Remarks on Receiving Unspent Fiscal Year 1981 Funds From the Agency for International Development

August 4, 1981

The President. Ladies and gentlemen, back in the beginning of our administration, I talked a great deal about eliminating waste in government. And right now, I would like to introduce to you our Administrator for the Agency for International Development -- AID -- who has a statement to make and a presentation to make.

Peter McPherson. I said the title and not the name; I'm sorry.

Mr. McPherson. Thank you, Mr. President. It's certainly very nice to be here. In keeping with your commitment to the American people to reduce waste and inefficiency, I'm happy to announce today our initial results at the Agency for International Development. These results will save millions of dollars for the American taxpayer. We've identified $28 million that we do not need to spend. These cuts come from projects from around the world. Some are from money which is being returned because local conditions have changed, some because of management problems, and some because of insufficient local government support.

Returning this money demonstrates that we will not hesitate to make changes in AID programs whenever they fall short of our expectations. Our reviews are not yet finished, but already we know there'll be millions of dollars additionally that we will return to the Treasury.

This effort is strongly supported by Secretary Haig, as evidenced by his presence here today. We hope to better serve you, Mr. President, and the American public by this effort.

Mr. President, I'd like to present to you our check for $28 million to be returned to the U.S. Treasury.

The President. Peter McPherson, I'm very proud to accept this. And I think that anyone who's familiar with the Washington scene -- as so may of you are -- knows that it is far more normal at this stage of the fiscal year, only a couple months to go, that anyone that finds $28 million unspent in their department says to everyone, ``Rush out and buy new furniture or do something. We must spend this money before the end of the fiscal year.''

Twenty-eight million dollars -- I can't wait to hand this to Don Regan, Secretary of the Treasury. Peter McPherson, thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 3:15 p.m. at the presentation ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House.

The White House press release also contains Mr. McPherson's question-and-answer session with reporters which followed the presentation ceremony.