Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Special Message to the Congress on the Mutual Security Program.

May 05, 1953

To the Congress of the United States:

I recommend to the Congress the passage of legislation extending the Mutual Security Program in order to enable the United States to carry out its responsibilities of leadership in building up the security of the free world and the prospects for peace both for ourselves and our allies.

The basic purpose of this Program is simply the long-term security of the United States living in the shadow of the Soviet threat.

The program being submitted to you includes approximately $5 billion 250 million for military weapons and support directly to the defense efforts of our friends and allies. It also includes approximately $550 million for technical, economic, and developmental purposes designed to promote more effective use of the resources of the free nations and thus to further the freedom and security of all of us. This total represents a reduction of about 1.8 billion from the previous Administration's 1954 budget.

The devotion of so large a portion of this request to military purposes is a measure of the peril in which free nations continue to live. The blunt, sober truth is that we cannot afford to relax our defenses until we have seen clear, unmistakable evidence of genuinely peaceful purpose on the part of the Soviet Union. As I strived to make clear to all peoples in my recent appeal for real peace and trust among nations, we continue earnestly to hope for such evidence, so that the world may turn its energies and resources to serving the needs, rather than the fears, of mankind.

Until Soviet good faith is proven by deeds, the free nations must rely on their own strength for the preservation of peace. To fail to continue vigorously to strengthen our military forces would be to risk wasting all our efforts for the past five years in defense of our liberties.

Since the initiation of our major bi-partisan foreign aid program in 1947, the accomplishments of the free world have been very great. In Greece, the onrush of communist imperialism has been halted and forced to recede. Out of the ruins left by that aggression, a proud, self-reliant nation has re-established itself. Threatened economic and political collapse in Western Europe was averted through the intensive efforts of the great peoples of that continent aided by American resources. Revitalized economies in Europe today are producing more than ever before and are in a far better position to defend themselves from external or internal aggression. In the Near East and Far East, American aid is helping many new nations on their way to a better life for their citizens. And the free nations everywhere--realistically facing the threat of Soviet aggression--have in addition sought to create, with American assistance, the military strength essential to guard their security.

The Mutual Security Program for 1954 has been developed by the new administration after the most careful study and deliberation. All elements of the Program have been reviewed in great detail, all proposals subjected to thorough scrutiny.

From this study I have come to certain clear conclusions.

First: The United States and our partners throughout the world must stand ready, for many years if necessary, to build and maintain adequate defenses.

Second: To accomplish this objective we must avoid so rapid a military buildup that we seriously dislocate our economies. Military strength is most effective--indeed it can be maintained-only if it rests on a solid economic base.

Third: We must help the free nations to help themselves in eradicating conditions which corrode and destroy the will for freedom and democracy from within.

Fourth: It is necessary to do more in the Far East. We are proposing to make substantial additional resources available to assist the French and the Associated States in their military efforts to defeat the Communist Viet Minh aggression.

Fifth: Since it is impossible to forecast precisely the year and moment when the point of maximum military danger may occur, the only prudent course calls for a steady military buildup, with our partners throughout the world, sustained and planned so as to use our joint capabilities with maximum efficiency and minimum strain.

We must and shall keep steadfastly on the course we have set. We must--so long as the present peril lasts--keep constantly growing in a military strength which we can support indefinitely. These basic principles were agreed upon and applied in the successful meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Council just concluded in Paris.

While the amounts requested for technical, economic and developmental purposes are small as compared with the military support, these programs are nonetheless of the most vital importance. They will be applied chiefly in South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa. Through these programs, the United States is proving its interest in helping the peoples of these areas to work toward better and more hopeful conditions of life, to strengthen the foundations of opportunity and freedom. To guard against the external military threat is not enough: we must also move against those conditions exploited by subversive forces from within.

I present this whole Program to you with confidence and conviction. It has been carefully developed by the responsible members of this administration in order to achieve--at least possible cost--the maximum results in terms of our security and the security of our friends and allies. In my judgment, it represents a careful determination of our essential needs in pursuing the policy of collective security in a world not yet freed of the threat of totalitarian conquest.

Unequivocally I can state that this amount of money judiciously spent abroad will add much more to our Nation's ultimate security in the world than would an even greater amount spent merely to increase the size of our own military forces in being.

Were the United States to fail to carry out these purposes, the free world could become disunited at a moment of great peril when peace and war hang precariously in balance.

This is the way best to defend successfully ourselves and the cause of freedom.


Note: The program to which the President refers is published in a Committee Print entitled "The Mutual Security Program for Fiscal Year 1954; Basic Data Supplied by the Executive Branch" (83d Cong., 1st Sess.).

The Mutual Security Act of 1953 was approved by the President on July 16, 1953 (67 Stat. 152).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Special Message to the Congress on the Mutual Security Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231715

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