Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing Bill Authorizing U.S. Contribution to the Inter-American Development Bank

September 22, 1967

Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Secretary, distinguished Foreign Ministers, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of the American Congress, my friends, ladies and gentlemen:

The presence of the foreign ministers here in Washington has coincided with the passage by the Congress of a bill which forms a very major element of the United States participation in the Alliance for Progress of which we are all so very proud.

The bill that I shall shortly sign authorizes a United States contribution of some $900 million to the Inter-American Development Bank over the next 3 years.

Some of you will remember at Punta del Este last April, I told my fellow Presidents of the recommendations that I had already, at that time, made to our Congress for increased financial assistance to the Alliance. I said then that these recommendations "represent my convictions and my policy . . . and the decisions which you make here-and the follow-up action which you take in the months ahead--will enable me to pursue that policy."

When the Board of Governors of the Bank met to review the decisions of the Presidents, they decided not only to expand the resources of the Bank, but also to change the ratio of the contributions of the Bank. They lowered the proportionate share of the United States from 5:1 to 3:1. This act of self-help and mutual assistance, I think, played a very key role in Congress decision to increase the United States quota by $150 million.

So it gives me great pleasure to ask you to come here today to join with me in this brief ceremony to share my satisfaction in signing this bill into law.

The Inter-American Development Bank has become a major instrument of the Alliance for Progress--and a model for other regions of the world. In the brief span of 7 years the Bank has built a very solid record of accomplishment:

--Through June of this year it had authorized 414 loans that totaled $2.1 billion, of which 224 loans, amounting to $1.2 billion, have been approved just during the past 31/2 years that I have been President.

--Almost half of the total amount authorized, some $915 million, is already at work in projects in every single country of Latin America.

--With initiative and drive it has mobilized $205 million in Europe, Canada, and Japan that we are using in Latin America.

A review of the Bank's portfolio shows that it is as much a neighborhood bank serving the interests of the people, as it is an international bank supporting great national and multinational enterprises. For its money:

--finances the village water supplies as well as the big hydroelectric projects;

--builds rural schools as well as modern factories;

--constructs feeder roads as well as international highways;

--provides credits for small crafts as well as large industries;

--trains laborers and technicians as well as assists institutions of higher learning;

--underwrites moderate-priced housing as well as major public works.

The Bank is the vanguard of planning for the future of the hemisphere. And the bill that I am about to sign, we think, advances this program and supports the expanded direction of it.

We think it is a vote of confidence by the American Congress in the Bank and particularly in those who manage the Bank's affairs.

It is an earnest of the commitment of the United States Congress and people to the Alliance for Progress and to the summit decisions.

We are very proud, as I have said, of the progress that has been made and the resources that have been assembled, and particularly, the fact that other nations of the world are looking with inquiry and checking the statements and trying to see how they can emulate what we have done here.

I am so glad that we can move it a little step forward today and that you can share with me the pride that we all have in this joint venture.

Note: The President spoke at 1:38 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Chief Justice Earl Warren and Secretary of the Treasury Henry H. Fowler.

As enacted, the authorization bill (H.R. 9547) is Public Law 90-88 (81 Stat. 226).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing Bill Authorizing U.S. Contribution to the Inter-American Development Bank Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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