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Letter to the Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee, on the Mutual Security Program.

July 23, 1953

[Released July 23, 1953. Dated July 22, 1953]

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I wish to bring to your urgent attention my deep concern with the Mutual Security Appropriations now before you for consideration.

This program and these appropriations directly involve the security of our own Nation. The program is specifically directed toward strengthening the collective security of the free nations-in which the safety of our Nation is inescapably involved. The sums requested were carefully worked out in connection with, and as an inseparable part of, our entire security program comprising the United States military forces and the Atomic Energy Commission. By strict rescreening, they were reduced one-third from those requested in the budget of the outgoing Administration.

Our country must exercise constructive and courageous leadership, for its own sake as well as for the sake of the other free nations. Invariably, if leadership falters in the face of grave danger in a complex situation, the result is disastrous. The amounts now in the Mutual Security Program have already been reduced and vigorously rescreened; deep cuts will certainly be received, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, as evidence of faltering.

As you know, I have never taken the attitude that an exact dollar in this program marks the difference between success or failure. But it is my conviction that grave consequences would follow from a major cut below the requested amounts carefully scrutinized and unanimously approved by my key advisers, including the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Defense, as well as the Director for Mutual Security.

The funds requested for military assistance are indeed large. They are large because that is the size of the threat before us. They are large because the implements of military strength are not cheap.

It must be remembered, however, that our funds are exceeded by much larger funds expended by our NATO and other allies themselves. Our tanks, planes, ships, and ammunition are essential if we are to take advantage of the readiness of other nations throughout the world to join together with us in a firm posture of strength. Across the world--from the impressive buildup of military strength in NATO, to the bitter fighting against Communist forces in Indo-China--we have allies who rely on us to provide certain missing ingredients in their military strength. We must not slow down the momentum of strength and growing unity.

I realize that these military assistance appropriations involve a substantial question of judgment as to the necessary amount of "lead time" that must be allowed to permit delivery of equipment on schedule in the future, and that this lead time allowance has an important effect in the amount to be appropriated in any one year. I know from first-hand observation that the lead time required in almost every case--the building up of a division in Turkey, or a jet squadron in Norway, or an armored unit in France--has been a very long one. The emphasis in our program on major items of equipment, such as aircraft and ships, and the volume of our very important offshore procurement require a relatively large amount of lead-time financing. This necessary equipment-pipeline accounts for the large amounts of carry-over funds in this program, as reflected in my request.

I have requested these funds only to meet demonstrated military requirements, including only essentials for forces that our allies are now in process of raising, training, and maintaining to receive this military equipment. The responsible members of this Administration have proven their alertness in identifying possible savings; we have reported these savings to the Congress, and we have made full allowance for them in our request. This Administration will continue to exercise that same care in the management of funds, and will take every advantage of opportunity to economize in the use of funds with which they are entrusted.

I wish also to emphasize the importance of economic and technical assistance for the Near East, for India and Pakistan, for Latin America, and for the Far East, where it is vital that the people see evidence of improved conditions of living flowing from freedom and independent sovereignty as contrasted to totalitarian methods. And I place great value on the work of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, with its cooperative approach by many nations in the interest of children of many areas of the world, and on the related United Nations Technical Assistance Program, which brings to the people of the underdeveloped areas concrete evidence that the United Nations is actively assisting their quest for economic progress. These programs, many of which require only modest amounts of money, are an integral part of our program for America's security.

This is a program for building strength. Evidence is beginning to appear in many parts of the world of the success that comes from a firm foreign policy backed by growing strength and unity on the part of the free nations. This, of all times, is not a moment to hesitate. It is, above all, a time to make more strong and effective our relationships with all other free peoples, a moment to help speed the momentum of their growing strength.



Note: The letter was addressed to the Honorable Styles Bridges, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The appropriation act was approved August 7, 1953 (67 Stat. 478).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to the Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee, on the Mutual Security Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231798

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