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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the Recommendations of the Committee To Study the U.S. Military Assistance Program.

April 29, 1959

Dear ___________

In my Mutual Security Message last month, I stated that the bipartisan Committee to Study the United States Military Assistance Program would soon render an interim report, and that after study of this report I would submit to Congress such recommendations thereon as I should deem appropriate.

The Committee, composed of eminent Americans, has made an excellent study of the grave perils inherent in Communist military, economic and political activities throughout the world. It has pointed out that without a continuing and effective Mutual Security Program our single and unthinkable alternative is "to seek survival in isolation--a state of siege--as the world continues to shrink." The Committee has highlighted the necessity for a truly mutual effort, and after first-hand observation by its members has noted the important strengthening of the free world through our assistance--assistance which strengthens us as it strengthens our allies.

Rightly the Committee has emphasized the need for modernization of free world military forces, particularly in the NATO area. It has recommended a substantial increase in the level of commitments in Fiscal Year 1960, pointing out that such an increase would not involve a significant increase in expenditures during that year. I believe, with the Committee, that NATO force modernization must go forward as rapidly as sound decisions permit.

The unanimous findings of the Committee in its interim report confirm the imperative need for Congress to authorize and appropriate the full amount requested for both economic and military assistance in the Mutual Security Program for Fiscal Year 1960. With this full amount available, I shall, in support of the Committee's recommendations, direct full use of the flexibility which Congress has wisely provided in the Mutual Security Act, including the Contingency Fund. Progress to implement the Committee's recommendations can be made in this way. Nonetheless, even including these measures, as well as our continuing efforts to improve the operational efficiency and economy of the program, it may well be that the carrying out of essential equipment and training programs, including the force modernization recommended by the Committee, will require additional authority to obligate funds in Fiscal Year 1960. Undoubtedly more funds will be required should the Congress fail to appropriate the full amount already requested.

Late this fall, I shall review the then-current status of our efforts to implement the Committee's recommendations. This review will encompass then-existing world conditions as shaped by developments over the next few months, the rate of force modernization, particularly in the NATO area, and, of course, the progress of 1960 procurements for NATO and other areas. In the light of this review, I will make appropriate recommendations to the Congress. This review will enable me to take full account of the Committee's recommendations also in the formulation of the military assistance budget for Fiscal Year 1961.

I again emphasize that the program already before the Congress is the minimum required to support our own nation's security and the common defense of the free world.

I enclose the Committee's Interim Report for the earnest consideration of the Congress.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Richard M. Nixon, President of the Senate, and the Honorable Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The interim report referred to by the President was entitled "Preliminary Conclusions of the President's Committee to Study the United States Military Assistance Program." Submitted to the President on March 17, this report is published in the Congressional Record of March 18, 1959 (vol. 105, p. 3963). For subsequent reports by the President's Committee see Items 136, 137, 170, 183.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the Recommendations of the Committee To Study the U.S. Military Assistance Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235578

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