JULY 17, 1950
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Ever since the Senate Appropriations Committee cut to 10 million the amount to be appropriated out of the 25 million dollars authorized by Congress a month ago for the Point Four program in the field of technical cooperation, I have been troubled and worried as to whether the people of the United States understood the value of this program to them and were letting their Senators know of their interest.
The object of the Point Four program is very simple. Chiefly, it will help people living in areas where heretofore the standard of living has been very low to raise their standard of living just a little. Every step forward in that direction is a step toward greater stability and happiness among the people in such areas. If people feel that they are really moving forward, they do not become dissatisfied and lend themselves easily to revolution and change.
In many of these countries, the Point Four program is designed to help them increase their production of raw materials. Some people think that if we were to offer to buy all the raw materials that were produced in these areas, that alone would be sufficient incentive to make them produce. Others believe it will require technical assistance to help them to produce.
For instance, one of the immediate problems in India is the simple one of widespread hunger. They are trying to buy wheat from us. We are unable to sell it to them, for a number of reasons. But I remember hearing that one of our farm organization people who went there made a simple suggestion about providing certain kinds of machinery in large quantities which he felt would revolutionize the whole problem of feeding the people of India. If they could produce not only enough to eat for themselves, but have something left to sell to us or to some other areas of the world, a very strategic part of the world would begin to be stabilized and its government would be strengthened. I think they would need technical help from us in addition to machines. I think they would need help to get the machines that would make this production possible, before the promise to buy all their excess raw materials would serve as sufficient incentive. This point of providing an incentive for production, however, must be borne in mind.
This overall problem of eliminating want and bringing greater stability to peoples' lives is one that must be met in many ways and at many different points. It is part of the whole struggle that is going on today between the free countries and the totalitarian ones. If through the Point Four program we can help to wipe out hunger and misery, we have gained a tremendous advantage and all the talk of the Communists will mean very little compared to the actual improvement in conditions in any country which is really on its way to improved standards of living.