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The whole aid program, of course, is a primary instrument of our national security. But the Peace Corps gives tangible expression to the fact that most Americans also believe foreign aid is justified, at least in part, by our desire to share our resources as a good neighbor. The Peace Corps therefore can help overcome the false impression abroad that the United States is only interested in the less developed nations for what we can get out of them. And thus it can help reenforce the truth which is that we are for freedom and not simply against communism, We are concerned that freedom and not just stability shall win in Latin America, in Africa, and in Asia during this decade of development.
The Peace Corps has become the most popular and talked about part of the whole aid program. Few are opposed to the Peace Corps, but I find that many have nagging doubts as to its practicality. Can it actually recruit skilled volunteers who can withstand the rigors of life and work in the tropics for 2 years? Will the less-developed countries actually find the Peace Corps useful or will they regard it as a joyride for curious American youngsters? We won't know whether the Peace Corps is a success or a failure until it has been in operation for some time. But the evidence to date strongly indicates that it will be successful on all counts.
I can testify from my own recent visit to Africa as a member of a Senate study mission that the services of the Peace Corps are desperately needed in these newly emerging nations. Most of the African States have a small nucleus of colonial-trained native administrators and technicians. But there is little or nothing between this small elite and the great mass of the people who are intelligent, but illiterate and untrained. This is where the Peace Corps can be useful, in helping to develop a middle range of training and education to bridge the education and training gap between the leaders and the people. The making of a modern nation requires that the fruits of economic progress be disseminated widely among the populace and that education shall become the norm rather than the exception.
There is no lack of interest in the Peace Corps among the less-developed countries. Twenty-five of them have already asked for a total of 20,000 corpsnien. Agreements have been signed for five projects already and training has begun in two instances. Surveyors and engineers will go to Tanganyika ; farm extension workers to Colombia; schoolteachers to the Philippines; rural development trainees to Chile; and those trained in animal husbandry to St. Lucia in the West Indies.
The response of American young people to the Peace Corps has been overwhelming. Some 11,000 completed applications have been received in Washington. Almost 4,000 persons took the Peace Corps entrance examinations in May and 1,500 took a second battery of tests. Another examination will be given in July when additional recruits will be needed. At the present time new applications are reportedly coming in at the rate of 100 a day. This is a phenomenal outpouring of interest from what some cynical commentators refer to as the beat, sick, and silent generation.
The quality of applicants has been high and many have practical skills that are in great demand. Analysis of the first 4,800 completed applications showed that 1,000 could speak Spanish and an equal number French. Over 700 knew how to run a tractor ; 616 had professional skills as carpenters; 370 were experienced in the use of biological laboratory equipment; and 270 were professional nurses.
Newspaper accounts indicate that the first two groups of 108 Peace Corps recruits that will go to Colombia and Tanganyika are already undergoing rigorous training. Those going to Colombia this fall are studying Spanish for 16 hours a week with another 10 hours for Latin American and Colombian history. There will be 6 hours a week of U.S. history and social conditions and 9 hours of community development and related technical problems that will face the volunteers in Colombia. There is also a short course on how to load and unload a mule. Altogether 60 hours of the week are filled with required training. The daily schedule begins at 5:30 a.m. and ends at 9 in the evening, 6 days a week, for 2 months. Life in the Peace Corps will not be a joyride.
One reasonably might be skeptical of the ability of these young Americans to live and work along with the local people in the less-developed countries for 2 years, but experience indicates it can be done. Small groups of American young adults have been performing Peace Corps-type activities overseas for many years. Look at the Friends Service Coinmittee, the Experiment in International Living, and a host of denominational religious organizations. They have done it. The International Voluntary Services, in fact, has conducted projects on a contract basis for the International Cooperation Administration in Vietnam, the United Arab Republic, and other countries during the last few years. Their work has been successful in every instance both in terms of a job well done and also in terms of human relations with the people they were helping.
There has been particular interest in the Peace Corps in my State of Utah since the dominant church there-the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormon Church-has for more than a century been sending Mormon missionaries to almost every country on earth who successfully establish rapport with the people there.
The missionaries are usually young men and sometimes young women-in their early twenties. They live with the people of the country in which they are visiting for 242 years. In this period they become well acquainted with the customs and traditions of these people, and, of course, fluent in their language.
Most of them return to Utah enthusiastic about helping those whom they have served to a better life. We in Utah know therefore that it is possible to find young men and women who will dedicate themselves with devotion to an endeavor like the Peace Corps—we know that the Peace Corps can be made a success.
Apart from the very real contribution which the Peace Corps can make to the development of the less-developed countries, I am also impressed with the educational value this experience can be to the young Americans involved in it The Peace Corps offers an almost unparalleled opportunity for young Americans to gain a realistic appreciation for the quality of life and thought in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This is important because it increases the presently small supply of Americans who have some knowledge and understanding of the new and resurgent nations that are beginning to play such a significant role in world affairs.
The combination of these many factors has convinced me that the Peace Corps should be given permanent status by act of Congress, and as a cosponsor I therefore urge action on the present bill before this committee.
(Names of witnesses are listed alphabetically in contents)
36, 84, 99-100
21, 72, 101, 191
21, 100, 191
Colorado State University Research Foundation:
24, 50, 71-80, 84. 92
78, 84, 112
19, 21, 119, 135, 137