Breadcrumb

Letter to the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Urging Enactment of the Foreign Assistance Act

March 25, 1950

My dear Mr. Chairman:

I understand that the House of Representatives will soon consider the Foreign Assistance Act of 1950. I believe the Congress of the United States has an opportunity to strike a major blow for peace on behalf of people everywhere by taking rapid and favorable action on this legislation.

Approval of this measure will give renewed hope and vigor to people everywhere who are working to achieve their economic independence and maintain their political freedom. Passage of this Act will strengthen all nations threatened with intimidation, subversion, or direct aggression.

It is in the interest of each American that there be a far greater measure of well-being in other lands. Other countries must be able to produce and procure from us and each other those things which will enable their people to have the food, health, and housing necessary to maintain economic and political stability.

Poverty, misery, and insecurity are the conditions on which communism thrives. Freedom-loving peoples can eliminate these conditions only by joining their knowledge and resources in a great cooperative effort.

The Foreign Assistance Act will authorize continued economic aid to the Marshall Plan countries in Europe and to the Republic of Korea to enable them, through their own efforts, to establish self-supporting economies. It will authorize aid where needed to those free countries in the general area of China whose survival is threatened by the imminent danger of communist infiltration. This Act will provide authority for a major effort to assist the peoples of southeast Asia.

It will provide for participation in the United Nations effort to solve the serious problem of the Palestine refugees. Satisfactory solution of this problem is fundamental to permanent peace in the Near East.

The Act will authorize the carrying forward of the vital program of technical and other assistance to under-developed countries which was the fourth point in my inaugural address. This will provide the peoples in under-developed areas of Asia, the middle East, and other parts of the world the hope and the tools they need to achieve and maintain real freedom for themselves.

The program called for by this Act is the minimum consistent with the interest of the United States and our efforts to achieve a peaceful world. Failure to enact it in its full amount would do irreparable damage. We cannot live isolated in relative wealth and abundance. We cannot ignore the urgent problems of other peoples or threats to their independence.

These measures are not acts of charity. Neither are they a waste of the resources of the United States. They are, indeed, the keystone of our protection against the destruction of another war and against the terrible weapons of this atomic age. Our armed forces can afford us a measure of defense, but real security for our Nation and all the rest of mankind can come only from building the kind of world where men can live together in peace.

The United States turned its back upon the rest of the world after the first world war. Some twenty years later, we found that we had to fight another world war. We cannot afford to follow that course again. We will save nothing if we ignore the needs of other nations now only to find that the result is World War Ill.

Passage of this Act will enable us in company with other nations to move a long step forward in our offensive for freedom and for peace. It will bring appreciably nearer the goal all freedom-loving peoples seek-a peace where all nations live in equality and mutual respect. It will be tangible evidence of our determination to achieve this kind of peace--evidence which will be understood by every nation in the world.
Sincerely yours,
HARRY S. TRUMAN

[Honorable John Kee, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.]

NOTE: For the President's statement upon signing the Foreign Economic Assistance Act of 1950, see Item 154. The letter was released at Key West, Fla.