History of SSA During the Johnson Administration 1963-1968


The XVth General Assembly of the International Social Security Association met in the United States for the first time in the history of the Association. It afforded an opportunity for social security administrators and experts from all over the world to view at first hand the accomplishments of the United States in the field of social security as well as an opportunity for interested persons in the United States to acquaint themselves with personalities, programs and problems from abroad.{1} The Social Security Administration, under the provisions of a $91,500 Congressional appropriation, planned, organized, and hosted the XVth General Assembly on behalf of the United States government.With this authorization, the Social Security Administration created a
Secretariat to centralize all administrative, reception, and other planning.

The International Social Security Association is a non-governmental international organization of public and private agencies administering social security programs. Its members include national social security institutions and funds, mutual benefit societies and government departments administering one or more branches of social insurance. Its objectives are "to coordinate internationally and to strengthen efforts toward the extension, the protection, and the technical and administrative improvement of social security throughout the world."

The Association, founded originally in 1927, has members in more than 80 countries. There are over 200 member institutions covering almost 500 million insured persons under one or another form of social security. The Association's headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland at the seat of the International Labour Organization which was partly responsible for its founding. The Social Security Administration of the United States' Department of Health, Education and Welfare became a member of the Association in 1957. The Commissioner of Social Security serves on its executive body. The Social Security Administration is also represented on several of the Association's technical committees.

The International Social Security Association is essentially a professional organization and is very important in its technical field. It is making a substantial contribution to programs and administration of social security in the developing countries and also in more mature countries including the United Sates, through exchange of technical information, technical publications, and other descriptive materials which are distributed to the memberships.

Every three years a General Assembly is conducted by the Association as a vehicle for the exchange of information on significant developments in social security, to aid international coordination in the administration and development of social security, to facilitate personal consultation, and to conduct the more important business affairs of the organization. Previous General Assemblies have been held in Austria, France, Mexico, England, and Turkey.

The General Assembly was held from Septber 26 through October 3, 1964, in the International Conference Suite of the Department of State. About 500 delegates and observers from over 60 countries, as well as guests from United States public and private agencies, attended the opening and closing plenary sessions and the technical sessions of 15 permanent committees and working groups. A wide variety of fornal papers and reports was presented and discussed on such subjects as social insurance, family allowances, mutual benefit societies, and welfare programs.

Mr. Robert M. Ball, Commissioner of Social Security, was elected Chairman of the XVth ISSA General Assembly which convened in plenary sessions in the auditorium of the Department of State.

The Department of Health, Education,and Welfare's Secretary Anthony Celebrezze extended warm greetings and best wishes from President Lyndon B. Johnson for a pleasant and productive meeting. The Secretary said: "You are engaged in one of the great missions of modern times. This century has produced great advances in science and technology . . . But these achievements will avail us little if we neglect the day-to-day needs of men, women, and children who make up the modern family of man . . . . and . . . social security is one of the major means to promote human progress, to advance the health and well-being of people."

During the ensuing technical sessions, papers were presented by several officials of the Social Socuaity Administration and by Social Security officials of other countries. Simultaneous interpretation of the proceedings was provided in the French, Spanish, German, and Russian languages. Technical reports prepared before, during, and after the General Assembly were printed in the English, Spanish, French, and German languages and made available to the participants.

Interspersed with the technical seasion were opportunities to visit various institutions in the District of Columbia and nearby Maryland and Virginia. Almost all participants in the General Assembly visited the Social Security Administration beadquarters in Baltimore, and were entertained in the evening in the homes of Social Security Administration employees.

The week's activities ended with a plenary session, where delegates heard the reports of the permanent technical committees and conclusions of various other reports. In bringing the XVth General Assembly to a close, Mr. Wilbur J. Cohen, the then Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Assistant Secretary for Legislation, spoke of "Social Security--A World Concept." He said "Social Security programs were born out of the recognition of greater interdependence of man, out of the knowledge that each of us is dependent on the activities ofmany others and treat each of us as responsible for the needs of many others. Social Security programs have demonstrated themselves unique and effective in discharging an interdependent system . . . " He closed his remarks with the guiding motto of ISSA, "No lasting peace without social justice, no social justice without social security.''

Footnotes (Footnote numbers not same as in the printed version)

{1} The proceedings of the XVth General Assembly of ISSA are reported in the Bulletin of ISSA, October-November-December 1964 (Year XVII, Nos.10-12). Copies of most of the reports that were adopted by the Assembly or by the Permanent Committees of ISSA at the time of the Assembly are available in the form of ISSA publications. A summary of the proceedings of the Assembly was published in the Social Security Bulletin, February 1965 (Volume 28, No. 2). In commemoration of the Assembly the September 1964 issue of the Social Security Bulletin(Volume 27, No. 9) was devoted to a review of the international cooperation and training being conducted by the United States Social Security Administration and a review of its payments operations for
beneficiaries living abroad.