Tuesday, January 24, 2017


JFK+50:  Volume 7, No. 2199


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-six years ago today, January 24, 1961, John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order #10915 amending previous executive orders to expand the authority of the Director of the Food-For-Peace program*.

The President was making good on his pledge during the 1960 campaign to "feed the hungry" of nations around the globe as well as expansion of the Food- For-Peace program.  Presidential assistant/historian Arthur S. Schlesinger, Jr. called the program "the greatest unseen weapon of Kennedy's third world policy." 

Although under President Dwight D. Eisenhower's watch, the United States had exported over $1 billion in food annually to 60 countries, a task force had recommended "a dramatic increase" in food exports.

President Kennedy's Executive Order reads...

"Whereas it is of fundamental importance that we have a national food policy directed toward using our agricultural abundance as a national asset to meet foreign policy objectives it is ordered that...

SECTION 1. Executive Order No. 10900 of January 5, 1961 (26 F.R. 143), headed "Administration of the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act Of 1954, as amended," is hereby amended by renumbering sections 6 and 7 thereof as sections 7 and 8, respectively, and by inserting after section 5 the following new section 6:

SEC. 6. Director of the Food-for-Peace Program.  Subject to the direction of the President, the Direction...shall be responsible for the continuous supervision & coordination of the functions officers or agencies of the Government.

SEC. 2. Executive Order No. 10893 of Nov 8 hereby amended by adding at the end of Part I...a new section 111, reading as follows..

SEC. 111. Director of the F-f-P Program.  Subject to the direction of the President...shall be responsible for the continuous supervision & coordination of the functions under Section 402 of the Act.  

John F. Kennedy
The White House
January 24, 1961

*The first director was George S. McGovern who set up his office in the EOB.  GSM resigned in July 1962 to run for the Senate.  Senator McGovern was the Democratic nominee for President in 1972 & lost in a landslide to President Nixon.


John F. Kennedy, "Executive Order 10915--Amending Prior Executive Orders to Provide for the Responsibilities of the Direction of the Food-for-Peace Program," January 24, 1961.  Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project,

Office of Food For Peace, USAID,

JFK & George McGovern
White House Photo (1961)
National Archives Image