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MINNEAPOLIS STAR EDITORIAL CONCERNING RELATIONSHIP OF PEACE CORPS
POLICY TO VIEWS OF ARAB STATES
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Reporter, in order that the record may be complete, I would like you to insert the entire editorial from the Minneapolis Star.
I wish to call attention to the fact that the Minneapolis Star, as I said, is one of the leading papers, and would represent, I think, a responsible attitude among men of the stature of Mr. Elston. In the last paragraph of his letter to me, he said:
It would be disappointing if the Peace Corps were used to enforce our views on such controversial issues on states which are not yet ready and willing to accept such views of their own accord.
(The editorial referred to follows:)
[From the Minneapolis Star, June 19, 1961)
A PEACE CORPS PROBLEM
The Peace Corps, we are told, will not permit any discrimination against any of its members, or where they serve, on the basis of their race, color or religion.
Admirable as this policy is as an objective, it may serve to deny the benefits of Peace Corps projects to some of the Arab countries of the Middle East.
Arab governments, which regard all Jews as Zionists, supporters of Israel, and therefore their enemies, in a number of cases have refused to permit U.S. State and Defense Department personnel to serve at American installations within those countries, and thus could be expected to avoid the Peace Corps so long as such a policy prevails.
As a national aim, the Peace Corps policy is commendable. As a practical matter, we wonder whether the Peace Corps is the proper means for the United States to use in attacking such discrimination. For it is highly unlikely that the policy will change the Arabs' view and thus it simply will prevent the corps from performing badly needed tasks in some of the undeveloped lands of the Middle East.
In a recent speech, R. Sargent Shriver, Jr., the Peace Corps Director, said that 24 of the first 4.800 Peace Corps applicants could speak Arabic. It would be disappointing if these applicants could not be assigned to a country in which they could use their language ability.
It is true, of course, that the problem would be solved if the Arabs ended their discrimination against the Israelis and Jews elsewhere throughout the world. But since that is an unlikely prospect, does the U.S. Government serve the humanitarian purposes of the Peace Corps by insisting that the Arab countries adopt its point of view on this issue?
The CHAIRMAN. I think you should consider that very seriously. We have had somewhat similar controversies in the Senate in connection with other legislation. While I think the statement of policy that you read is a correct statement, there is a great deal of difference of opinion as to whether or not we use aid legislation or, in this case, the Peace Corps legislation, to achieve other motives or purposes, that is, purposes other than aid.
It is not entirely the same thing to state our own views as to what constitutes a proper course of action, and then use any form of assistance as an inducement for other people to change their views.
I think the Senator from Iowa was expressing very much the same point as the editor of the Minneapolis Star.
Does the Senator from Minnesota wish to question the witness?
SHOULD RECIPIENT COUNTRIES IMPOSE RELIGIOUS OR RACIAL QUALIFICA
TIONS FOR VOLUNTEERS ?
Senator HUMPHREY. Let me just comment a bit on the Minneapolis Star. I have read it for a number of years. It is a very good newspaper, but I do not happen to agree with the position taken by my longtime friend, Mr. Elston.
I do not believe that you, sir, ought to impose religious qualifications for the recruitment of your personnel, and I do not believe you ought to have other countries impose upon us, in case of a cooperative relaţionship about to be entered into, religious qualifications as the basis of our assistance. This is just one Senator's point of view, and I hold it rather strongly.
I am a cooperative man, but not when it comes to sacrifiéing what I consider to be a very important point of view. I protested, for example, when the Union of South Africa would not permit Americans of the Negro race who were on an aircraft carrier, supposedly on a good will tour, to come ashore.
I will continue to protest that kind of action. I do not think you are sending Jews, or Catholics, or Protestants, or agnostics, or whatever overseas. I understand that you are sending American citizens; isn't that the idea, Mr. Shriver?
Mr. SHRIVER. That is correct, Senator, and we ask no questions about their race or creed.
All we are asking for is their ability to do a successful job overseas. If they can do that job on the basis of the selection process and training, we are ready to send them.
Senator HUMPHREY. That is right.
Well, I think that, if you adhere to that proposition in the main, you will steer a rather steady course.
CERTAIN ACTIVITIES OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS NOT RELATED TO
PROSELYTIZING : EXAMPLE OF SURPLUS FOOD DISTRIBUTION
I am very interested in this article that the chairman read from the New York Times, and I believe it does need the kind of clarification that the chairman was invoking from you.
I think a few more examples will be helpful, because this is a subject of considerable concern.
First, Mr. Shriver, are you familiar with the action of the Congress in reference to the availability of surplus foodstocks for private and voluntary organizations?
Mr. SHRIVER. In general, I am; yes, sir. I have seen religious organizations, for example, distributing surplus food on behalf of our Government to people in many foreign countries, and doing an excellent job at a great saving, I am told, to the taxpayers.
Senator HUMPHREY. And the amount of their distribution will be approximately five to six times as much in dollar value in the past year as the full authorization provided for under S. 2000; they distribute around $200 million worth of the food.
Have you heard any claims of proselytizing from the Catholic Church, or the Lutheran Church, or the Jewish Committee, or whatever group it was whose people were handing out powdered milk?
Mr. SHRIVER. Quite to the contrary. You hear, for the most part, praise for these operations, not only for the efficiency of them, but for the fact they save the taxpayers of the United States a great deal of money by using volunteers for the food distribution.
Senator HUMPHREY. Theoretically would it not be possible to proselytize with a basket of food for a hungry person more effectively than just with a brain full of ideas?
Mr. SHRIVER. I think it would. Many of the countries of the world are so hungry that food would be a very effective form of assistance.
Senator HUMPHREY. But, in the main, this program has worked very well, has it not?
Mr. SHRIVER. So far as I know it has; yes, sir.
Senator HUMPHREY. Are you aware of any sharp criticism of the program?
Mr. SHRIVER. I have never heard any.
Senator HUMPHREY. I was interested in this article because some of the organizations that are referred to in the article have been recipients under the food program, and not only have they been recipients, may I say most respectfully, but they have been asking for more, and I am all for them.
VALUE OF VOLUNTARY AGENCY PARTICIPATION IN PEACE CORPS ACTIVITIES
My only point is that I do think that you have to be careful to establish standards to assure that there is no proselytizing, that there is no actual religious organizational activity. But it would be a stark tragedy for this program if it denied participation to these well-established, going organizations of a voluntary nature. Many of them in
a America are of religious orientation, and I will tell you why: because in both the Old and New Testaments it says, “Feed the hungry and heal the sick and clothe the naked.” If churches are organized to do that, and a government comes along to help in that effort, why, this may be religious, but it is not denominational, and many of the great voluntary organizations of this country, Mr. Shriver, do have a religious orientation, such as the IVS.
I am very familiar with the IVS in the State of Minnesota. We have many recruits for the IVS in Minnesota, including some rather well-known ones.
Do you recall what religious organizations are a part of the IVS, Mr. Shriver?
Mr. SHRIVER. I think the board of directors has about 15 to 20 people representing practically every religious denomination in our country. Now, I cannot remember it exactly.
Senator HUMPHREY. That is right.
Mr. SHRIVER. But I certainly would be confident in saying that almost all of the major religious denominations in this country are represented on the board of directors of the IVS and, of course, I repeat, the IVS has been receiving assistance from the U.S. Government for a number of years, at least five or maybe more.
Senator HUMPHREY. Is it not true that the religious groups that are affiliated on the board also endeavor to gain recruits for tħe pro
Mr. SHRIVER. No question about it; that is a fact.
Senator HUMPHREY. But not recruits in the sense of missionaries preaching a particular faith.
Mr. SHRIVER. That is correct.
Senator HUMPHREY. But recruits in terms of function and activities, such as agricultural workers, medical workers, teachers ?
Mr. SHRIVER. That is right.
Senator HUMPHREY. It is an outstanding organization. One of the things that I had hoped was that the Peace Corps would not become a total Government operation. I think you will destroy its effectiveness if it becomes the cold hand of Government. It needs the warm heart and the understanding minds of these voluntary agencies, such as the one you mentioned, CARE, which is one that is so frequently referred to, and also many other agencies that are smaller in size but are very, very effective.
CONSULTATIONS WITH OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ON PROPOSED
I hope, as the chairman requested, that you will present us later with specifics as to agreements; will you do that?
Mr. SHRIVER. Yes, sir. Whenever we actually come to the point of concluding an agreement with any agency or with any foreign government, those agreements are submitted to the appropriate officials of the State Department and the International Cooperation Administration, they are submitted to various Assistant Secretaries of State who have an interest in what we are doing, and the Assistant Secretary of State for Cultural and Educational Affairs. They go to USIA. We are not making these decisions in a vacuum on the basis of only our own judgment. Our judgment is being exercised, we hope, with the best possible discretion, especially on these difficult points, and it is being checked by appropriate officials of the State Department and by others.
INFORMING THE CONGRESS OF CONTEMPLATED AGREEMENTS AND ACTIVITIES
Senator HUMPHREY. May I make this suggestion, which I will put to you in the form of a question.
In the early days of this program as you feel your way and you are doing that very carefully and, may I say, prudently and wiselywould you be willing to share some of these agreements with appropriate representatives of, say, the Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs Committees and the Appropriations Committees of the Congress so that there may be a closer meeting of minds?
Mr. SHRIVER. There is no question, we would be delighted to. We have been sending over quite a bit of material.
Senator HUMPHREY. I shall say you have.
Mr. SHRIVER. Our only question was that there might be too much. But if members of the committee or of the Congress would be interested in seeing the agreements we have made, they are all
available to any member of the committee or any committees of the Congress.
Senator HUMPHREY. I think, Mr. Shriver, that in a new program this allays suspicion and doubt, and I find the candor with which you testify and the frankness with which you explore these matters very refreshing. I believe a continuation of that spirit will stand you and
your agency very well with the Congress. I think the Congress is rather fairminded about these matters if it feels that it is being brought in and that the spirit of cooperation is there. This is just a suggestion.
Mr. SHRIVER. May I add a point there, Senator?
Mr. SHRIVER. We did send to all Members of the Congress a bulletin outlining the basic premises on which we would conduct our business and make grants to private voluntary agencies, including the religious ones.
Senator HUMPHREY. Yes, sir.
Mr. SHRIVER. That bulletin was issued about a month and a half, maybe 2 months ago, and all the private voluntary agencies in the country, and most of the religious groups, all received a number of copies of that. Copies of it were sent all around the world, as a matter of fact, and, of course, all Members of Congress got one. Perhaps, a reference to that might at least allay some of the misgivings, because this document does present the basic premises on which we are operating
RELATIONSHIP OF SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE PRINCIPLE TO PEACE
Senator HUMPHREY. Mr. Shriver, in South Korea one of the main religious organizations at work is the Lutheran Church. It has a very large agricultural extension program, a food program, a medical program. In connection with your reference to the mobile health units, several of our religious denominations in America have these units.
I know you do not care to answer hypothetical questions—and, in the main, may I say I think that is a very wise policy, because they are generally hypothetically inaccurate, too—but I will take the instance of South Korea where the Lutheran Church Service, I believe it is called, is at work.
If a project for medical technicians were requested for a mobile health unit, and you had assurances from our Government representatives in that country that this activity was strictly functional, and the members did not engage in handing out pamphlets, or giving short speeches on behalf of a particular denomination, would you consider that type of project to meet the standards of your organization ?
Mr. SHRIVER. Well, it would certainly meet most of them. We would want to give our most serious consideration to such a project. But again, as I was saying earlier to Senator Hickenlooper, I think that in each case we have to explore in detail the specifics of the project so that we are sure we do not do anything which would evade the constitutional provisions on the separation of church and state.
But with the help of our representatives overseas, both the Peace Corps representatives who will be overseas and our embassy people, I think we should be able to come up with rational decisions, defensible positions, on each of these cases as they arise.
Senator HUMPHREY. Yes, sir.
Well, I appreciate that you do not want to handle hypothetical situations here, and I surely respect your judgment and hope you will adhere to the method you outlined. May I just say that I am a be