Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President on the Proposed Reduction in Foreign Aid Funds.

December 14, 1963

THE drastic reduction in foreign aid funds proposed in the House, if sustained, would be a severe setback to American leadership and to U.S. interests in many parts of the world. The $2.8 billion recommended to the House is $1.7 billion below the figure requested by President Kennedy.

The proposed reductions in foreign aid funds would put our foreign policy in a straitjacket. For example:

The amount proposed for the Alliance for Progress would be sharply less than was appropriated last year. This would represent a failure on our part to carry out the undertakings of President Eisenhower in the Act of Bogota and of President Kennedy in the Charter of Punta del Este. It would mean that the United States would be providing for all of Latin America less than the Soviet Union is putting into Cuba alone. This is no way to combat communism in Latin America!

The amount proposed for contributions to international organizations would mean that the United States could not keep its commitments and pledges. This is a startling proposal. It would undercut our efforts in the United Nations to insure that the Soviet Union and other reluctant nations live up to their pledges to the United Nations.

The amount proposed for development loans would not even be enough to meet clear existing program commitments to five countries whose independence and progress is vital to the success of freedom in Asia and Africa--India, Pakistan, Turkey, Nigeria, and Tunisia--to say nothing of the other countries in Asia and Africa that we plan to assist.

The amount proposed for supporting economic assistance would not suffice to cover program plans and commitments in several of the countries where U.S. political and security interests are most seriously threatened-including Viet-Nam, Laos, Korea, Jordan, and the Congo.

The amount proposed for the technical assistance programs, under which the United States conducts people-to-people assistance in less-developed countries would be severely restricted.

I cannot believe that the Congress intends to require the United States of America to follow policies of weakness and retreat.

I urge the Congress, therefore, to appropriate the funds essential to conduct strong and forward-looking foreign assistance programs in the U.S. national interest.

Note: The Foreign Aid and Related Agencies Appropriation Act was approved January 6, 1964 (Public Law 88-258, 77 Stat. 857). See also the President's statement upon signing the Foreign Assistance Act, Item 48.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President on the Proposed Reduction in Foreign Aid Funds. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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