To the Congress of the United States:
It is my conviction that continued U.S. assistance to the developing countries is essential both for humanitarian reasons and for those of our own national self interest.
The challenges we face are both moral and practical in nature. We seek a stable and peaceful world in which all nations can cooperate effectively to improve the quality of human life.
The Annual Report on the Foreign Assistance Program for Fiscal Year 1969, which I transmit herewith, indicates the ways in which we have attempted to promote our interests in the developing world in the recent past. It also provides a preview of the new directions this Administration has charted for the future.
We have determined that a new emphasis should be placed on enlisting the energies and expertise of American private enterprise. As a first step toward doing so, I proposed the creation of an Overseas Private Investment Corporation to provide businesslike management of our incentives to private investment in the developing countries. I am pleased that the Congress has accepted this proposal.
We have also decided to give a strong new emphasis to technical assistance. The transfer of skills to the people of the developing world is vitally important to their future. Technical assistance plants the seeds that enable developing countries to grow by themselves. To give practical expression to these concepts, we have established a new Technical Assistance Bureau within the Agency for International Development. The Bureau has been charged with the task of raising the quality of our advisory, training and research services.
These are only first steps, however. To assist me in determining the course of our international development programs in the 1970's, I named a task force of distinguished private citizens, headed by Rudolph Peterson, to review all U.S. foreign assistance programs. This task force is now at work, and its recommendations will provide a basis for my proposals for a new U.S. program for the years ahead.
To assure continuous management inspection of our program, the post of Auditor-General has been created in AID. The job of the Auditor-General is to make sure that AID's funds are used efficiently and for the intended purposes.
To make the AID dollar go further and to assist free market systems in the developing countries, I also eliminated some of the commodity-purchase requirements which were forcing some nations to employ regressive exchange, import or credit arrangements.
During fiscal year 1969, 87 percent of our economic aid was concentrated in the 15 countries which we believed could make best use of it: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Panama, Indonesia, Laos, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.
A record commitment of $45 million was made in the priority field of family planning, so essential for speeding the rate of economic and social progress in many of the developing nations.
Achievements in which our assistance played a pivotal role during fiscal year 1969 included:
--growth of the Korean economy at a rate of 13 percent;
--self-sufficiency in rice production for the Philippines;
--control of inflation in Indonesia;
--use of Food-for-Peace supplies in self-help food-for-work projects which employed 16 million people;
--assistance in providing nutritious diets for 50 million children in 105 countries.
These are substantial achievements. They can be surpassed in the future through our continued commitment to the proposition that development of the best in all nations provides the surest hope for security and dignity for all men.
The White House
March 4, 1970