Statement by the President Upon Signing the Foreign Assistance and Related Agencies Appropriation Act.
I HAVE today signed into law the Foreign Assistance and Related Agencies Appropriation Act for fiscal year 1966.
This act is proof of the stark fact that the majority of the people in our world are living in desperate need. It is also proof of the simple fact that Americans are not going to sit idly by while others suffer.
Since World War II the nations of the free world have invested some $135 billion in foreign aid. The United States alone has contributed $115 billion of that total. I know of no more convincing evidence of the compassion in the heart of this Nation.
But compassion is not enough. While our wealth is great, it is not unlimited. It must be used not merely to apply band-aids to superficial wounds but to remove the causes of deeper and more dangerous disorders.
That is why I do not intend for American aid to become an international dole. The Congress of the United States does not want that. The people of this country do not want that. The people who benefit from our assistance, I am sure, do not want that.
Our assistance must and will go to those nations that will most use it to bring major and far-reaching benefits to their people.
It will go to those willing not only to talk about basic social change but who will act immediately on these reforms. As I discharge my responsibilities under this act, I will look not simply to the fact of an agreement that points toward reform but to action already taken to bring reform to fruition.
Action, not promises, will be the standard of our assistance.
Accomplishments, not apologies, are what the American people expect from their desire to help others help themselves.
The amount of money appropriated in this act is only 7 percent less than my original request. This is the smallest reduction in such a request since the beginning of the Marshall plan and reflects the unusual scrutiny given the measure by both the administration and Congress.
When I sent the request to Congress, I pledged that these funds will be used wisely and effectively and in keeping with our own national interests. That pledge I intend to fulfill.
I am, for example, instructing the administrators of this program to make certain that every dollar spent is consistent with our efforts to improve our balance of payments position. If the dollar does not remain strong, no amount of foreign aid will, in the long run, prove helpful to anyone anywhere in the world.
I am also instructing the men who administer this program to be certain these funds go to the people.
And I am asking them to assure that the money invested in this program produce long-term innovations that will hasten the day when others can stand proudly on their own feet and walk steadily toward a better future.
Note: As enacted, the Foreign Assistance and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1966, is Public Law 89-273 (79 Stat. 1002).
The statement was released at the Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Md.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Foreign Assistance and Related Agencies Appropriation Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241183