Wednesday, 1 December 1999

From "Developing Theories of Foreign Policy Making: A Case Study of Foreign Aid"

By Gilbert R. Winham (The Journal of Politics, Vol. 32, No. 1. (Feb., 1970), p. 52).

The most important point about the change in the decision makers' images is not when it occurred, but that it occurred at all. Because of their great concern with the European situation, the U. S. leaders were favorably disposed to contemplate acting on it, but this alone was no guarantee of action. What they perceived in addition to the economic plight of Europe, and in addition to their concern for the national interest of the Vnited States, was why they seriously considered action.

According to the data, the U. S. decision makers began simultaneously to consider the consequences of their actions and to perceive things about the situation that encouraged them to take action. For example, U. S. leaders were able to estimate in tangible terms the amount of assistance needed to redress the crisis in Europe (ESTIM theme). [...] This theme, which recorded all statements either estimating the aid needed by Europe or fixing a termination
date for the aid program, appeared with a high absolute frequency in the communications material and rose relatively during the third quarter [...] That the American decision makers could assess what aid would be needed to accomplish their purposes in Europe, or that they could dcfine what these purposes were, encouraged them to embark on the program. In short, the European Recovery Program was perceived as a "doable" project with a definite termination point.

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