen this, it will give you background on where we are. Sec. Rogers has called Adair and Morgan—but there is no substitute for a direct word to them from the President.”↩
- For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, pp. 893-901.↩
- See Document 122.↩
- There is no indication of the President’s decision on the recommendations.↩