IN LATE November of 1965, as part of this country's International Cooperation Year (ICY) program, I convened the White House Conference on International Cooperation. The Conference brought together more than 5,000 American leaders who exchanged views with people in the Government and produced over 400 recommendations in 30 reports dealing with specific subject areas for international cooperation. On August 1, 1966, I appointed a White House committee to oversee a review of the ICY recommendations. This committee, which has continually advised me on actions taken on these recommendations, has now completed its work.
It is with great pleasure that I can report that action has been taken or is now in progress in fields covered by about three-fourths of the more than 400 recommendations. Others are being subjected to further study. Fewer than 10 percent are considered to be impractical at this time.
This is a splendid example of cooperation between private citizens and their government. It confirms what I said when I called the Conference: that international cooperation is no longer an academic subject; it is a fact of life.
The ICY recommendations in the time ahead will continue to guide us. A number of the issues they dealt with are high on our agenda of business at this moment:
War on Hunger.--The ICY reports brought out the critical interrelationship between the supply of food and the rapid increase of the world's population.
In recognition these problems, we made major adjustments last year in our Food for Peace Act and other laws. In my message to the Congress this year, I reaffirmed our intention to make the present food emergency in India the occasion for all nations to launch a new, continuing international campaign against hunger. The Congress approved the resolution to commit the United States to share fully in this effort to meet India's remaining food grain deficit.
World Weather Watch.--The ICY reports recommend active U.S. participation in the development of a World Weather Watch-an international system to observe the world's atmosphere and to communicate and analyze worldwide weather data rapidly and efficiently.
For centuries man's inability to predict weather far enough ahead has caused incalculable human suffering and property damage from storms, floods, and other natural disasters. The Congress of the World Meteorological Organization is meeting this week to consider plans for the World Weather Watch. The proposed system will, through international cooperation, lead to improved weather forecasting and protection of life and property and deserves the wholehearted support of the American people. I am instructing our representatives to the meeting to pledge the full and continuing participation of the United States in this important endeavor.
Outer Space Treaty.--The ICY reports urged an international agreement to assure the exploration and use of outer space solely for peaceful purposes.
On January 27 of this year the United States signed such a treaty with the Soviet Union and more than 60 other nations. Hearings are now underway in the Senate on the question of U.S. adherence.
Moratorium on Antiballistic Missiles. The ICY reports recommended a U.S. U.S.S.R. moratorium on new deployment of systems for ballistic-missile defense.
We are taking no actions to deploy ABM's, pending the outcome of discussions with the Soviet Union. Responding to our initiative, Chairman Kosygin has confirmed the willingness of his government to discuss the question of both offensive and defensive systems.
U.S.-U.S.S.R. Consular Convention.-The ICY reports called for ratification of this convention to provide greater legal protection to our citizens visiting the Soviet Union.
In response to my request, the Senate has now given its advice and consent and I have ratified and confirmed this treaty as a constructive step in our policy of "bridge-building" with Eastern Europe.
East-West Trade Relations.--The ICY reports pointed to the necessity for new ground rules to liberalize U.S. trade with Eastern European countries.
I have recommended to the Congress early passage of the East-West trade relations bill as an essential move in this direction.
New Directions for Foreign Assistance.--The ICY reports recommended continued commitment of substantial U.S. resources to foreign assistance, with emphasis on changed foreign assistance policies, strengthening of technical assistance and greater utilization of private resources in assistance programs.
In my message of February 9, I asked the Congress to enact a new foreign assistance bill based on six guiding principles: (1) self-help, (2) sharing costs with other nations, (3) encouragement to regional development, (4) emphasis on agriculture, health, and education, (5) protecting our balance of payments, and (6) improved administration. Early enactment of that bill is essential to an effective foreign assistance program.
A Nonproliferation Treaty.--The ICY reports called for the early conclusion of a treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
We are continuing to press our negotiations with other nations for a nonproliferation agreement, recognizing this problem as one of the most urgent of our times.
These are only a few of the outstanding recommendations in the ICY reports on which the Government is seeking completed action.
The White House committee which over the past 8 months has been evaluating these recommendations was chaired by Director of the Bureau of the Budget, Charles L. Schultze. Other members were my Special Assistants, Walt W. Rostow and Joseph A. Califano, Jr. The Executive Director of the White House Conference and also Chairman of the ICY Committee on Urban Development, Mr. Raymond D. Nasher of Dallas, Texas, also served as a member.
In order to make sure that action does not end here, I am sending a memorandum to the heads of those departments and agencies that took part in the ICY program, directing them to take specific further actions as required and to continue the dialogue with interested citizens. I have also asked Mr. Schultze to work with the agency heads in order to assure action on and attention to the recommendations.
It has long been my conviction that those of us in Government can greatly profit by a continuing and frank exchange with people in business, education, other professions, and in civic life. For this reason, at my direction, there have been appointed, in the State Department alone during the past year, seven citizens' committees including over 125 individuals to serve in an advisory capacity. The ICY program has convinced me there can be no substitute for this dialogue in a vital democracy. The White House committee's review indicates that this sort of contact can be an extremely useful part of the regular business of government. It is one of the best ways to keep the people and their government close to each other.
I again express my gratitude to all those who participated in the ICY program. The future of mankind demands ever-increasing international cooperation. It must become a way of living--a way that will lead to better living for all peoples.