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Letters Relating to the International Development Advisory Board's Report on Foreign Economic Policy.

March 11, 1951

[Released March 11, 1951. Dated March 9, 1951]

To the Chairman of the International Development Advisory Board:

Dear Mr. Rockefeller:

I am impressed by the report of the Advisory Board on International Development. It demonstrates, clearly and forcefully, the reasons why a lasting peace can be attained only by a wise combination of strong military defenses and an effective campaign of international economic development.

A broad program of economic development is necessary, as I pointed out in my Inaugural Address, to carry out this country's international objectives of peace and freedom. Since that Address, international problems have become critical and we are now engaged in a tremendous mobilization program. More than ever, greater production, particularly in the underdeveloped areas, is essential to the stability and freedom of those areas and to the peace of the whole world. Recent events in economically underdeveloped areas have demonstrated that men will defend the cause of freedom when they know from experience that it is the true way to economic and social progress. Economic stagnation is the advance guard of Soviet conquest.

The Point IV concept, properly carried out, is essential to the successful defense of the free world. In the words of your report, "strengthening the economies of the underdeveloped regions and an improvement in their living levels must be considered a vital part of our own defense mobilization."

Moreover, economic development is the spearhead of the forces of freedom. The building of military strength is not enough to win the peace we seek. We must press the attack in the battle of raising the living standards and fulfilling the hopes of mankind for a better future.

The task, as you have pointed out, is one that the United States cannot undertake alone. We depend, in many respects, on the other free nations, and they on us. International partnership is necessary to build an expanding world economy in which all can have a fair share.

It is a great satisfaction to me that a nonpartisan group, such as your Board, representing labor, education, business, agriculture and other aspects of our national life, should reach unanimous agreement on matters of such concern to the future of our country. I am sure that your report will do a great deal to put the problem of international economic development in its proper perspective.

In the near future, I shall send recommendations to the Congress concerning the legislation required for foreign defense and economic assistance for 1952. I know that your report will be of great help in enabling the Congress and the Executive Branch to develop the kind of program which is needed to carry out our national objectives.

I am sending your report immediately to the Chairmen and the ranking minority members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee and I hope that you will be able to give them further information on this important subject, if they so desire. I am also directing the Government agencies concerned to give your report their immediate consideration.

Please accept my deepest personal appreciation for the task which your Board has accomplished and the leadership which you have contributed to it. You, your Board, and your staff can take great pride in the contribution which you have made toward a solution of some of the critical problems which this Nation faces.

Sincerely yours,


[Mr. Nelson Rockefeller, Room 5600, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y.]

To Senators Tom Connally, chairman, Arthur H. Vandenberg, and Alexander Wiley of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and Representatives John Kee, chairman, James P. Richards, and Charles A. Eaton of the House Foreign Affairs Committee:

My dear :

You will recall that on November twenty-fourth I appointed the members of the International Development Advisory Board established by the Congress under Section 409 of the Act for International Development. I nominated Mr. Nelson Rockefeller as the Chairman of the Board.

At that time I requested the Board to undertake as its first task a consideration of the proposals of the Gordon Gray Report concerning our policy toward the underdeveloped areas. The International Development Advisory Board has now completed that task and has submitted a report to me, a copy of which I am enclosing herewith.

I am sure you will find, as I have, that this is a most thoughtful and stimulating report. In this report, the group of distinguished citizens who make up the Board has done us all a great service by analyzing the ways and means of making the economic part of our foreign policy more effective in building the strength of the free world. I know this report will be most helpful in completing the legislative recommendations on foreign aid I shall shortly submit to the Congress. I am sure that you and the members of your Committee will find it valuable in your consideration of the economic aspects of our foreign policy. I have asked Mr. Rockefeller to supply you with any further information and background about the work of his Board that you may desire.

Sincerely yours,


Note: The letters were part of a White House release made public at Key West, Fla. The release stated that the report was also transmitted to the Vice President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, members of the Cabinet, the Budget Director, the Economic Cooperation Administrator, the Defense Mobilization Director, and the Defense Production Administrator. It included the text of a brief transmittal letter to Cabinet members and agency officials.

The report, entitled "Partners in Progress" (Government Printing Office: 1951, 120 pp.), was prepared in response to the President's letter of November 24, 1950 (see 1950 volume, this series, Item 289).

The White House also made public a brief summary of the report.

Harry S Truman, Letters Relating to the International Development Advisory Board's Report on Foreign Economic Policy. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230282

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