Special Message to the Congress on the Mutual Security Programs, May 21, 1957, Public Papers of the Presidents-Eisenhower, 1957, p. 373.


* * *

"First is defense assistance--our and other free nation's common effort to counter the Soviet-Chinese military power and the drive to dominate the world. That power continues to grow--in armaments, in nuclear capability, in its economic base. The Communist goal of conquering the world has never changed.

"For our nation alone to undertake to withstand and turn back Communist imperialism would impose colossal defense spending on our people. It would ultimately cost us our freedom.

"For other free nations to attempt individually to counter this menace would be impossible.

"We in our own interest, and other free nations in their own interest, have therefore joined in the building and maintenance of a system of collective security in which the effort of each nation strengthens all. Today that system has become the keystone of our own and their security in a tense and uncertain world."

* * *

"The second major element of our mutual security programs is economic development assistance and technical cooperation.

"This part of the programs helps less developed countries make the social and political progress needed to preserve their independence. Unless these peoples can hope for reasonable economic advance, the danger will be acute that their governments will be subverted by Communism.

"To millions of people close to the Soviet and Chinese Communist borders political freedom is still new. To many it must still prove its worth. To survive it must show the way to another and equally essential freedom-freedom from the poverty and hopelessness in which these peoples have lived for centuries. With their new freedom their desire and their determination to develop their economies are intense. They are fixed upon raising their standards of living. Yet they lack sufficient resources. Their need for help is desperate-both for technical know-how and capital.

"Lacking outside help these new nations cannot advance economically as they must to maintain their independence. Their moderate leaders must be able to obtain sufficient help from the free world to offer convincing hope of progress. Otherwise their peoples will surely turn elsewhere. Extremist elements would then seize power, whip up national hatreds and incite civil dissension and strife. The danger would be grave that these free governments would disappear. Instability and threats to peace would result. In our closely-knit world, such events would deeply concern and potentially endanger our own people.

"The help toward economic development that we provide these countries is a means to forestall such crises. Our assistance is thus insurance against rising tensions and increased dangers of war, and against defense costs that would skyrocket here at home should tragedy befall these struggling peoples.

"These revolutionary developments in distant parts of the world are borne on the crest of the wave sent out a century and a half ago by the example of our own successful struggle for freedom. The determination of the people of these nations to better their lot and to preserve their newly gained liberty awakens memories of our own noblest traditions. Our helping hand in their struggle is dictated by more than our own self-interest. It is also a mirror of the character and highest ideals of the people who have built and preserved this nation."

* * *

"In the many unstable regions of the world, Communist power is today probing constantly. Every weakness of free nations is being exploited in every possible way. It is inevitable that we shall have to deal with such critical situations in the future. In America's own interest, we must stand ready to furnish special assistance when threatened disaster abroad foretells danger to our own vital concerns."

* * *


Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Vol. 1 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), p. 613-14


Return to Vinnie's Home Page

Return to Vietnam War Page