Foreign Aid - John f. kennedy's special message to the congress on foreign aid



"Is a foreign aid program really necessary? Why should we not lay down this burden which our nation has now carried for some fifteen years? The answer is that there is no escaping our obligations: our moral obligations as a wise leader and good neighbor in the interdependent community of free nations—our economic obligations as the wealthiest people in a world of largely poor people … and our political obligations as the single largest counter to the adversaries of freedom.

"To fail to meet those obligations now would be disastrous…. For widespread poverty and chaos lead to a collapse of existing political and social structures which would inevitably invite the advance of totalitarianism into every weak and unstable area. Thus our own security would be endangered and our prosperity imperiled….

"The whole southern half of the world—Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia—are caught up in the adventures of asserting their independence and modernizing their old ways of life….

"[T]hese new nations need help for a special reason. Without exception they are under communist pressure…. But the fundamental task of our foreign aid program in the 1960s is not negatively to fight communism: Its fundamental task is to help make a historical demonstration that … economic growth and political democracy can develop hand in hand….

"The 1960s can be—and must be—the crucial 'Decade of Development'—the period when many less-developed nations make the transition into self-sustained growth—the period in which an enlarged community of free, stable, and self-reliant nations can reduce world tensions and insecurity….

"We must say to the less-developed nations, if they are willing to undertake necessary internal reform and self-help … that we then intend during this coming decade of development to achieve a decisive turnaround in the fate of the less-developed world, looking toward the ultimate day when … foreign aid will no longer be needed."

— From Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1 January to 31 December 1961 (Washington, D.C., 1964): 203–206 —



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