JFK SENT CONGRESS A MESSAGE ON U.S. AID TO FREE WORLD NATIONS 50 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty years ago today, April 2, 1963, President John F. Kennedy sent a message to the Congress of the United States on the topic of American aid to the nations of the Free World.
The President began by saying...
"No peacetime victory...has been as far reaching in its impact, nor served the cause of freedom so well, as the victories scored in the last 17 years by this Nation's mutual defense & assistance programs."
JFK went on to remind the Congress that the United States was spending 10% of its GNP on national security while spending less than 0.7% on the mutual assistance program.
After reviewing the contributions of U.S. aid to Greece & Turkey, the Marshall Plan for post war European recovery, & American aid to Southeast Asia & Free China, the President said...
"Today our technical assistance & development loans are giving hope where hope was lacking."
JFK said that U.S. assistance programs were supported by 3 successive presidents, both Democratic & Republican.
He warned that in the future...
"Our program of mutual defense & assistance must be kept under review (in an ever changing world and we must) reduce & ultimately eliminate U.S. assistance by enabling nations to stand (alone)."
The President concluded his statement by saying...
"This, for the American people, is a time for vision, for patience, for work & for wisdom. For better or worse, we are the pacesetters. Freedom's leader cannot flag or falter."
The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was signed by President Kennedy on November 3, 1961. It reorganized the structure of U.S. foreign assistance programs & created the US Agency for International Development.
The Foreign Assistance Act of 1963 was signed by President Johnson on December 16, 1963. Despite LBJ's signature, he expressed displeasure with "the growing tendency to hamstring Executive flexibility with rigid legislative provisions." He also warned that the act reflected "a dangerous reduction in funds" which he felt compromised U.S. security.