JULY 21, 1956
NEW YORK—It is a sad thing to find, in the Democratic and Republican fight being carried on at the moment on the development of the Columbia River, the Administration lined up on the side of giving the Idaho Power Co. the right to build three small dams on the Snake River.
This is, of course, in line with the Republican philosophy of giving into private hands the control of power development rather than keeping it in the hands of the government for the greater benefit of the people as a whole. The Democrats in Congress from this region all favor one big dam at Hell's Canyon, and I feel that they must have the interests of the people of the area in mind.
I think I remember that there was some objection on the part of the Indians to this particular site for such a dam, but I have never heard any valid argument against one big dam being built by the government as against three small dams by the private power companies.
Accusations are being made that a great deal of White House pressure was brought to bear on Republican Senators, both against the Democratic-supported Hell's Canyon dam and for the three Idaho Power Co. dams. It is strange that the White House can mobilize strength in favor of private business and yet not exercise as much pressure in favor of the school construction bill, which would have affected children all over the country.
The statement was made that Hell's Canyon is the last great waterpower site in the country and should be developed for maximum use. There is no doubt that we can ill afford to turn over more power to private companies. Along many lines, the government has favored private companies as against public development, and yet we need badly to keep great resources such as this in the hands of the government.
The President apparently has not put as much pressure on Republican Senators to help him pass his foreign aid bill as in the Hell's Canyon matter. He signed the bill authorizing four billion dollars in foreign aid, but the money still has to be appropriated and it is 900 million below what the President asked for.
The cuts, in some cases, have been unwise, touching as they do on vital programs like technical assistance through the United Nations. The Senate also cut the appropriation for the United Nations refugee program below the House appropriation.
A request was made for an 18-month appropriation to get it on a calendar-year basis, and so it was set at $2,300,000 for the 18 months. The House cut it to $2,000,000 and now the Senate has cut it to $1,800,000, which would be the same rate as in funds appropriated last year, and for the 12-month period it is only $1,200,000.
These cuts are small in the total amount of the appropriation, but they would hamper a great deal the work that is being carried on. So it would seem that it might be worth bringing more pressure on Republican Senators to support the President on things such as this. You never hear, however, of any very great activity to put through the President's proposals along these lines.