Today’s post and other posts in this series are written by Robert Fahs, a processing archivist who works with civilian textual records.
This blog entry begins an occasional series of descriptions intended to introduce names and keywords useful for searching ARC entries from Record Group 469: Records of U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies, 1942 – 1961. Established after World War II to implement foreign assistance programs around the world, the agencies represented in RG 469 administered an expansion of United States government support for global economic development promoted by President Harry S. Truman in his Inaugural Speech of January 20, 1949. Truman’s Inaugural presented a four-point “program for peace and freedom,” including continued participation in the United Nations (Point One), and the formation of a new collective security agreement (Point Three) that would become the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on April 4, 1949. Together with American leadership in these multilateral organizations, Truman endorsed two economic development initiatives to be directly administered and funded by the United States: the European Recovery Program (Point Two), or “Marshall Plan,” which was previously set in motion after a speech by Secretary of State George C. Marshall on June 5, 1947; and Point Four, which announced: “a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas.” (Audio and text available from Truman Library)
True to the broad scope of President Truman’s “program for peace and freedom,” the agencies appearing in RG 469 supported an array of productivity and technical-assistance programs in the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as in Europe. The agencies that administered these programs before 1961, when responsibility for foreign assistance passed to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) [see RG 286], include: the Economic Cooperation Administration, 1948-1951 (ECA); the Mutual Security Agency, 1951-1953 (MSA); the Foreign Operations Administration, 1953-1955 (FOA); and the International Cooperation Administration, 1955-1961 (ICA). RG 469 also contains the records of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs, 1942-1961 (IIAA), a precursor to the Marshall Plan and Point-Four initiatives, which was established in 1942 as a private corporation by the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs in the Department of State [see RG 229].
As a tool for searching the records in RG 469, subsequent blog entries will focus on keywords relating to foreign assistance programs and organizations, as well as the names of mid-level personnel who make prominent appearances in the agency records, and senior officials who joined these agencies with public careers already established. As several individuals who appear prominently in RG 469 later accepted different roles in government, the name and keyword descriptions that follow may also help in searching other records groups.
So please stay tuned for more data.
NAMES AND KEYWORDS in RG 469: President Harry S. Truman; Secretary of State George C. Marshall; productivity; technical assistance; European Recovery and Reconstruction (ERR); Marshall Plan; Point Four; Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA); Mutual Security Agency (MSA); Foreign Operations Administration (FOA); International Cooperation Administration (ICA); Institute of Inter-American Affairs (IIAA); Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs; Office of Inter-American Affairs; RG 229; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); RG 286.