Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Harry S. Truman
1945-1953


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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  47. Special Message to the Congress Transmitting a Statement on Foreign Loan Policy  
March 1, 1946

To the Congress of the United States:

On July 31, 1945, the Bretton Woods Agreements Act became law. In that legislation the Congress established the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and financial Problems "in order to coordinate the policies and operations of the representatives of the United States on the fund and the Bank and of all agencies of the Government which make or participate in making foreign loans or which engage in foreign financial, exchange or monetary transactions." The Congress provided that the membership of the Council should consist of the Secretary of the Treasury, as Chairman, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of Washington.

On August 9, 1945, the Secretary of the Treasury submitted for my approval a proposal as to the manner in which the National Advisory Council should proceed in performing the task assigned it. The essence of this proposal is contained in the following excerpt from the communication which the Secretary of the Treasury sent to me:

"As you can see from the attached memorandum, the United States Government is now extending financial assistance to foreign governments through a large number of Programs, administered by different departments and agencies, and with different procedures for inter-agency consultation. In order for the Council to carry out the functions assigned to it, it seems to me necessary that the Council should have a picture of the over-all program of financial transactions which it is proposed to carry out in the next period. On such a basis, we can make decisions in a rational way, strike the best bargains with foreign countries, and save money for the taxpayer."

On August 10, 1945, I expressed my complete approval of the proposal and requested the Council to proceed along the lines indicated. Promptly thereafter the Council completed its organization and commenced to function without delay. Since that time the Council has labored unremittingly in the performance of its duties.

I have now received from the National Advisory Council a document containing significant conclusions concerning the entire problem of foreign lending. The Council in submitting the document to me stated:

"At an early date the Council undertook to consider proposals and applications for foreign loans, and to study the problems and broad implications of foreign lending. The statement which is now submitted to you is an outgrowth of these activities of the Council and represents our present views. The Council will continue to study these matters and will report further to you as the rapidly changing conditions at home and abroad may require."

This document, which is based upon the careful study and direct experience of the body established by the Congress to coordinate the foreign financial activities of this Government, I now transmit to the Congress for its information and consideration. The document is attached hereto.

I fully endorse the recommendations of the National Advisory Council. Furthermore, I wish to emphasize that in my judgment the successful execution of this policy, including the implementation of the financial Agreement with the United Kingdom, which I transmitted to the Congress on January 30, 1946, is of basic importance in the attainment of the objectives of the economic foreign policy of the United States. The international economic cooperation which is the keynote of our economic foreign policy must accompany international political cooperation, and we must achieve both if world peace is to be enduring.

The statement of the National Advisory Council concerning foreign loans reaches the conclusion that the Export-Import Bank will require during the next fiscal year additional lending authority of $1 1/4 billion. I endorse this conclusion and at a later date I will discuss further with the Congress the need of appropriate legislation.
HARRY S. TRUMAN

NOTE: The National Advisory Council document, dated February 21 and released with the President's message, is published in House Document 489 (79th Cong., 2d sess.).
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.