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Statement on Signing Bills Authorizing United States Contributions to Multilateral Development Institutions.

March 10, 1972

TODAY I have signed into law three bills which are of special importance to our relations with the developing nations of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. These bills authorize significant United States contributions to three multilateral development institutions--the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Development Association, and the Asian Development Bank.

The activities of these institutions over the past decade have clearly demonstrated how much can be accomplished by great multilateral endeavors toward constructive and peaceful goals. Their increasing capacity to deal with the complex problems of development promises even greater achievements during this decade. It is for these reasons that I have given my strong support to legislation increasing the resources of these international development lending organizations. And I believe that it is for these same reasons that the Congress approved my requests by substantial bipartisan majorities.

The reasons which underlie our support for the international financial institutions are well known; they include: the international burden sharing that these institutions make possible, the experience and expertise that these institutions bring to development, and the very substantial long-range benefits to the United States from expanding markets and sources of supply in the developing countries.

These factors are consistent with the evolving world role I see for the United States in the decade ahead. They are the counterpart in the development field of the new approach we are charting in world monetary and trade policies--an approach which calls upon all partners to contribute their fair share to a balanced international economy. This legislation reaffirms the willingness of the United States to play a constructive leadership role within that context.

The bill providing $900 million of additional authority for the Fund for Special Operations of the Inter-American Development Bank is an important expression of our continued commitment to development in the Western Hemisphere. This action completes the authorizing phase of the arrangements which we and our Latin American partners worked out at Punta del Este in April of 1970. It clearly recognizes the high degree of importance which we and the Latin American people attach to this hemispheric institution and its work.

The funds authorized for the International Development Association of the World Bank will help that institution continue its work of providing credits to the poorest of the developing nations on suitable terms. The funds we provide to the IDA are essential to a broad international sharing of responsibility for the development effort, since other developed countries will provide more than 1 1/2 times the amount that we contribute. Prompt appropriation of our contributions is especially important at this time, when funds available for new lending by this important institution have been virtually exhausted.

For Asia, the authority that becomes effective today will provide an initial United States contribution to the special funds of the Asian Development Bank. This money will be especially important in the evolving pattern of United States relations with Asia, helping Asian nations to become economically self-sufficient. Other countries have already contributed substantial amounts to this institution, but our resources are needed to continue the momentum that has been established.

The legislation which I sign today is evidence of the willingness of the United States to provide the funds required to carry out these programs. The amounts called for are within our capabilities. They are consistent with and have been taken into account in our budgetary planning. They are essential if the idea of multilateral assistance is to remain a viable concept. And they are necessary if we are to continue to participate constructively in an international effort which has, in large part because of our past leadership, played such a major role in fostering progress in the developing world.

I urge that the Congress act promptly in appropriating the full amounts authorized by this legislation.

NOTE:The President signed the bills in a ceremony in the Cabinet Room at the White House. As enacted, S. 748, relating to the Inter-American Development Bank, is Public Law 92-246 (86 Stat. 59); S. 2010, relating to the International Development Association, is Public Law 92-247 (86 Stat. 60); and S. 749, relating to the Asian Development Bank, is Public Law 92-245 (86 Stat. 57).

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing Bills Authorizing United States Contributions to Multilateral Development Institutions. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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