Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Special Message to the Congress on the Organization of the Executive Branch for the Conduct of Foreign Affairs.

June 01, 1953

To the Congress of the United States:

The history of recent decades has brought a profound and irrevocable change in the role of our Nation in world affairs. We have assumed a position of leadership among the free nations of the world in our united quest of a just and lasting peace. No national ambition, no selfish desire, but the sheer force of circumstance--the compelling need of-freedom's cause--has brought us to this position and this responsibility.

To meet this responsibility, our Nation today is dedicated to international action in concert with other nations--through the United Nations and in regional arrangements with other nations for collective security, for economic and social cooperation, designed to foster a community of world law. We have come to know that national security entails mutual security with other free nations. And we have come to know that their freedom, in turn, depends heavily upon our strength and the wisdom with which we use it.

To meet the challenge of this responsibility effectively--to convert earnest intent into constructive fact--we must achieve the most efficient and cohesive possible organization for the conduct of our foreign affairs. Slackness, confusion, blurred authority and clouded responsibility--any of these can defeat the noblest purposes of any foreign policy.

Our organization for the conduct of foreign affairs has been built upon a patchwork of statutes which needs careful restudy as a basis for new legislation. The development of new legislation will take time. By early next year we will be prepared, with appropriate consultation with the Congress, to recommend such legislation. In the meantime we must improve the present arrangements within the framework of existing legislation.

To date, the organization of the executive branch for foreign affairs has been deficient in two major respects. First: there has been no clear assignment of central responsibility for foreign policy below the President. Second: a number of programs which implement our foreign policy have been scattered within the executive branch rather than being grouped together for the most efficient and economical administration.

We must correct these deficiencies. The measures proposed are directed toward that objective. The consideration of new legislation will open up further reorganization possibilities.

First. We are taking the necessary steps to confirm the historic responsibility of the Department of State as the agency responsible under the President for the development and control of foreign policy and all relations with foreign governments. Not only must the Department of State be given clear authority to provide guidance on our foreign policies to all other agencies of the Federal Government; it is equally important that each Chief of Diplomatic Mission in each foreign country provide effective coordination of, and foreign policy direction with respect to, all United States Government activities in the country.

Second. We must bring together in a single organization foreign assistance and related economic operations now dispersed among several agencies of the executive branch.

Third. We must provide a new, separate organization for the international information programs now administered by the Department of State and the Mutual Security Agency.

To achieve the organization I have outlined requires a series of related actions. Accordingly, I am transmitting to the Congress today, by the required statutory message in each instance, Reorganization Plans Nos. 7 and 8 of 1953, under the Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended. Those plans take many of the necessary steps. I am making other changes by executive order. I am, in addition, setting forth in a letter addressed to department and agency heads, the arrangements which will govern relationships among executive branch officials in the conduct of our international responsibilities.

Reorganization Plan No. 7 has as its major purpose the realignment of our foreign assistance and related economic operations. It establishes a new Foreign Operations Administration and abolishes the present Mutual Security Agency and certain offices. It centers in the head of the new Administration the functions vested in the Mutual Security Agency and the Director for Mutual Security, including the Director's functions under the Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act.

To centralize further the foreign assistance and related economic responsibilities in the head of the new Foreign Operations Administration, I am taking certain administrative actions. These include the transfer from the Secretary of State to the Director of the Foreign Operations Administration four responsibilities: the administration of the Act for International Development; assistance to private foreign relief organizations; programs for aiding persons who have escaped from Communist areas; and operating functions with respect to United States participation in the United Nations Technical Assistance Program, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, the United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency, and the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration. These administrative actions also include the delegation by the President to the Director of the Foreign Operations Administration of appropriate responsibilities respecting the Palestine refugee program.

The new Foreign Operations Administration will have as its direct responsibility two major related assistance programs which previously have been separately administered. Both the Technical Cooperation Administration in the Department of State and the Mutual Security Agency have administered technical assistance programs. At the very least, this has meant some duplication in the performance of certain common functions, including the recruitment of technicians and the formulation of general policies. It has made difficult the achievement of a balanced programming of technical assistance on a world-wide basis.

The transfer of the Technical Cooperation Administration is not intended to modify the character of the United States technical cooperation program as a long-range effort to cooperate with the governments and peoples of other countries in developing their economies and raising their standards of living. The technical cooperation program will be carried out solely in furtherance of the purposes of the Act for International Development. The transfer of the functions vested in the President by the Act for International Development includes the programs under that act administered by the Institute of Inter-American Affairs.

The new Director of the Foreign Operations Administration will have the same responsibilities as his predecessor for continuous supervision, general direction and coordination of all foreign assistance programs, including the military assistance responsibilities vested in the Secretary of Defense.

Reorganization Plan No. 7 of 1953 provides for abolishing the offices of Special Representative in Europe and Deputy Special Representative in Europe, as authorized by section 504 of the Mutual Security Act of 1951, as amended. I am establishing a new United States mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European regional organizations. The chief of the mission will report to and receive instructions from the Secretary of State. The mission will include representatives of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Foreign Operations Administration.

Reorganization Plan No. 8 establishes a new agency--the United States Information Agency--for the conduct of our information programs. These include, with certain limited exceptions, four programs: the information activities now administered by the International Information Administration of the Department of State; the information programs financed in connection with government in occupied areas; the information program of the Mutual Security Agency; and the Technical Cooperation Administration information program. The first three of these programs would be shifted by Reorganization Plan No. 8, while the last would be reassigned by executive order.

Various arrangements have been provided in the past for the coordination of these programs, but the placing of them in a single agency seems the one sound way to provide real unity and greater efficiency. This action, moreover, brings under single management all the funds to be expended on these foreign information activities.

These information activities must, of course, be subject to special guidance and control in view of their direct relation to the conduct of foreign affairs and national security policy. Therefore, Reorganization Plan No. 8 specifies that the Secretary of State shall provide to the Director of the new agency on a current basis full guidance concerning the foreign policy of the United States. The plan also specifies, and I have amplified this in my letter to the department and agency heads, that the Secretary of State shall control the content of a program setting forth official United States' positions for use abroad. The program will be clearly identified as such by an exclusive descriptive label. I have likewise instructed that the new United States Information Agency shall report to the President through the National Security Council or as the President may otherwise direct.

In administering the information program in the Department of State, the Secretary of State has relied on various general statutes authorizing and controlling administrative matters. To insure that adequate authority may be vested in the new Director, Reorganization Plan No. 8 provides that he may, in carrying out his functions, exercise such administrative authorities of the Secretary of State and of certain other officers as the President may specify.

This is necessary because the legislation dealing with the information programs does not contain administrative provisions. For example: the Director of the new United States Information Agency will need personnel authority. I, therefore, plan to authorize an independent personnel system for this agency's foreign operations under authority of the last subsection of section 2 of Plan No. 8. This system will be based on the provisions of the Foreign Service Act of 1946. It will give authority to the Director to appoint personnel and take such other personnel actions as are necessary, thereby relieving the Secretary of State of responsibility with respect to personnel actions. Such personnel would receive compensation, allowances, and other benefits applicable to Foreign Service Reserve, Staff, and alien personnel. It is not planned to extend to the new agency any authority with respect to the appointment of Foreign Service Officers.

While these arrangements will enable the new agency to function with reasonable effectiveness from the outset, I do not consider them permanently suitable. There is need for a critical analysis of the various systems of employment and compensation for United States Government overseas civilian personnel. I am directing that this entire matter be studied with a view toward recommending appropriate legislation.

While divesting the Department of State of the foreign information programs, the reorganization plan does not transfer the responsibility of that Department for the educational exchange programs authorized by various acts of the Congress. Close coordination of our information and educational exchange programs will, of course, be effected by the Secretary of State and the Director of the United States Information Agency.

The Constitution of the United States places the duty upon the President for the conduct of our foreign affairs. Reorganization Plans Nos. 7 and 8 and the related Presidential actions are designed to protect and strengthen the role of the Secretary of State as the principal officer, under the President, in the field of foreign affairs. In the last analysis, however, the ability of the Secretary of State to discharge his responsibilities depends upon the backing accorded to him by the President, including consultation with the Secretary on the appointment and maintenance in office of the directors created by these reorganization plans. I shall continue to exercise my powers of appointment so that these offices are occupied only by men who support and enjoy the full confidence of the Secretary of State.

I urge the Congress to give its full support to these reorganizations.


Note: This message was released together with the messages transmitting Reorganization Plans 7 and 8 (Items 90 and 91, below), the text of Executive Order 10458 "Providing for the Administration of Certain Foreign Aid Programs and Related Activities" (3 CFR, 1949-1953 Comp., p. 944), and a memorandum on the organization of the Government for the conduct of foreign affairs (Item 92).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Special Message to the Congress on the Organization of the Executive Branch for the Conduct of Foreign Affairs. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231862

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