93. Paper Prepared by the Administrator of the Agency for International Development (Hannah)1
Three and one-half years ago, I found myself talking to you in company with Secretary Rogers about the possibility of becoming your Administrator of U.S. A.I.D. 2
You indicated support for the basic concept of foreign assistance for the third world and expressed the conviction that to gain the Congressional and public support required to finance it, there needed to be a new or different image for A.I.D.
I think we all recognized that it would be a difficult assignment.
It has been.
I thought then that it was important, and would be worth the effort that would be required.
I still think so.
It was agreed early that in answer to the Congressional mandate calling upon the President for a comprehensive study of foreign assistance in all its parts, with recommendations at an early date to the President and the Congress, that we would go the route of what eventually was the Peterson Task Force—its study and its recommendations.3
As this operation proceeded it soon became clear to me that, pending the final result, my principal responsibility was a “holding operation” to carry out the various Missions of A.I.D. in Vietnam, in Disaster Relief, in encouraging development in the third world and to keep together as much of the able and competent staff in A.I.D. with as much morale as possible for whatever kind of program would come from this total effort—Peterson Task Force—White House Study—Congressional actions, etc.[Page 225]
If there was time it might be useful to go into detail about what U.S. A.I.D. was like in the Spring of 1969, and how it got that way. But that is another story.
After the Peterson Report there was a very long delay in developing the legislative package and Congressional Message of April 21, 1971.
Having committed myself to you in February 1969, I intended to make an all out effort to help convince the Congress it should approve our recommendations and then depart.
We will jump over the delays and awkwardness in much of this operation and come to last October 30, when after a week of acrimonious debate—having very little to do with Development Assistance—the Senate by a decisive vote killed, at least temporarily, U.S. A.I.D. 4 Until that event, A.I.D. and our people were always on the periphery while others talked, planned, and made the decisions as to what the A.I.D. future was to be. At that point, in general, the rest of the Executive end of Government backed out of the whole matter—and in essence by their actions said, “Here, you take it and see what you can salvage.”
After 31 months as Administrator of A.I.D. for the first time the untrammeled opportunity to plan whatever future A.I.D. was to be was in our hands.
With good help from you, Secretary Rogers, OMB and others—in spite of the Fulbright/Proxmire axis and their colleagues—we salvaged a 1972 appropriation.
Since that Congressional action we have moved vigorously to redirect an A.I.D. program adequate to world conditions as they are now and are likely to be in the future.
We are at mid-passage in the first major reform of A.I.D.’s philosophy and practice since the Agency’s inception as A.I.D. in 1961.
Our efforts add up to: (1) a program which responds more effectively to the basic human needs of the developing countries—hunger, overpopulation, illiteracy, unemployment, and ill health; (2) a program which is lower profile and less interventionist; (3) a program which is better integrated with multilateral institutions and other donors; (4) a program which will produce results with fewer staff and less bureaucracy; (5) a program which will truly engage the best scientific and technical institutions, universities and corporations in our country.
We are building a program which will better contribute to the U.S. long-term international interests: (a) the building of self-reliant societies in the developing world; (b) an expanding world economy; (c) trade [Page 226]and access to resources from which all benefit; (d) improved prospects for world peace.
This program is directed to basic human needs, is less interventionist, involves important domestic constituencies, and better meets U.S. interests. We believe it will attract increased support from Congress and the American people.
Our reform program has four goals: (a) Concentrate A.I.D.’s resources—and the best U.S. scientific and technical talent—on a limited group of basic human development problems; (b) improve administration and lower the U.S. profile abroad; (c) develop more collaborative operations with developing countries and other donors; and (d) give greater emphasis to humanitarian assistance.
I will submit to you within a few days a report on where we are as we move into Fiscal Year 1973.5 We will have this redirection pretty well completed by the end of this calendar year.
We have reduced our overseas staff by a total of 5,281 persons or 37%—from 14,101 to 8,820.
We have problems in reducing our Washington staff, most of whom have long tenure with Civil Service or the Foreign Service. Our total reduction here is from 3,468 to 2,899—a reduction of 569 or 16%. An amendment now approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Authorization Bill to be reported in a few days will help if we can get Senate approval.6 We would like to reduce our Washington staff over a reasonable period of time by another 800 to 1,000 employees.
For these past three-and-a-half years we have made every effort to keep out of the public eye, to avoid visibility, and public controversy.
The replacement of Senator McGee by Senator Proxmire as Chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee has required me to spend an inordinate amount of time with Otto Passman and a few others—but it has been worth the effort.
I think in the end we will survive in viable form for Fiscal 1973—provided we can get action before the August 18 recess, which is still possible.
Now—why am I here.
The answer is, “What do you want me to do.”
After November 7 you will have a clear new mandate to concentrate the energies and leadership of your administration on a few already identified goals.
The accomplishment of these goals will be of critical importance to our country and the world and a distinguished and enduring tribute to your stewardship.
- Foremost among these is the development of international relationships and circumstances which can provide a generation of peace, and a world environment in which the United States (its people, its institutions, and its values) can endure and prosper. Your trips to China and Moscow, your leadership in the Middle East and negotiations with N. Vietnam have already opened dramatic new avenues to this goal.
Further progress requires an increasing measure of realistic hope for the two thirds of the world’s people who are impoverished almost below U.S. standards of calculation. Their condition is often desperate and their frustrations are great.
Those poor must see in the peaceful structure of the world we seek for our country and our children some clear benefits for their own. If not, any domestic gains we garner to ourselves will avail us little and not for long.
- That extra measure of hope requires, in turn, increased sharing by the world’s wealthy with
the world’s poor—not as sterile charity, but as a productive
investment of funds and confidence in their abilities,
their energies, and their determination for advancement.
- —a partnership for peace
—hope for a better future
(when some look at the long road we have walked with the LDC’s, they say, “It is enough. Let us put this burden down.” But it is not a burden we carry, it is our passport to a better future.)
- While it is proper that other advantaged nations share
increasingly in this imperative for
survival, the U.S. must maintain a
role of leadership—
- —U.S. constancy and sense of equity are necessary as an incentive and a standard for others;
- —U.S. share of the action will always bulk large;
- —U.S. moral precepts will impel us to leadership;
- —in any realistic examination of alternatives, the benefiting countries will prefer it that way.
An important instrument of U.S. leadership is bilateral assistance. While the U.S. should continue energetic support to the growth and capacity of multilateral organizations, the two channels of assistance have never stood in an either/or relationship. Both are useful and will continue to be needed for our national purposes.[Page 228]
Because of its uniquely American attributes and visibility, its flexibility for more selective determination of development priorities, and its role at the cutting edge of U.S. foreign policy, bilateral assistance merits special concern. Apart from its direct focus on basic human problems and needs, it also serves other purposes of valid U.S. interest, including
- —creation or expansion of markets for U.S. exports;
—enhancement of U.S. access to non-US resources.
Not least, AID has assembled and trained over long years the most competent and experienced cadre of development experts in the world. They represent, together, a critical national resource that can be fully utilized in no other way.
- So that bilateral assistance will accord more clearly with the
President’s guidelines, we have taken the steps previously
- —to concentrate our resources on a limited range of common human problems where the U.S. can support programs of the developing countries with special U.S. competence;
- —to give highest priority to population and humanitarian programs designed to help peoples in the disadvantaged countries help themselves in reducing poverty, hunger and illiteracy;
- —to respond more effectively to human disasters wherever they occur;
- —to expand the participation of private American organizations, universities, voluntary agencies, and businesses in our programs;
- —to engage more effectively the best U.S. scientific technical talent in the solution of chronic development programs;
- —to continue staff reductions, lowering of U.S. profile abroad, and general improvement in the administrative efficiency of the Agency;
- —to increase public understanding and support of our aid programs through more responsive public information efforts.
- Certain additional changes, requiring Presidential and, in
some cases, Congressional authority would, in our opinion,
further enhance the effectiveness of bilateral aid programs in pursuing your peace objectives.
- —provide a more realistic time frame for meaningful development performance through multi-year authorization and appropriate legislation. A time frame of 4 years would coincide with the term of your Administration. This would remove the “payday-to-payday” climate which has historically hampered AID purposes and would assure a long-needed stability and continuity on which developing countries could base long range plans for action;
- —minimize or eliminate those legislative restrictions (so-called “barnacles”) which accomplish little of their own purposes, while seriously hobbling ours.
It is important to avoid any new proposals for more external studies of foreign assistance—but rather that we concentrate in transforming what we have to something much better than it has been.[Page 229]
And that we build on the best of what we have and make U.S. A.I.D. a program the third world can regard as a Partnership for Peace program.
If you think well of the idea, we will continue to think along these lines using our own resources and in consultation with State, OMB, NSC, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce and others.
I would like someday to be able to turn over to my successor a better A.I.D. program than we inherited so that the good foundation that is here can become something adequate to the better world you are wisely helping to lead.
Secretary Rogers knows of this conference and of the points I am raising with you.
My purpose here today is to seek your advice and counsel.
“What do you want me to do.”
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 195, AID 1972-1973. No classification marking. Attached to a July 25 memorandum from Hannah to Flanigan and Haig sent to them after Hannah’s July 25 meeting with the President (see Document 94). Hannah noted that he prepared this informal paper for that meeting and that since both Flanigan and Haig had taken notes during the meeting, it might help them understand what he was trying to say.↩
- Presumably a reference to a meeting on February 6, 1969. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) Hannah’s nomination as AID Administrator was announced that day.↩
- Reference is to the Javits Amendment, which required a report to Congress by March 31, 1970. Regarding the Peterson Report, see Documents 119 ff.↩
- See Document 69.↩
- Not further identified.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 94.↩
- Richard M. Nixon, “The Real Road to Peace.” U.S. News and World Report, June 26, 1972, pp. 32-41.↩