Sunday, January 07, 2007

ECONOMIC WELL-BEING

part 11 of the pamphlet, "OUR FOREIGN POLICY 1952":

ECONOMIC WELL-BEING



THE foreign economic policies of the United States are based on our own national experience.

In the development of our economic system we have learned certain facts. We have learned the importance of efficiency of production. We have benefited by the free exchange of goods and currency. We have seen the results of cooperative handling of common problems.

Our foreign economic policies attempt to translate what we have learned into international terms. They emphasize increased production in both agriculture and industry. They call for expanded world trade and the development of mass markets.

Our goal is world-wide sufficiency, stability, and security.

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For these purposes we have negotiated treaties and agreements dealing with problems of economic develop-ment, trade, civil aviation, and a host of similar ques-tions. We have worked with other nations on the convertibility of currencies and the stimulation of invest-ments. We have constantly emphasized those inter-national arrangements most likely to contribute to peace.

When the fighting stopped in 1945, millions of fam-ilies were homeless and hungry. Factories and farms had been destroyed and railroads and homes torn up. Nations had no money to pay for imported food, ferti-lizers, tools, and raw materials to start earning a living once more. They had to have outside help in order to survive in freedom.

UNRRA, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, did a major job in feeding the hungry, settling the homeless, and providing tools for recovery.



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The United States made substantial contributions to UNRRA, in addition to sending food and making loans where the needs were most urgent.

By 1947, however, it became cleat that such programs were not enough. On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State Marshall invited the European nations to unite in draw-ing up a joint plan for full recovery and pledged American aid when such a plan should be developed. The majority of the European nations responded. The Soviet Union refused to cooperate or to let its satellites join.

The Marshall Plan worked. By 1951 Western Europe was well on the road to economic recovery. The program had cost the United States something over 11 billion dollars, largely spent in equipment and materials for which the Europeans did not have the dollars to pay.

Paul Hoffman, former head of the Economic Coop-eration Administration, maintains that the European recovery did not cost the American taxpayer a nickel. He based this statement on the conviction that, but for the economic and political revival of free Europe, the United States would have had to spend many billions more on armament. In short, American aid saved Europe not only from economic collapse but also from communist domination.

In line with our conviction that efficiency pays, Americans shared with European farmers, labor leaders, and industrialists American experience in ways to in-crease production. But increasing production was not

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enough. The world movement of goods between countries had to be increased.

Before World War II the United States, under the Trade Agreement Act of 1934, had been negotiating with various countries for the reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers. After the war this program was stepped up. In 1947 the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was negotiated. It was later ratified by 34 countries, representing four-fifths of the world's trade. Three major rounds of tariff reduction have been successfully concluded under this agreement.

The agreement provided, for the first time in history, a forum where the nations could discuss trade problems on a democratic basis, settle complaints, and work to-gether toward the increase of trade. Tariff reductions tend to stimulate world trade. They promote economic stability.

Under the United Nations a variety of institutions have been established to tackle international economic questions. Several old, long-established agencies such as the Universal Postal Union and the International Labor Organization are now working under the United Nations. Others, like the Food and Agriculture Organ-ization, the International Monetary Fund, and the International bank for Reconstruction and Development, were established during World War II. Valuable work has been carried on by the regional economic commis-sions for Asia and the Far East, Latin America, and Europe in developing an understanding of economic problems and a joint approach to them.

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Emergency agencies have been created to deal with such problems as the Palestine refugees, the reconstruction of Korea, and the welfare of millions of children through the U. N. International Children's Emergency Fund. The United States cooperates fully in all U.N. efforts to promote economic progress and stability.

Lack of economic stability is one of the free world's most pressing problems. Rearming the free world and supplying the forces in Korea have produced serious shortages and sharp increases in raw-materials prices. Along with the other countries, we have been concerned with controlling inflation in prices of raw materials and finished goods and the serious economic dislocations that would result.

To meet this problem the United States, in coopera-tion with other producing and consuming nations, has set up the International Materials Conference to study problems of supply and demand in key commodities. Allocations have been worked out for a number of ma-terials. Nations are working together to increase pro-duction of scarce materials and prevent waste and misuse.

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The underdeveloped areas of the world are being helped to develop their vast resources through the Point Four technical assistance and economic development programs carried on both by the United States directly and through the United Nations. We are constantly urging greater production, stability, and progress for the great mass of the world's rural population.

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