The Presidents Who Brought Us America’s Foreign Affairs Agencies

February 17, 2014 By Richard Parker

As we celebrate the birthday of George Washington and the achievements of all our presidents today, let’s take a look at five presidents who made significant contributions to America’s leadership in the world by creating some of the innovative agencies making a difference at home and abroad — from FDR and the Ex-Im Bank, to JFK and USAID and the Peace Corps, to Bush 43 and MCC.

1. Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Export-Import Bank

The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the U.S. and it assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets when private sector financing is not available. Since 2008, Ex-Im has assisted in creating or sustaining more than 1 million U.S. jobs.

“It is expedient and necessary that a banking corporation be organized with power to aid in financing, and to facilitate exports and imports, and the exchange of commodities between the United States and other Nations or the agencies or nationals thereof.”

2. John Kennedy: Peace Corps & USAID

The Peace Corps, the preeminent U.S. international service organization, sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Since its creation in 1961, the Peace Corps has sent over 215,000 volunteers to 139 countries.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is the primary U.S. government agency for overseas development assistance, including economic growth, global health, education, human rights, democracy programs, and food security and agriculture.

 src=“I cannot think of any action which is more important to the effort of which we’re engaged…


The people who are opposed to AID should realize that this is a very powerful source of strength for us.”

3. Richard Nixon, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation is the government’s official development finance institution and it helps mitigate the risks to U.S. companies in emerging markets by providing financing, guarantees, and political risk insurance. Since 1971, OPIC has supported more than 277,000 American jobs.

 src=“U.S. assistance is essential to express and achieve our national goals in the international community – a world order of peace and justice… we must emphasize innovative technical assistance, to ensure that our dollars for all forms of aid go further, and to plant the seeds that will enable other nations to grow their own capabilities for the future.”

4. Ronald Reagan: NED & USTDA

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a U.S. non-profit organization that promotes democracy around the world. Each year, NED makes more than 1,000 grants to support the projects of non-governmental groups abroad who are working for democratic goals in more than 90 countries.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency, which helps American businesses export their products and services to developing and middle-income countries, leveraged $73 of U.S. exports from every $1 of agency funding over the last decade.

“Our willingness to speak for freedom is no bargaining chip. It’s an integral part of our foreign policy. Without timely expression and emphatic endorsement, our own belief in the principles of human freedom and representative government must eventually atrophy and wither.”

5. George W. Bush: PEPFAR & MCC

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. AIDS program, provides life-saving treatment to millions in the developing world, saving nearly seven million men, women, and children since its creation in 2002.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation works to alleviate global poverty by promoting economic growth by partnering with countries that meet external indicators of good governance, economic freedom, and commitment to reform.

“The qualities of courage and compassion that we strive for in America also determine our conduct abroad. The American flag stands for more than our power and our interests. Our founders dedicated this country to the cause of human dignity, the rights of every person and the possibilities of every life.”