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Statement on Signing the Foreign Assistance Act of 1969.

December 31, 1969

THE Foreign Assistance Act which I have signed today represents evidence of the continuing commitment of the United States to provide assistance to the less developed nations of the world. It is my personal conviction that such assistance remains vitally necessary if we are to effectively cooperate with less wealthy countries struggling to improve the lives of their citizens.

It is also my personal conviction, as I stated in submitting this year's foreign assistance legislation, that substantial improvements in our aid program are necessary. Several such improvements are already underway: This act authorizes an Overseas Private Investment Corporation, to give new direction to U.S. private investment abroad; we have increased our emphasis on technical assistance; we will channel a greater percentage of our assistance through multilateral institutions; and we will expand our assistance to food production and family planning programs.

I recognize that many Members of Congress and many Americans believe that a more extensive renovation of our foreign assistance program is necessary. I share that belief. For that reason I look forward to the forthcoming report of my Task Force on International Development, of which Rudolph Peterson is Chairman, and expect its recommendations to form the basis of an innovative and more effective foreign assistance program which will justify even greater support from the Congress and the American people. The 2-year authorization provided in the Foreign Assistance Act of 1969 will facilitate careful consideration of that report.

While our new program is being formulated, however, it is essential that we maintain an adequate level of foreign assistance. I submitted the lowest aid request in history and regret that this act reduced that request substantially. Further large cuts in the appropriations bill would have serious consequences for U.S. foreign policy.

The task of overcoming poverty and human misery at home and abroad is a formidable one. It is the most ambitious and most crucial challenge in human history. It is one to which this country has made a great contribution, of which we should be proud. It is also one which will call upon us and other wealthy nations for greater efforts in the future.

Note: As enacted, the bill (H.R. 14580), approved on December 30, 1969, is Public Law 91-175 (83 Stat. 805).

The text of the announcement of the appointment of Rudolph A. Peterson as Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on International Development is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, P.1221).

The statement was released at San Clemente, Calif.

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing the Foreign Assistance Act of 1969. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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