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The Mutual Security Act of 1953: H.R. 5710



In the first 4 months of 1953, a Republican President with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives confronted the difficult task of developing new concepts for American foreign policy and reorganizing the agencies to implement it. The Korean conflict had reached a stalemate. The Soviet Union was beginning to display a seemingly conciliatory attitude. There was a growing sense of security in Western Europe, but there was also frustration over the failure to develop more unity among European nations. Furthermore, there was a feeling that money had been spent too freely in pursuit of "mutual" security. Nonetheless, the basic foreign policy embodied in the Mutual Security Acts of 1951 and 1952, passed during the Truman administration, was endorsed by President Eisenhower in recommending to the Congress that the Mutual Security program be extended through fiscal year 1954. In his message of transmittal, the President defended the program by saying, "Unequivocally I can state that this amount of money judiciously spent abroad will add much to our Nation's ultimate security in the world than would an even greater amount spent merely to increase the size of our own military forces in being.'

The legislation recommended by the administration was introduced in the House, H.R. 5710, by Robert B. Chiperfield, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and was considered by the committee and various subcommittees in the period March 11-June 15, 1953. Before holding

1 Message from the President of the United States transmitting recommendations for legislation to extend the Mutual Security Program, May 5, 1953 (H. Doc. 140, 83d Cong., 1st sess., p. 3); appendix I to the sessions on the Mutual Security Act of 1953 in this volume.

hearings specifically for the purpose of considering H.R. 5710, the committee heard a number of briefings by officials of the Departments of State and Defense in order to keep abreast of military and political developments in various parts of the world. Although not included in this volume as part of the formal consideration of this bill, the committee was also provided information important to its evaluation of H.R. 5710 during a briefing by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles on April 17 on a meeting of the NATO Council and the latest developments in Korea, discussion on April 22 of the report of the committee's European study mission, a State Department briefing on the situation in the Soviet Union (April 24), a briefing by the Secretary of State after his return from a NATO Council meeting (April 28), and two sessions dealing with United States relations with Spain (May 7 and June 4).

On March 19, the first day of hearings on the Mutual Security Act of 1953 presented in this series, members of the Subcommittee on National Security questioned Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank C. Nash on NATO's force buildup and its projected requirements, and sought to elicit from Mr. Nash an assessment of the quality of the NATO forces, a description of the process by which NATO force goals were developed, and an estimate of the degree to which member nations were sharing their part of the burden.

The May 18 session with Gen. Matthew R. Ridgway and another officer, Brig. Gen. John J. O'Hara, centered on European defense plans and capabilities. The generals were asked specifically to evaluate the existing military threat to Europe, the quality of NATO forces, and the effectiveness of the existing NATO infrastructure and organization. Committee members also expressed concern about the conflicting goals of honoring U.S. aid commitments and achieving European security while at the same time seeking to avoid having Europe become permanently dependent upon U.S. aid.

The transcripts of these sessions are to be found in vol. XV of this historical series, except for that of the Apr. 24 Department of State presentation, which is to be found in vol. XIV.

Growing concern for peace among and development of countries in Asia and the Middle East was reflected in the June 2 session in which the Director for Mutual Security, Harold E. Stassen, and Secretary of State Dulles were questioned in detail about U.S. relations with India, the IndianPakistani dispute in Kashmir, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the status of various development projects in Asia and the Middle East, and aid for Palestinian refugees.

The sessions of June 9, 10, and 11 were devoted to the reading and amendment of the bill. Many of the amendments offered reflected the shift of attention from Europe to the East, including a proposal to increase aid to Middle Eastern countries to permit the administration more latitude in negotiations with those nations.

On June 15, Ambassador John C. Hughes, who then was about to assume his duties as U.S. Permanent Representative to the NATO Council, provided the committee with a brief analysis of a report on the coordination of the covert and overt political warfare activities of various U.S. agencies, and he shared his thoughts on the responsibilities of his new position. Following Hughes' testimony, the committee further discussed the bill and then voted to approve it as amended.3

While not markedly deviating from the basic framework and approaches embodied in the Mutual Security Acts of 1951 and 1952, the Mutual Security Act of 1953 authorized proportionately smaller aid allocations for Europe and proportionately larger allocations for the Far East, Middle East, and Pacific areas, and incorporated measures to reduce the overall cost of foreign assistance programs.

The legislative history of H.R. 5710 is contained in footnote 1 of appendix II to these transcripts.

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