« PreviousContinue »
Mr. SHRIVER. No, sir. There is nothing in our present bill that would prevent us from establishing a mission there.
As a matter of fact, there is a provision in the bill exempting us from the requirements of the Battle Act.
Senator CHURCH. There is a particular provision?
section 18, entitled “Applicability of Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act," section 18 reads as follows:
The Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act of 1951 (22 U.S.C. 1611 et seq.) shall not apply with respect to functions carried out under this act.
This is incorporated there for the specific purpose that you have brought up, namely, to give the Peace Corps, under the direction of the President and Secretary of State, flexibility to send Peace Corps volunteers to countries in which we might not otherwise be able to conduct certain programs because of the provisions of the Battle Act. Some people have already indicated that in some cases it might be most helpful to the overall world situation if Peace Corps personnel could serve in some of the countries such as the ones you mentioned.
But again we do not initiate, make offers, overtures, on our own to such a country or any other country. We wait for them to come to us.
Senator CHURCH. Now, if this exemption were enacted as a part of this legislation, it would, in effect, lift any restrictions upon the program so that if such a decision were to be made, a Peace Corps program could even be established in the Soviet Union or in Red China?
Mr. SHRIVER. Well, again with Red China we do not have diplomatic relations. But with the
Senator CHURCH. I mean so far as the law is concerned.
Senator CHURCH. I just want to understand the effect of this exemption provision.
Mr. SHRIVER. Yes, that is correct. Certainly with respect to Soviet Russia, it is again within the discretion of the President and Secretary of State.
DISCUSSION OF POSSIBLE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PROJECT IN GUINEA
Senator CHURCH. Yes.
You have just returned now from a very interesting trip to Guinea. Is it your present intention to establish a Peace Corps program in Guinea ?
Mr. SHRIVER. No, sir. We have not an intention one way or the other. We have to, as I have just said in other cases, await a specific request from that government for our services. I would assume that any request they made for Peace Corps services might be connected with requests they might have in other areas for help from this country, and that the negotiations might involve a number of things besides the Peace Corps.
I would assume that the Ambassador operating under orders from the Secretary of State would certainly in this case be the focal point for the negotiation of such an agreement.
But if the Peace Corps were asked for and it was approved by our Department of State, obviously we would try our best to fulfill any requests that are made to us.
Senator CHURCH. Has such a request been made as yet by Guinea ?
Mr. SHRIVER. Well, Senator, I think that the matters that are under—that you are asking about now are actually restricted information which I would be delighted to discuss with you or the members of the committee in executive session.
Senator CHURCH. No public announcement has been made in connection with any of this?
Mr. SHRIVER. No. I have seen newspaper stories as long ago as 10 days or 2 weeks ago here in the Washington papers indicating that some contacts have been made, and even some suggested parts of an agreement have been publicized, but there has been nothing confirmed that I have read.
PROJECT EVALUATION-COORDINATION ARRANGEMENTS WITH A.I.D. AND
Senator CHURCH. One thing that disturbs me is in the method contemplated for administering a program such as this, Mr. Shriver. It would seem to me, in connection with the foreign aid program generally, that one of the weaknesses has been that our program in any given country oftentimes is the result of the zeal of our Ambassador and his country team in that country, the particular attitude of the government in that country, and transient circumstances that change from year to year. When you look at the foreign aid program spread out across Africa, for example, it sometimes is very difficult to understand why so much money is spent in some places and so little is spent in others, and to reconcile the overall apportionment of the program with what would seem to be our best national interests.
I have felt that this is the result of permitting these programs to originate in these host countries without the necessary overall direction and control that the best interests of the country would seem to require at the top levels.
Now, I can see us getting into the same difficulty in the approach that the Peace Corps takes.
First of all, the program begins with the request of the country involved, and then it is presented, so to speak, through the Ambassador in that particular country, and I am wondering what steps you are taking here in Washington to make certain that, within the resources given you by the Congress, you are allocating the program in such a way as will best advance the national interests. What kind of overall direction are you going to assert here in Washington with this particular problem in mind ?
Mr. SHRIVER. Well, Senator, as I indicated a few minutes ago, whenever a request is received from a country it is evaluated in our office before we go ahead with it at all, just for its feasibility, practicality, whether we can come up with the kind of people that are requested, and so on.
When we get a project to the point where we think, from a Peace Corps point of view, it presents the possibility of being a good program, we write it up in a rather extensive document. That document is then circulated to the appropriate officials whom I mentioned a
minute ago, the Secretary of State, the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, the administrative officer of the A.I.D. program; the Assistant Secretary for that particular region. We expect they will be helpful to us in determining whether or not in a particular case it would be important for us to go ahead with the project in that country or whether we should, perhaps, put that at a second level and help some other country or fulfill some other request first.
So the overall direction comes straight from the Secretary of State, and it involves the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and the Administrator of the Mutual Security Agency, and in each case it is cleared with the area Secretaries involved, for instance, the Assistant Secretary for Africa.
As a consequence of this kind of coordination, we believe that we will be able to go into those countries where the need is greatest and where our own national interests are well-served.
On page 10 of the material that we supplied to the members of the committee we have there some of the criteria, Senator, that we are using in the selection of countries, and even of the selection of projects within a country,
The question of a balanced program also enters into this, and certainly we would want to have a program balanced between continents as well as within a continent.
But I repeat that the overall coordination to make sure we do not fall into the mistakes you were describing a minute ago, comes from the top officials of the State Department.
PEACE CORPS NOT VIEWED PRIMARILY AS AN ECONOMIC AID PROGRAM
Senator CHURCH. What it comes down to is that whatever direction now applies to other aspects of the foreign aid program at the top levels will apply to the Peace Corps in its work?
Mr. SHRIVER. To a great extent, but not completely. For example, it is possible, Senator, that it might be helpful and advisable for the Peace Corps to go into a country where there is no foreign aid program.
As a matter of fact, one such country is under consideration now, and I believe that the State Department has indicated that they think it would be good for the Peace Corps to go into that country.
The Peace Corps is not primarily or certainly not solely an instrument of economic, of foreign economic, policy. In one country I had the temerity to suggest that it was possible that a number of Peace Corps people could serve in a particular country for a number of years and that the gross national product might go down. I do not think that we can equate Peace Corps operations with the economic requirements of a country. The Peace Corps is more of a cultural, an educational, and social operation than it is an economic one. So that it is possible that in some countries of advanced economic development, the Peace Corps could be very helpful.
There was some newspaper publicity within the last month relating to Japan, and it was indicated in Japanese newspapers and in ours here that Japan might request Peace Corps personnel.
Well, by no stretch of the imagination would I suppose could we say that Japan is an industrially underdeveloped country, yet it might be advisable for a variety of reasons for the Peace Corps to accept a request from the Japanese Government, if one were extended to us.
That would be a decision again made not only by us but by other officials of the State Department.
My point is simply this, that ours is not solely or primarily an economic aid program.
BENEFITS PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS WILL BRING BACK TO THE UNITED
I think we have figures that would show that about 80, maybe even 90 percent of all the money which Congress would appropriate to the Peace Corps would be spent on citizens of our country rather than on economic projects, shall we say, in a foreign country. Most of the money that we are asking for will go into the transportation, the food, the clothing, the subsistence, the training, the education, transportation, and so on, of American citizens.
We believe that this money will be very well spent because after it is expended we think that we will bring back to this country American citizens who are much better acquainted with the world, much better trained in skills, people who might go into the Government servicewe hope some of them will—and will render great service to our country in the future-people who will go into private industry and will do better as a result of their experience abroad than they would if they had not had that experience; people who will go into education—they will perhaps get their first genuine experience with teaching while they are abroad with the Peace Corps and decide to elect an academic career.
This would perhaps bring a lot of people into the academic life, which would be beneficial to the educational institutions of our country,
So I think our Peace Corps should not be considered primarily an economic program. To some extent we hope we can contribute to the economic well-being of a country, but that is certainly not the only standard or objective of a program.
Senator CHURCH. The real purpose of the program, I take it, is to contribute young American-trained personnel for the contribution they can make in the countries to which they are sent?
Nr. SHRIVER. That is correct, except
Senator CHURCH. I think this is the real value of the proposal, because it seems to me that through our own personnel, if they are well trained and well selected, we can have an even more constructive impact abroad than our money has had in many instances; and the lasting effect of that influence is certainly something which compares favorably with any other kind of aid that we can give.
Mr. SHRIVER. I might point out in that connection Carlos Romulo's book, "I Walked With Heroes,” in which he was talking about his experiences in the Philippine Islands, being taught in Philippine schools by American teachers. He attributes a great deal of his development as a statesman and a great deal of his interest in our country and democratic institutions to the Americans who stayed in the Philippine Islands and taught in the schools of the Philippines 30 or 40 or even 50 years ago.
It was a great movement at that time there, known as the Thomasites, and there were at one time as many as 5,000 schoolteachers in the Philippine Islands from our country. They made a tremendous contribution to the development of education in that country, and also in training the future leaders in that country, and Ambassador Romulo attests to the great importance of this work in the book that I just mentioned.
I think this corroborates what you were saying a moment ago, that the impact of personal service, such as the type we hope to render, can be of great and lasting importance.
Senator CHURCH. Yes. I think if this program is administered well, and I think that, in its beginnings, there is every evidence that it will be, that the friendships that are estbalished, the close personal relationships that will develop between these young Americans doing productive work abroad and the people in the countries concerned, can be of immense value to us and to the democratic principles for which we stand, because that would be a part, I think, of the influence of young Americans abroad.
I think it is for this reason that the Peace Corps represents the finest innovation that the new administration has posed to the general foreign aid program.
I am very sympathetic with it, and I certainly do wish you well. Mr. SHRIVER. Thank you.
DESIRED STANDARDS OF LIVING FOR VOLUNTEERS
Senator CHURCH. This does bring up some very serious administrative questions, does it not!
How, for example, are you to be sure that Peace Corps personnel abroad actually get out into the field to do the kind of work and make the kind of contacts you intend ?
You are aware, from your own travels, I am sure, Mr. Shriver, that there are places in the world where large numbers of Americans are gathered together at military bases and other places, where they live as Americans under conditions not unlike those which prevail in the State of Iowa, Kansas or Idaho, and where this rather ostentatious display of wealth causes a great deal of ill feeling toward them and toward us. This, I take it, is the kind of thing you are hoping to avoid in the actual workings of the Peace Corps program.
How can you be sure you can avoid it? What kind of supervision and attention are you going to give to this particular problem?
Mr. SHRIVER. Well, we're giving a great deal of attention to it, because like you, Senator, we think it is very important.
In the first place, that is one of the reasons why we are paying the Peace Corps volunteers a minimal sum of money, and even that sum of money will be kept in this country rather than given to them for use abroad.
This is an effort on our part to make sure that they do not have a lot of "loose change,” as the slang expression goes, with which to live in an ostentatious manner abroad.
We are also going to make sure that during the training period that the Peace Corps volunteers are aware of the problem that you have just expressed, and also that in that training period they will