President Carter this week will begin considering major reorganization of United States foreign assistance programs, including the possibility of merging the Agency for International Development (AID), the Peace Corps and a number of other unites into a single new agency.
Administration officials said the results of several months of study by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be sent to Carter as an option paper. Urging consolidation and efficiency, Congress last year instructed the president to report by Feb. 1 on his plans for reorganizing foreign and programs.
According to administration and congressional sources, the options to be placed before Carter are:
Creation of a new "International Development Cooperation Administration." It would consolidate AID, The Peace Corps, Treasury Department sections dealing with international financial institutions, State Department sections dealing with United Nations development programs and parts of the Agriculture Department's food aid program. Also included would be the Foundation for International Technological Cooperation, a new project inside AID.
Partial integration of the agencies listed above, with the chief of the new agency to have limited powers over budgets and policy of the Peace Corps, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and some other units.
Naming a White House coordinator of all the aid programs and agencies with limited, but presidentially mandated authority.
No major change in organization or responsibilities, but greater authority for the Development Cooperation Committee, an existing group chaired by AID Administrator John J. Gilligan.
Gilligan and some other officials of AID are reported to be pushing for the first option of full scale integration in the new agency, a move which would enhance their authority. The State Department is reported to be cool to the idea, and Treasury officials are flatly opposed to it. One informed source said there is "heavy bureaucratic infighting" over the proposed reorganization. But an OMB official said this scrap did not rival the recent infighting over proposed domestic agency reshuffling because "there are few issues of organizational life or death."
The president's views on the reorganization prospects are unknown. In the past, the has called for greater efficiency in the foreign aid programs, but has not described his plans for agency changes to promote that goal.