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Lyndon Johnson Administration: Statement on Foreign Assistance Act of 1968

(October 9, 1968)

"Foreign aid--representing only a fraction of 1 percent of our gross national product-is the spearhead of that involvement. It is an involvement of which most Americans are proud. It has produced notable economic successes in West Europe, in Iran, in Israel, in Korea, and in Taiwan. It has built nearly 250,000 classrooms since 1962. Last year alone, it graduated more than 58,000 teachers in poor countries, put nearly 24 million children in school, and distributed 25 million textbooks for their use.

Our foreign aid program reflects the clear policy of both the President and the Congress-that aid be given only to countries who help themselves. We share this responsibility in partnership with other wealthy nations. We do not do as much as some and we do no more than the average. We cannot afford to do less.

Many developing countries have now taken hard self-help steps which promise dramatic changes, particularly in the crucial race between food supply and population growth. I urge the Congress not to reverse this momentum toward peaceful change and to weigh carefully the cost of rejecting our part of the self-help bargain.

Another provision of this legislation deserves mention. It imposes a quota on the amount of unprocessed timber that may be sold for export from the United States. This provision affects our trade with Japan. The United States Government assures the Government of Japan that we will give full consideration--bearing in mind United States domestic requirements--to Japan's desire to have the law administered in a manner least harmful to our trade relations.

I have taken note of section 651 concerning the sale of planes to Israel.

In the light of this expression of the sense of the Congress, I am asking the Secretary of State to initiate negotiations with the Government of Israel and to report back to me."

Note: SEC. 651. SALE OF SUPERSONIC PLANES TO ISRAEL.---It is the sense of the Congress that the President should take such steps as may be necessary, as soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this section, to negotiate an agreement with the Government of Israel providing for the sale by the United States of such number of supersonic planes as may be necessary to provide Israel with an adequate deterrent force capable of preventing future Arab aggression by offsetting sophisticated weapons received by the Arab States and to replace losses suffered by Israel in the 1967 conflict.

Sources: Public Papers of the President