Monday, January 08, 2007


part 12 of the pamphlet, "OUR FOREIGN POLICY 1952":


PRESIDENT Truman, speaking of the Point Four Program in his State of the Union Message in January 1952, said :". . . there is nothing of greater importance in all our foreign policy. There is nothing that shows more clearly what we stand for, and what we want to achieve."

To share our knowledge and skill, and apply them cooperatively, is the purpose of the Point Four Pro-gram. It is a long-range program, for the ills of centuries die slowly. The program is, nevertheless, pro-ducing immediate and visible benefits and, in so doing, is making an important contribution to the security of the United States and the rest of the free world.

The United States is working in partnership with the governments of great areas of Asia, Africa,


and Latin America to help them carry out their own plans for economic development and social progress and become strong, prosperous members of the world community.

In the job we are doing, we –– and they –– are faced with these inescapable facts …

The vast majority of these people are not only desperately poor but are continually hungry and under-nourished. Eight out of ten of them live and work on the land but are unable to produce enough food even for their own daily needs.

Two out of three of these people –– men, women, and children –– are continually or frequently ill with preventable diseases that sap their strength and reduce their productive powers.

Eight out of ten of these people do not know how to read or write. They go through life without the basic tools of education.

The average individual income in these areas is not more than 80 dollars a year. It falls as low as 25 dollars in certain sections.

We know these evils can be corrected.

During the past 50 years, we Americans and other peoples of the North Atlantic community have gained knowledge and technical skills which can be used to cut down hunger, disease, and mass poverty.

In most of the areas where Point Four is at work the threat of communism is not primarily military. It is mainly in the human misery and unrest on which com-


unism feeds. The chief defense against communism and tyranny lies, therefore, in a powerful and con-certed attack on poverty, disease, and ignorance and their attendant miseries.

By joining in this attack, we are, in effect, repaying a small part of an old debt. Our own free and prosperous society was created and built out of people, ideas, capital, and materials borrowed from every nation and every culture in the world. We borrowed beef cattle from the United Kingdom and India, horses from Arabia, wheat from Turkey. We brought grasses from Africa, clovers from Iran and Korea. Many of the elements of our music, art, law, and science are borrowed. We devel-oped our nation with the help of capital and skills from Europe.

Americans, in turn, have gone out to work with other peoples, to learn from them and to share what we know with them. In his inaugural address of January 1949, President Truman proposed to make cooperative eco-nomic development a major national policy and a major enterprise of the American people and their Gov-ernment. Because this was the fourth point of the President's foreign-policy proposals in that address, it has become known as the "Point Four Program."

The President proposed more than an American pro-gram of cooperative economic development. He called for a "cooperative enterprise in which all nations work together." Point Four, launched by the Act for Inter-national Development in June 1950, is now part of a world-wide movement. The United Nations and the Organization of American States are expanding their technical assistance programs, and part of our Point Four funds go to the support of these international programs. The member nations of the British Common-wealth are carrying out the Colombo Plan, a far-reach-ing economic development program, in Ceylon, India, and Pakistan.

Point Four is at work in practically every field of eco-nomic development. American technicians are con-cerned with water, power, and mineral resources, trans-portation, public administration, housing, and social welfare. But the bulk of the work is concentrated in the fields of agriculture, health, and education. These are the keys to the first stages of productivity and prog-ress.

With the aid of modern farming methods introduced by their American partners, the people of rural areas are making spectacular gains in food production. Better seed, better tools, improved soil practices, more water


for irrigation have brought visible results on farms in India, Iran, and Liberia and in many parts of Latin America.

American health officers and nurses are teaching simple healthy practices and helping to stamp out preventable diseases. Spraying with DDT has meant no-table progress in the wiping out of malaria. The digging of wells for safe water has cut down such water-borne diseases as dysentery.

American education specialists are helping to expand rural and vocational school systems.

One of the fundamental features of the Point Four program is the expansion of capital investment in under-developed areas. Additional private and public capital is essential to increase the productivity of these areas and to raise living standards. The International Bank and the Export-Import bank have already made a num-ber of constructive loans which have aided capital expan-sion in these areas, and more such loans are in progress.

By late 1951, projects were in operation in 33 countries and 342 foreign nationals were receiving training in the United States under the Point Four training program. During the fiscal year 1952 the number of persons em-ployed on Point Four projects overseas is expected to increase from about 900 to about 2,800.

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