Records of U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies: 1948-1961: U.S. Operations Mission in Iran, 1950-1961

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This collection is a record of the U.S. Operations Mission’s experiences in Iran. In it are outlined the programs that were initiated, the problems encountered, and the results of the eleven year effort. The program of technical cooperation in Iran, prior to the Revolution of 1958, was frequently cited as an example of the ideal Point Four program. The overthrow of the established government led naturally to questions concerning the "failure" of American technical assistance in that country.

In Iran, there were two chief aims that guided the International Cooperation Administration (ICA) effort. The first was to promote the acceptance and support of ICA by cooperating and integrating the efforts of local and regional governments and bureaucrats. The second was to initiate projects that would reach as many people as possible, especially the common people who desperately needed opportunities and help.

Three kinds of aid were provided: United States technicians advised or worked with the Iranian Government; supplies and equipment were provided for demonstration purposes; and Iranian personnel were sent to the United States or third countries for observation or training programs. The bulk of assistance was directed towards improving agricultural methods, but much also was achieved in such areas as preventive medicine, education, and administrative improvement.

An assessment of the ICA effort in Iran can be summed-up in the two statements which set forth the ICA’s objectives in accomplishing its program in Iran. The first was an increase in the standard of living of the people; the second (in order to achieve the first), was to help the Iranian people to help themselves. The aim of the Point Four program was to promote the combined growth of economic improvement and political freedom.

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