Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Letter to Charles H. Percy of Chicago Concerning the President's Foreign Economic Policy Proposals.

May 20, 1954

[Released May 20, 1954. Dated May 19, 1954]

Dear Mr. Percy:

It is gratifying to have your letter of May fourteenth expressing strong support for the foreign economic policy proposals contained in my Message to the Congress of March thirtieth. In that Message I set forth what I believe to be a minimum essential program for the building of a stronger America as an integral part of a strong and economically vigorous free world. Because I consider the enactment of that program indispensable to the work that this Administration must do in the national interest, I have given much thought to the means by which such enactment can best be assured.

As you know, several recommendations in my Message on foreign economic policy can be carried out without further legislative authority. Among these are clarification of the application of the Buy American legislation, assistance through the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve System to nations which undertake convertibility of their currencies, renegotiation of the organizational provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade for submission to the Congress, encouragement to overseas investment through giving full diplomatic support to United States investors abroad and through actions to encourage more extensive travel.

Accomplishing enactment of the heart of the program--extension of and amendment of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951, as amended--would, I believe, best be served by careful and deliberate action taken on the basis of extensive and unhurried hearings. In this way the wide public support for the program that I know exists and to which you attest, will have adequate time and opportunity to express itself. Moreover, those who are opposed would have full opportunity to be heard. It is my hope and expectation that the Committee on Ways and Means, following the pattern of its historic work last year on the tax bill, will initiate consideration of the trade agreements aspect of the program in ample time so that full and adequate hearings may be completed between now and the convening of the Congress next January. Under this procedure the prospect for consideration by the Congress early next year is excellent.

Since the present Act expires on June 12, 1954, a simple one-year extension will, of course, be required for the interim period.

In addition to initiating hearings on the vital subject of extension and amendment of the Trade Agreements Extension Act, there is much else that should be accomplished in this session of the Congress to carry into effect the recommendations of my Message of March thirtieth. The tax incentives for foreign investment provided for in H.R. 8300 will, I am confident, become law shortly. I look forward to enactment in this session of the increase in the tourist allowance from $500 to $1,000 as provided in H.R. 8352, now pending before the House Ways and Means Committee. It is my hope that the Congress will shortly complete action on H.R. 6584, dealing with customs valuation, a bill which has already passed the House and is now pending in the Senate Committee on Finance. Simplification of commodity definitions and rate structures in the Tariff Act based upon a study by the Tariff Commission, and a better method of classifying articles not enumerated in the tariff schedules should be authorized. Improvement in the statutes governing the administration of customs procedures and changes in the anti-dumping law and procedures to speed up its administration should also, I believe, be provided at this session.

Accomplishment of these things now would represent substantial progress in which we all could take satisfaction. With these first steps behind us, the Congress will be in a position early next year to undertake immediate consideration of the vital part of the program--the further amendment and extension of the Trade Agreements Extension Act. This overall program will provide the forward motion in our country essential to progress the world over in raising levels of profitable trade and investment. It is my deep conviction that in this direction lies the greater security for America that comes from a stronger free world.



Note: Mr. Percy's letter of May 14 was released with the President's reply. The letter referred to a meeting in the President's office on April 29 at which Mr. Percy served as spokesman for a group of businessmen, and to their subsequent finding of much interest, throughout the country, in the President's foreign economic policy proposals.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Charles H. Percy of Chicago Concerning the President's Foreign Economic Policy Proposals. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232036

Filed Under


Simple Search of Our Archives