Harry S. Truman photo

Special Message to the Congress on the Mutual Security Program.

March 06, 1952

To the Congress of the United States:

I recommend that the Congress authorize the continuance of the Mutual Security Program for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1953. Such action is essential to advance our program for world peace and to protect the security of the United States.

The Mutual Security Program provides equipment, supplies, and technical cooperation to enable friendly countries to carry out military and economic programs that will bring very great returns in increasing their security and our own. In each case, the countries concerned are driving to accomplish objectives which will bring closer to full realization our mutual goals of freedom and peace under the great principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Without some resources from us to add to their own, these objectives cannot be accomplished.

My support for this program rests on four propositions:

First, the plain fact is that we cannot achieve lasting security for ourselves except in association with other nations.

Second, the funds provided by the United States under the Mutual Security Program are essential to the success of the common efforts we are making with other free nations for peace.

Third, the funds thus invested by the United States will yield far larger returns, in terms of our own security, than if the same amount were used for our own defense establishment.

Fourth, the cost of the Mutual Security Program, together with the much larger costs of our military services and other defense measures, are well within our economic capacity.

I do not need to review here the tragic circumstances which have compelled this Nation to undertake massive programs for national defense and for mutual security. Most of us fully understand today the grimness of the threat which Soviet aggression carries for the survival of civilization.

Neither do I need to dwell upon the fact that all our military preparations are defensive preparations. We are seeking to create strength in the world sufficient to prevent aggression. We do not contemplate expenditures in the magnitude or of the character necessary to launch aggression. These facts underline the statement which cannot be too often repeated: our objective is peace, not war.

The point I do want to emphasize, for there still appear to be some people who do not recognize it, is that to achieve peace we must work together with other nations.

Some people would have us withdraw to our own shores and gamble our national safety on air and naval power. A glance at some of the vital materials that go into air and naval power illustrates how self-defeating this would be. Four-fifths or more of the manganese, the tin, and the chrome in a United States destroyer or jet fighter comes from outside the western hemisphere. Should we turn our back on the rest of the world, these and other precious resources, so vital to our own security, would not only be lost to us, but in all probability would be added to the military strength of the Soviet empire.

Without our friends abroad, the threat of aggression would move dose to our own shores. Without their armed forces, and the bases on their soil, and the raw materials from their mines and forests, our military power would be gravely hampered in its defense of the United States, and our whole economy would be seriously weakened. Our support and assistance for other nations, therefore, are not in the nature of charity. These are not handouts which we can carelessly offer or withdraw without regard to the effect on our own safety. The problems of American survival would be multiplied to an incalculable extent if we had to face the Soviet threat without the support and assistance of other nations.

The Mutual Security Program is justified not only by these hard strategic and military realities. It is, in addition, the only course which fulfills our position as a world leader in the battle for freedom and the rights of man. That is the reason so many nations freely join with us in a common faith in democracy and common desire for peace. These nations are our friends, and not our satellites. As friends, they contribute to the shared wisdom and faith of the free world-a wisdom and faith on which no single nation can claim a monopoly. We must accordingly take care to treat them as friends. We must not act as though we wished to degrade them to the rank of satellites by exacting a rigid and humiliating subservience which no free nation could with dignity accept. We will never be defeated as long as we truly stand for a free partnership of free peoples. The unconquerable power of the free world lies in the fact that loyalties are not coerced.

The concrete requirements of American security compel us to a policy of international cooperation. But it would be, I believe, a misrepresentation of the American people to suppose that self-interest--even wise and enlightened self-interest--is the only cause for our concern with the outside world. As a nation, we have been dedicated through our history to the belief that responsible men deserve a democratic government and a free society. This belief is the essence of our way of life. We would betray our innermost convictions if today we were to flee the cause of the free peoples. If through inaction we desert the cause of democracy, the democratic hope may be exterminated in broad areas of this earth. If we rise to our historic traditions, we can add powerful momentum to the democratic counter-offensive which inspires in the people of the world a sense of their own destiny as free men--and which will in the end burst the bonds of tyranny everywhere on earth.

The pursuit of mutual security through mutual strength is thus the keystone of the broad foreign 'policy which the United States and other free nations have adopted as the surest road to lasting peace.

The American people have steadfastly supported this foreign policy since the Second World War. Its pattern today is sharp and clear. If I were to make a brief definition of our policy, I would call it the policy of peace through collective strength. We are joined with other countries in the patient and systematic building in the free world of enough military strength to deter external communist aggression; and of economic and political and moral strength to remove internal threats of communist subversion and point the way toward democratic progress.

I wish to emphasize very strongly that all these forms of strength are necessary if we are to achieve freedom and peace. The plain and inescapable fact is that they are indivisible. Neither military strength nor economic strength nor political strength nor moral strength can do the job alone.

Military strength is the first necessity, for without a shield against aggression the free world would be helpless before the enemy. Military strength must be built, and we must help build it, in Europe and in other critical areas of the world. But military strength is not just a matter of delivering arms to our allies. It is also a matter of defense support to enable our allies to do more to expand and equip their own defense forces.

And even arms and defense support together do not provide a full answer to the Soviet threat; to believe that they do is dangerously to misunderstand the nature of the foe. The gun is but one weapon in the Soviet arsenal of aggression. If we ignored the necessity for building moral and political and economic strength, we would expose ourselves to the danger of communist gains which could be at least as damaging as outright aggression. Since the Soviet Union does not rely exclusively on military attack, we would be foolish indeed to rely exclusively on military defense.


The funds required under the Mutual Security Program fall into two broad categories.

The first of these, which is by far the larger, is for assistance in building up the military strength of friendly nations. This aid is of two types: (1) Direct military aid, primarily in the form of military equipment and components thereof, and (2) defense support--primarily in the form of raw materials, commodities, and machinery--to enable other countries to sustain and increase their military efforts, where that type of support produces greater returns in military strength than would an equal amount of direct military aid. The bulk of the direct military aid and of the defense support will go to strengthen the defenses of the free nations in Europe. Amounts for direct military aid and defense support make up about 90 per cent of the total funds recommended for the Mutual Security Program for the fiscal year 1953.

The second broad category is for economic and technical assistance, primarily for the underdeveloped areas of the world, where economic progress is the first essential in the battle for freedom. Some of these funds will in fact also support defense efforts in certain countries in Southeast Asia, where communist aggression is an immediate menace. Amounts recommended for economic and technical assistance are about 10 per cent of the total.

The distribution of the amounts recommended is shown in more detail in the following table:


(In millions)


Direct Defense and Adminis- Area

military support technical tration totals

Europe 4, 070 11,819 5,889

Near East and Africa 606 1 96 802

Asia and the Pacific 611 2 408 1,019

American Republics 62 22 84

Multilateral Technical Assistance,

Migration, and

Relief Package freight 30 30

Administration 75 75

Total 3 5, 350 1,819 656 75 3 7, 900

1 Includes economic assistance for Austria.

2 Includes assistance to support military efforts in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

3 Columns do not add to totals because of rounding.

In the Mutual Security Act of 1951, the Congress provided for an integrated program, administered by appropriate operating agencies under the general direction of the Director for Mutual Security. These arrangements are working well, and I recommend that they be continued. Under them, direct military aid will be administered by the Department of Defense. The Mutual Security Agency will administer defense support in Europe, together with technical and economic assistance in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In South Asia, the Near East, Latin America, and the independent states of Africa, economic and technical assistance will be administered by the Technical Cooperation Administration of the Department of State.

We shall continue our policy of closely coordinating the Mutual Security Program with the technical assistance programs of the Organization of American States and the United Nations and its agencies, such as the food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. In addition, we shall continue to encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the investment of private capital for economic development abroad, and we shall continue to relate outlays under the Mutual Security Program to the loans being made by the Export-Import Bank and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


Today, the problem of achieving security and strength in free Europe, in my judgment, is on the way to solution. The last five years have recorded remarkable gains as a result of actions we have taken under our policy of peace through collective strength-first in Greece and Turkey; then, in 1948, through the European Recovery Program, and since 1949 through the growing defensive power of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The American contribution did not of itself create these gains; but it did supply the essential margin without which the Europeans could not have fought their way out of their post-war slough of despond.

Five years ago, many European nations were on the verge of economic or political collapse. A divided and despairing continent-next to our own, the most productive and industrially powerful in the world--lay open for Soviet conquest.

How different the picture is today. Europe has made immense advances--in economic output, in military strength, in political self-confidence, in progress toward unity. Today, the Soviet Union knows that it cannot achieve its purposes in Europe, so long as the policy of collective strength continues.

Europe still has far to go. Economic health and vitality in Europe require a series of specific actions--varying from country to country--to raise industrial and agricultural productivity, to knock down trade barriers and exchange restrictions, and to encourage the vigorous forces of competition in European and world markets. They require further progress toward the democratic goals of a fair distribution of income, strong and free trade unions, fair and effective tax systems, and programs of land reform.

Above all, we in the United States do not believe that Western Europe can achieve its full strength without accelerated progress toward unity. Only this unity can release the great potential energy of free Europe. We will continue in every way we can to encourage its attainment.

The difficulties are very great. It is only candid to report that progress in this direction has not always been as fast as we hoped. Yet, in many respects the progress has been most impressive.

A revolution has been taking place in European thinking. The Organization for European Economic Cooperation and the European Payments Union have laid foundations for joint action in the economic and financial fields. In the Schuman Plan, six countries are creating an international authority for the production and distribution of coal and steel. Under the European Defense Community, the same six countries are planning to establish common armed forces, a common defense ministry, and a common military budget.

Europe has moved faster toward integration in the last five years than it did in the previous five hundred. At every stage in this movement, the United States has provided encouragement and support. If this progress continues in the next five years-and I am confident it will--a new Europe will emerge as a great and creative partner in the defense of freedom.

It is this progress toward European economic recovery and political unity which makes possible a growing defense effort in Western Europe. The build-up of military strength there since the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty has been most encouraging. In the coming fiscal year, European military expenditures will be considerably more than twice as large as they were in the year preceding the communist aggression in Korea. Production of military materiel in Western Europe has multiplied about four times in that period. The European nations have lengthened the training periods under their compulsory military service programs and have substantially enlarged and improved their armed forces. The pace of the military build-up has given many millions of Europeans new confidence in their capacity to resist aggression.

This is an impressive record of progress. Of course, the record is far from perfect-especially in view of the urgency of the threat posed by aggressive Soviet imperialism. We can find many specific weaknesses and shortcomings to criticize--and some people in our country fasten their attention so exclusively on such things as to advocate that the defense of Europe be abandoned. I do not wish to minimize the shortcomings, but the fundamental question to ask is: "Are we moving at a substantial rate in the right direction? Is real progress being made?" The answer is obvious. So is the conclusion to be drawn. The record abundantly warrants confidence in our European allies, and our continued steadfast support for them.

Two weeks ago, at Lisbon, the member nations took the most far-reaching strides in European defense since the adoption of the North Atlantic Treaty itself in 1949. The North Atlantic Council at Lisbon endorsed the specific means through which the forces of the European Defense Community--including German contingents--will be organized and tied into General Eisenhower's command. After months of planning by the special committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Harriman, the Council made specific and concrete decisions providing for the more rapid build-up of forces and for the provision of the necessary equipment and construction to support them.

By the end of this calendar year, General Eisenhower's command is expected to have at its disposal a formidable force--including some 50 army divisions, about half of them on active duty, and some 4,000 military planes--and a sound base for further buildup in 1953 and 1954. These forces, joined by those of Greece and Turkey, will bring within measurable distance the time when even the most foolhardy man in the Kremlin will not dare risk open attack.

In order to equip the forces being raised by our allies under the Lisbon agreements, we as well as they must step up our efforts. There have been delays in our own production and delivery of arms. And combat requirements for Korea have, of course, received top priority for deliveries from our current output. I am assured that production is now being accelerated substantially, and I have consequently directed that deliveries to the North Atlantic Treaty defense forces be greatly speeded up.

The rearmament effort has also created problems in Europe. The European economy, after its extraordinary comeback in the years of the European Recovery Program, has now been subjected to new and severe pressures. The Marshall Plan was designed to help restore minimum economic health, not to produce a surplus capable of creating military forces adequate for European defense. Today, not only has rearmament imposed a heavy direct burden, but the global consequences of rearmament--including rises in the prices both of raw materials generally and of finished goods from the United States--have drastically upset the European balance of payments. Substantial and sustained efforts will be necessary to meet these problems, even with our help.

However, the European countries have a sizable capacity to increase their armed forces, to construct military bases and facilities, and to produce military equipment and supplies--if we provide the crucial margin of raw materials and other support for their defense efforts. If we provide this margin of resources, the European countries will be able to produce far more military equipment than they otherwise could, and to maintain far larger armed forces than would otherwise be possible. Our defense support will allow them to use plants, machinery, materials and manpower which exist in Europe, but which otherwise could not be devoted to defense purposes. For this reason, our defense support is an extremely economical way to achieve military strength for our mutual security. The funds included in the Mutual Security Program for defense support will yield, according to the best estimates, more than twice as much military strength in Europe as would the same funds spent for the direct transfer of military equipment from the United States.

Accordingly, the Mutual Security Program for Europe is planned so that the United States will provide both weapons and defense support. The form of assistance-whether military equipment or assistance in financing imports of raw materials and other items where required to make possible the necessary level of European defense efforts--has been decided in each case on the basis of which form produces the most results in defensive strength at the least cost.

In addition to the funds for the North Atlantic Treaty countries and Western Germany, limited amounts are included in the Mutual Security Program for Yugoslavia, whose defiance of the Soviet Union is giving heart to untold millions behind the Iron Curtain; for Austria, where continued economic assistance is necessary to maintain economic stability in the face of occupation of part of the country by Soviet forces; and for facilitating emigration from Europe under international arrangements. We expect soon to complete arrangements with Spain which will assist in the defense of the Mediterranean area; our part in these arrangements will be carried forward with funds already made available by the Congress.


Outside of Europe, our policy of building collective strength for peace must meet and overcome a very different range of problems. The most serious problems of Asia, Africa and Latin America occur in the underdeveloped areas--the areas which have not yet shared in the benefits of the burst of scientific and technical advance of the last two centuries.

The people of many of these areas confront the legacy of centuries of neglect-they are in many cases desperately poor, defenseless before famine and disease, disabled by illiteracy. At the same time, they have a new and burning determination to improve their living standards, to fulfill their desire for self-government, to control their own futures. As old social structures have failed to meet the basic needs of their peoples, the popular energy, so long pent up, is bursting forth in fierce nationalism and in -fierce demands for real economic change.

These conditions would exist even if there were no Soviet threat to world peace. But the pressure of Soviet communism, working overtime to exploit the turbulence of the under-developed areas, greatly increases the necessity for speed in meeting these conditions-speed in the interest, not alone of orderly and democratic development, but of the security of the whole free world.

As a nation born in a struggle for individual freedom, we cordially welcome the aspirations of people to free themselves from oppression and misery. To place ourselves wholeheartedly at their side, we must work with them in their struggle against poverty and famine and illiteracy and disease. In the Point four concept, we have a means of joining hands with the constructive forces of these areas before bitterness and frustration drive them into a fatal alliance with Soviet communism.

Point four means making our scientific advances and technical know-how available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas. Point four means technical missionaries at work, and it also means the supplies and equipment that are needed to put new techniques into effect.

No one should think that Point four involves some single formula or program which is to be applied everywhere, in equal measure, throughout the under-developed regions of the world. The kinds of aid we plan must be tailored both to what we can afford at any given time and to the specific situation in each country. Our experience in Latin America has demonstrated that Point four operations, to be successful, must be supported by adequate supplies and equipment. The supplies and equipment can be financed in various ways.

Some countries can attract private investment capital and loans to finance most of their outlays for economic development. Other countries can earn enough dollars from their own exports to finance most of the equipment and supplies they need. In still other countries, where neither loans nor private capital can meet the need, this Government must provide substantial quantities of supplies and equipment to assure real progress on vital programs for development. That is the direction we are taking in India today, and in other places where the need is particularly urgent and where the local plans are firm enough to produce a sound result.

Today, we have technical and economic missions in 40 countries. The shirt-sleeve diplomats of Point four are carrying the American revolution to the villages and farms of the world. They are providing farmers with better seed and better fertilizer, better methods of plowing and sowing and better means of harvesting and saving the crops. They are helping to fight malaria and dysentery, trachoma and rinderpest. They are providing training in the techniques of modern government. They are helping to build roads and canals and dams, schools and hospitals. They are teaching people to read, to revitalize the soil, to irrigate it, to drain it. In short, they are teaching people by methods of peace to change their own world without bloodshed.

The funds we invest in Point four will yield direct and immediate results in terms of larger food production, better communications, more agricultural and health specialists, engineers, and other technicians. But even more important are the longer term results. For the magic of this work is its multiplying effect: if we can help train ten teachers, they can train hundreds of children; if we can help set up ten demonstration farms, hundreds of farmers can come and learn to use new methods; if we can help drill a hundred new wells or build a new irrigation dam, thousands of farmers can increase their yields and plow back their earnings into further improvements. In this way, a relatively small investment can bring immense results.

In one district in India, the production of food has already been increased 46 percent. Repeat this across the continents of Asia and Africa and Latin America, and we enter a new era in the history of man.


The Near East presents a sharp challenge to American statesmanship. The countries of these areas are of vital importance to the security of the free world, but the problems of achieving constructive and orderly development are extremely difficult.

Living standards are generally very low. Transportation and land tenure systems are often archaic. Political and religious controversies simmer throughout the region. Nationalism is sometimes misdirected into fanatical outbursts which ignore the benefits to be gained from international cooperation. The communists are doing their best to stir up confusion and trouble.

Most of these problems can only be solved by the people of these countries finding ways to make solid progress in developing economic strength and effective free institutions. But we can and must help them.

We can help dig wells for irrigation and clean water in Iran and Iraq. We can help set up farm credit institutions and agricultural extension services in Lebanon and Liberia. We can help build roads and establish public health services in Israel. We can help build up school and hospital services in countries throughout the area. For projects of this type, I recommend economic and technical assistance in this area (including help for the Arab refugees) of 196 million dollars.

Military assistance for nations in this area is recommended in the amount of 606 million dollars. Most of these funds are for Greece and Turkey, whose military assistance programs are carried under the heading of the Near East; defense support funds for those countries are included with those for Europe.

To help in maintaining security in the Near East, the United States has joined with Turkey, France, Great Britain, and three Commonwealth countries in 'proposing the establishment of a Middle East Command. We hope this Command will become the center of cooperative efforts by all countries concerned for the defense of the region as a whole from outside aggression.


Much of Asia at this moment is under communist attack. The free nations are holding the line against aggression in Korea and Indo-China, and are battling communist inspired disorders in Burma, Malaya, and the Philippines. The loss of any of these countries would mean the loss of freedom for millions of people, the loss of vital raw materials, the loss of points of critical strategic importance to the free world.

The Mutual Security Program for this area includes military assistance in the amount of 611 million dollars, and economic and technical assistance of 408 million dollars, some of which will contribute directly to the defense programs of certain countries of Southeast Asia.

Of our military assistance, a large part will go to Indo-China where the troops of the french Union and of the Associated States are battling valiantly against the communist led forces, and another large part will go to continue to help prepare the Chinese armies on formosa to resist communist aggression. The rest will go to the Philippines and Thailand, to help build forces strong enough to insure internal security.

As in the Near East and Africa, however, security in Asia is far more than a military problem. Our military assistance is essential to check the encroachments of communist imperialism. But the long-run promise of stability and progress lies, not alone in arms, but in the provision of sufficient economic and technical support to enable the peoples of Asia to conquer their old, deep-seated and agonizing economic problems and to share in the benefits of an expanding world economy.

In India, for example, the key to economic progress lies in boosting food production. This is the only way to remove the constant threat of famine and ease the desperate struggle for a daily livelihood. It is the only way of freeing funds now spent to import food, so they can be used instead for productive investment in developing natural resources, transportation, and industry.

The whole future of India as a free nation may well lie in her ability to raise her food production and do it quickly.

We must support India's own efforts to get this done. The Indian Government has already set in motion a plan under which, in a very few years, she will be able to grow the food needed by her people, and will have established a sound basis for further economic development. It is a good plan, practical and definite. India itself is financing most of it. And we are greatly stepping up our aid for this plan with confidence that the sums we spend will bring concrete results.

This is an example of how our aid can produce large-scale results by supporting the efforts of the people of the Asian countries. In the same way, we are helping to expand irrigation in Pakistan, to eliminate malaria in Thailand, to increase rice yields in Burma.

It is vital that this work be carried forward rapidly. For, in this region, there is still time to set in motion programs which will tap the energies of the people and give them solid hope for advancement under governments determined to resist communist expansion. We must not let this opportunity go by default. Let it never be said of the American people that our eyes are focused only on what might have been--that we grow concerned about the countries of Asia only after they have been lost to the enemy. The bold and wise investment of American funds in this region in the next few years can make a vital difference to the future of freedom.

Special note should be taken of the contribution that the new, free Japan can make to the growth of economic strength in Asia. A growing trade partnership of Japan with Southeast and South Asia can benefit everyone concerned. Such a partnership in free Asia can result in a self-supporting, expanding regional economy, free of permanent dependence on United States economic aid and free from the danger of satellite slavery under the Soviet orbit.


I do not need to restate here the inestimable importance of Latin America. Its governments and its peoples are joined with us in the Organization of American States and the Rio Treaty to bolster the security of the free world. It is a most important source of vital raw materials; and it carries on with us a large and mutually advantageous trade. In case of emergency, its military forces can partially relieve ours of some of the important tasks connected with hemisphere defense.

In order to assist hemisphere defense, I am recommending military assistance of 62 million dollars for the Latin American countries. In addition, I recommend 23 million dollars to carry forward the remarkable technical cooperation work now under way in nineteen Latin American states to develop agriculture and natural resources, education, health, transportation, and other fundamental services. This includes 1 million dollars for our share of the technical cooperation work of the Organization of American States. This assistance--supplemented as it is by substantial amounts of private loans and investments and public loans through the Export-Import Bank and the International Bank--has already helped materially to raise living standards, speed economic development, and reduce vulnerability to undemocratic movements of the extreme right or the extreme left.

The policy of the good neighbor has been one of our most successful policies; we must not falter in our loyalty to that policy today.

The major national security programs I am recommending for the fiscal year 1953, including the Mutual Security Program, total about 64 billion dollars. This request raises once again the question whether the American nation can afford so much money for national security. This is a serious question. It requires a serious answer.

Certainly the total security program--of which the Mutual Security Program is a relatively small part--is by any standard a large one. It has resulted in some unavoidable economic dislocations and inflationary pressures. Yet, the burden has been carried with remarkably little strain.

The fundamental reason for this is that our national production has been expanding rapidly, and will continue to rise. Security expenditures, measured in 1951 prices, rose about 18 billion dollars from 1950 to 1951; but the increase in our national output was even larger--totaling about 26 billion dollars. During the next two years, we can continue to raise output by not less than 5 percent annually, increasing the gross national product (at 1951 prices) to about 340-345 billion dollars in 1952, and to about 355-360 billion in 1953, compared with 327 billion in 1951 and 301 billion in 1950. If output rises at this rate, we will have increased our total annual production about one-fifth in three years. Even with the immense diversion to security purposes, production should be high enough, by the beginning of 1953, to permit total civilian consumption and capital investment at least 50 percent higher than during World War II.

There will certainly be cutbacks in some things. Yet, even if automobile production should drop to around 4 million units this year, it must be remembered that this is only slightly less than the average production of 1948 and 1949. If housing should dip below one million units, it must be remembered that we have succeeded in producing more than one million units per year in only three years of our history. And as we expand our output of vital materials such as steel and aluminum, we can again increase the output of such civilian items.

All in all, our present security expenditures are clearly within our economic capacity. And as our basic productive strength continues to increase in the years ahead, we should be able to carry more easily the substantial security costs which may continue to be necessary.

Let us consider for a moment the costs of possible alternatives to our present policy.

The alternative of premeditated and deliberate war is one which no democratic or God-fearing people can for a moment entertain. Even if we were insane enough to consider it, however, it would obviously entail expenditures immensely greater than our present ones, not to speak of the terrible waste and destruction of human life, property, and natural resources.

Another alternative--of contracting our commitments and retreating to the Western Hemisphere--has a monetary seductiveness, because it would seem to relieve us of the contributions we are now making to collective defense. But, in fact, if we followed the policy of retreat, we would have to try to replace the contributions to our security which now come from the cooperation of our allies. We could not replace some of those contributions at any cost; others only at very high cost, not just in money, resources and military manpower, but in the precious political and economic freedoms we are mobilizing to defend.

The policy of retreat would deprive us of armed forces which, if called upon to fight for the defense of their own countries, would at the same time be fighting for the defense of ours. It would deprive us of essential raw materials. It would impose upon us a much higher level of mobilization than we have today. It would require a stringent and comprehensive system of allocation and rationing in order to husband our smaller resources. It would require us to become a garrison state, and to impose upon ourselves a system of centralized regimentation unlike anything we have ever known.

In the end, when the enemy, encouraged by our retreat, began to organize the rest of the world against us, we would face the prospect of bloody battle--and on our own shores. The ultimate costs of such a policy would be incalculable. Its adoption would be a mandate for national suicide.

I am asking the Congress for 7.9 billion dollars for the Mutual Security Program-an amount which will bring returns no other policy could hope to produce so economically.

I am deeply convinced, after studying the matter carefully, that if there is any question about this amount, it is not whether it is too large, but whether it is too small.

These funds are needed, all of them, to pay for essential parts of the total undertaking to help free nations build adequate combined defenses. If the military assistance funds are reduced, this will mean a corresponding reduction in the effective combat forces which can be created in Europe and Asia, and a serious disruption of the timetable for achieving adequate defenses. If the defense support funds are reduced, it will mean that our partners in this endeavor will be unable to raise and train the scheduled forces or unable to expand their own military production as planned. If economic and technical funds are reduced, there will be a corresponding reduction in what we can do to help countries in Asia, the Near East, Africa, and Latin America to strengthen themselves, and a correspondingly greater danger of these areas failing to communist aggression or subversion.

I would not counsel the Congress to spend one dollar more than is necessary to support our policy of peace. But there is no economy more false than that which is summed up in the tragic phrase, "too little and too late." Such a policy risks the loss of our investment as well as our objective. It would be foolish and dangerous to withhold a dollar now at the risk of expending, not just many times as many dollars, but human lives as well, a few years later.

The question is frequently--and properly--asked: How long are we going to have to continue this type of program? I cannot--no one can--give an answer in terms of a specific month and year. But I can say that one of the central purposes in everything we are doing under the Mutual Security Program is to build strength which will eliminate the need for assistance from the United States.

This is not a program for carrying the rest of the world on our backs. This is a program for getting the other free nations on their own feet, so they can move ahead without special help from us or anyone else.

As the Mutual Security Program moves ahead--as larger military forces become equipped and trained, as economic strength continues to increase--we can expect the costs to the United States to decline. This is not only our own desire; it is also the natural hope and objective of the people of other countries. Free people do not relish dependence on other nations. They wish to achieve as rapidly as possible the economic health and vigor which will enable them to sustain their own programs of defense and economic progress. The Mutual Security Program will hasten the day when this will become possible.

History has thrust a fearful responsibility upon the United States. Today, the survival of freedom and civilization on this earth may depend on the initiative and decisions taken in our own Nation's capital. The free peoples look to us for leadership. Leadership implies more than a recognition of the problem. It implies also a capacity to work out a joint solution with our partners, and to stay with it till the end; it implies resolution and fortitude. We have shown that we understand the threat. But some are doubtful whether we will stay the course until we achieve peace in a free world.

I am not in doubt. I know that we shall succeed. It is perhaps true that our history has been characterized by impatience, by a passion for quick results. It is equally true, however, that it has also been characterized by perseverance and determination--the perseverance of the pioneer, making his steadfast way into the unknown West; the determination of the farmer and worker, transforming a savage wilderness into the strongest and most productive nation known to history. Perseverance and determination, steadfastness and dependability--it was these qualities, and not recklessness or imprudence, which built America. It is our obligation to turn these qualities outward. We must show the world that we can meet any crisis, and that temporary frustration will not drive us to panicky aggression or to ignominious retreat. This is the challenge of free world leadership.

In the last analysis, our leadership must stand or fall on the moral power behind it. No nation, of course, can undertake policies which are not squarely and solidly based on national self-interest. But world leadership in these perilous times calls for policies which, while springing from self-interest, transcend it--policies which serve as a bridge between our own national objectives and the needs and aspirations of other free people.

I deeply believe that the Mutual Security Program is an expression of a new spirit in the world--a spirit based on faith in democracy and human decency, and looking to a new collaboration among nations and peoples. It expresses the deep reality of our friendship for other peoples--the sincerity of our determination to join with them in building a world where freedom, justice and security will exist for all.


Note: On June 20, 1952, the President signed the Mutual Security Act of 1952 (66 Stat. 141). For his remarks upon signing the Supplemental Appropriation Act, which included the Mutual Security Appropriation Act, see Item 205.

Earlier, on January 14, 1952, the White House released the text of the President's nomination of William H. Draper, Jr., chairman of the Long Island Transit Authority, to be the United States Special Representative in Europe.

The release stated that Mr. Draper "will be concerned with the various aspects of the Mutual Security Program in Europe. He will act for the Director for Mutual Security in providing on a regional basis coordination, continuous supervision and general direction of the military and economic assistance programs. He will be charged with seeing that these programs are effectively integrated and administered so as to assure that the defensive strength of the nations concerned shall be built as quickly as possible on the basis of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid. He will also exercise general supervision over the European activities of the Mutual Security Agency.

"The United States Special Representative will maintain close liaison with the American ambassadors to the various European capitals, the United States Deputy to the North Atlantic Council and the Commanding General of the United States European Command. He will also maintain close contact with the United States members of the various North Atlantic Treaty agencies in Europe and with the United States elements of General Eisenhower's Headquarters.

"Proposals for improvements in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are presently under active consideration. As this reorganization moves forward, it is expected that the United States Special Representative will become the senior United States civilian representative in Europe responsible for North Atlantic Treaty as well as Mutual Security Program matters."
See also Items 57, 61, 332.

Harry S. Truman, 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/231488

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