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Letter to Members of Interagency Committee on Agricultural Surplus Disposal.

September 09, 1954

My dear :

I have today issued an Executive order providing for the administration of the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954. It is the purpose of this letter to further define relationships among the several agencies of the executive branch which will have key responsibilities in assuring successful administration of this program.

The act provides for the use of surplus commodities to further many of our existing domestic and foreign programs, and in some instances, it expands or liberalizes them. These programs are currently carried on by many agencies of the Government. Accordingly, it is desirable to place the administration of the new act in those agencies and to make it possible for them to make their proper contribution in connection with the disposition of agricultural surpluses.

The very fact that a number of agencies have a responsibility in one or another aspect of surplus disposition makes effective coordination absolutely essential. It is therefore directed that a committee, to be known as "The Interagency Committee on Agricultural Surplus Disposal," be established to assist the agencies concerned in bringing into harmonious action, consistent with the over-all policy objectives of this Government, the various agricultural surplus disposal activities vested in them by, or assigned to them pursuant to, the Act. The Committee should be composed of a representative of the White House Office, as Chairman, and one representative of each Government department and agency which is, consonant with law, designated by the Chairman to have representation on the committee. I shall look to the Chairman to advise me concerning policy issues which arise. I shall expect the Secretary of Agriculture to assure the effective coordination of day-to-day operations through appropriate interagency relationships.

The following arrangements are prescribed in order to facilitate the best administration of the Act:

1. Existing pertinent interagency coordination arrangements are to be followed.

2. This program must be carried out in accordance with and in furtherance of our foreign policy objectives. I wish to re-emphasize that the Secretary of State is the officer responsible for advising and assisting me in the formulation and control of foreign policy. I look to him as the channel of authority within the executive branch on foreign policy as I do to the Secretaries of Defense and Treasury in their respective fields.

3. The delegation to the State Department of responsibility for negotiations with foreign governments is intended to give recognition to State Department's central responsibility in this area. Other agencies directly concerned with the substance of the negotiation, however, must continue to carry substantial responsibility in such negotiations. Moreover, it is assumed that these other agencies will conduct day-to-day discussions with representatives of the foreign governments in implementing basic agreements reached with such governments. Such discussions, of course, must be in conformance with the foreign policy responsibilities of the State Department and the chiefs of our diplomatic missions.

4. It is imperative that we continue to coordinate United States programs affecting other nations. For this reason, the accompanying Executive order makes this program subject to my previous instructions with respect to coordination of United States activities in foreign countries. Under those instructions, the chief of the diplomatic mission is the principal officer of the United States in each country and has full responsibility and authority for assuring effective action in that country.

5. In order to coordinate most effectively the various agricultural surplus disposal programs abroad, I shah expect the Secretary of Agriculture to utilize to the maximum extent practicable the facilities, services and experience of the Foreign Operations Administration.

6. I am requesting the Secretary of Commerce to provide the focal point in the Government for assisting private enterprise with respect to barter transactions referred to in the act. This arrangement would be one more step toward assuring the maximum utilization of private channels in the execution of this program.

7. It is contemplated that the Office of Defense Mobilization shall utilize the facilities and services of the General Services Administration for the purchase and handling of materials under section 104(b) of the act.

In January of this year, I stated in my message on Agriculture that surplus agricultural stocks can be used for constructive purposes that will benefit the people of the United States and our friends abroad. Enactment of this legislation is a major step forward in achieving that broad objective. With effective administration, mobilizing the total resources of Government and private channels of trade, we should make substantial strides towards achieving the above goals.

I have forwarded an identical letter to the other officers of the Government principally concerned with carrying out the Executive order.



Note: Identical letters were sent to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Director of the Foreign Operations Administration, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization, the Administrator of General Services, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and to Clarence Francis, Special Consultant to the President, who was designated Chairman of the Committee by the letter in Item 262 above. See also Item 261 and note.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Members of Interagency Committee on Agricultural Surplus Disposal. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232665

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