WITNESS FOR AID by Frank M. Coffin


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As both legislator and administrator, Mr. Coffin has devoted his public life to the treatment of the national headache caused by U.S. aid. His book demonstrates his intimate acquaintance with the patient, and its design is essentially curative. The nature of our assistance to other countries is explained. The uncertain attitudes of the public toward such aid are analyzed and misconceptions dispelled. The reticence of Congress to act in the area, due largely to the public's ambivalence, is roundly attacked. And, a constructive reorganization of thinking is recommended rather than another overhaul of agency mechanics. If less than original, his thinking is cogent: aid is the most effective tool or our foreign policy; it serves an historical fulfillment while bestowing substantial benefits on other people; despite rumor, its cost is small. When our citizens understand aid, when Congress improves the techniques of evaluating the aid program, and when professionalism predominates in its administration, then great potential will be realized. Best are the chapters on historical context and future tasks. But, Mr. Coffin has obstructed the important lesson of his book with shopworn imagery at every turn. There is a constant ground fog of bureaucratese and several unfortunate lapses into senseless dialogue. Common sense and straight facts can help Aid, cant can't.

Pub Date: April 4th, 1964
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin