MAY 22, 1957
HOUSTON—It is obvious that the Democrats in Congress find it difficult to support the President's budget on foreign aid when his own party goes back on him.
But from my point of view, regardless of the party in power, foreign aid is of great importance to the country as a whole and we should not lose sight of its wider implications.
During this Administration military and economic aid have been tied together. Our government has come to think of the two as one, often treating military aid as the most important, for Congress seems to think of it as strengthening nations in their fight against Communism.
As a matter of fact, the value of military aid is doubtful when given to nations that have not yet attained a sufficiently good standard of living to make life worthwhile to citizens of their countries.
There are many countries in the world in which people only exist (it cannot be called living). Their greatest preoccupation is their struggle for their next piece of bread. If we give their governments military aid, I do not think we have done a single thing to safeguard democracy in the world as a whole.
I would stress economic aid in which people are given hope for the future. And I also would emphasize the value of our generous and warm support of all of the economic aid that can be given through the United Nations and its specialized agencies.
One of the aid projects now threatened is the Technical Assistance Program to which governments contribute voluntarily.
So far we have not cut down on this program to which we give more than our 33 ⅓ percent contribution to many of the other programs.
Senator William F. Knowland of California has suggested that we make this cut immediately. But if we do this in one year instead of over a number of years, we will seriously cripple the work of this agency. I don't think the people of the country want us to do that.
The American people are gradually coming to realize that all of our foreign aid amounts to only $57 per person per year. That is little enough to spend in the hope of building an atmosphere in which peace can grow.
Our statesmen sometimes lose sight of the eventual objective by looking only at the immediate problem. It will cost us far less if we can avoid war, and a little more given to make life worth living for many people would wipe out the danger of war, paying us many times over in cash.
For war is the most costly thing that can befall us. It means complete destruction from which there is no return.