Efforts toward peaceful cooperation
In 1955 the various foreign aid programs, including what remained of the Marshall Plan for Europe, were consolidated into the International Cooperation Administration as a per- manent part of the U.S. government. To provide newly developing areas with more of the capital they needed to finance transport, power and industry, river valley develop- ment, irrigation and the other foundations for economic growth, the United Nations in 1957 created the Development Loan Fund. By the end of 1960 the Fund had made some 183 loans to 49 countries totalling $1,840 million. In addition, between 1954 and 1960, the United States distributed more than $10,000 million worth of food to needy countries. About half of this food took the form of outright gifts to avert famine in such countries as Pakistan, Nepal, Jordan, Haiti and Ghana. The other half was sold for foreign currencies which could then be loaned back to the recipient countries at low or no interest for their economic development projects.
Hopes for progress in peaceful cooperation between the communist and non-communist powers were raised by the 1955 Geneva "summit conference." But despite an exchange of views, the American, Soviet, British and French heads of state failed to agree on methods of achieving either disarmament or the reunification of Germany. In an effort to minimize the dangers of surprise attack and to halt arms development, President Eisenhower proposed that the Soviet Union and the United States exchange blueprints of their military establishments and permit mutual aerial observation of military installations. The Soviet leaders rejected this plan as an invasion of national sovereignty, causing disappointment among people in many countries who saw the Eisenhower proposal as a first step towards a world system of arms control and inspection. The Geneva meeting, however, did result in a program of exchanges under which an increasing number of Soviet technicians, intellectuals and performing artists toured the United States while their American counterparts visited the Soviet Union.