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BOSTON, lhA,;S. Approved, For Release 2006/07/27: CIA-RDP88-?( GI_OI3F ,9E~7 Th - 237 566 ? 377 It's.been just over 10 years since Congress, at Presi- dent Kennedy's behest, formally established the Peace Corps "to help foreign countries meet their urgent needs for skilled manpower." 't'oday, in spite of a general US retreat from various inilitary and economic commitments around the world, in spite of the current Senate shenanigans with the for- cign aid bill, and in spite of an orgy of doubting our morals and motives abroad, 'the Peace Corps is alive and remarkably well. Applications have risen by almost 40 percent this year and requests by foreign countries for volunteers are on the increase, too. Both are reversing four-year down- -ward curves. This turnaround, this resilience curr?ntly shown by the Peace Corps, suggests the fundamental merits of the concept. It indicates that it is not merely a glamorous gimni'ick of the '60s and the New.Frontier to be discarded :.oil the clustheap of broken American ideals. Ycs, Vir- ginia, there is a place in the world for volunteer service by -the people of developed countries for the benefit of those that are developing. That's in the abstract. In the concrete, the modest resurgence of the Peace Corps is a credit to the redirec- tion which has been brought about in the last few years by director Joseph Blatchford. An energetic, former collegiate All-America tennis ,player, Blatchford first captured the public imagination as the man. who was beaned by partner Spiro Agnew's wayward serve in a celebrated .Washington tennis match several years ago. The 36--year-old Blatchford_ weathered that indignity and has gone on to breathe new life into the volunteer organization which many people were beginning to.. view as an idea whose time had conic-and gone. Blatchford's contribution has been to set the Peace Corps in some notable "new directions." Contrary to Sargent Shriver's Corps of the early '60s, featuring plea- :lanxes of Ivy-educated generalists floating the backwaters of the Nile or the Amazon on. a postgraduate period abroad, the emphasis today is on experienced profes-? signals fulfilling specific and often technical functions. The Peace Corps--henceforth to be known as Action ,for its recent fusion with the 'domestic version Vista-- is experimenting with all manner of volunteer service and servants now. This'iricludes niiarriecl couples serving as a team, and persons specially prepared through sub- sidizLd-:_ clucation at selected -colleges (including the Uri- for a year in-service domes- tically after college and then two years abroad. This is, one instance in which the hard. figures have responded to the soft theori"ring about improving and updating. Where the Peace Corps had been steadily d.e- clining in both applications and selected volunteers from ;,'a..pgak of more than 10,000 five years ago, tlii:u trend has DOW .been reversed. Applications jumped from 19,000 during the period September, 1.969, to August, 1970, to 26,500 in the same 12-month period just ended. As of last month, there were 5213 volunteers in 56 countries around the world. No one is doing any real tub-thumping about this state of affairs. For Peace Corps officials are anxious to maintain a low. posture around the world, free from all the bravado and braggadocio associated with ti}e venture 10 years ago. One place inhere this is especially so is Chile where the Peace Corps maintains a modest and apparently sat- isfactory operation, and Is very adverse to calling atten- tion to it. Chile is 'a land where several years ago two Com- munist senators launched a full-scale congressional in-* vestigation of alleged Peace Corps involvement with the CIA in an attempt to get rid of the program altogether. 1`sie.;eelenients had reason to believe they had ? an ally in. Xllencle, the first freely-elected Marxist president in the Western Hemisphere. Just a year ago, in fact'. at the time of Allende's in- auguration, some Washington officials in the State De.* pariment were proposing that the Peace Corps be with- drawn from Chile before it was thrown out. Neither thing happened. Today there are some 62. men and women volunteers in the country, engaged pri- marily in forestry and fishery works and in the notewor- thy fish meal concentrate program. Requests from Chilean government for 22 additional volunteers are now out- standing, and a number of these are now in training, in- cluding- a winning college basketball coach (from Dela- ware U.), requested to prep the Chilean national team for the next Pan Aniericari games. The future of the Peace Corp in Chile as elsewhere isn't fully secure. Officials hasten to point out that the welcome mat could be withdrawn at any time. But the organization is demonstrating more durability there than many an American corporation, such as Ana- conda Copper. It's proven itself sufficiently so that it won't sink or_ swim simply on the future won-lost record of Chile's national basketball team. Crocker. Snow is assistant managbig editor of the j Morning Globe. MORUCIDIF Approved For Release 2006/07/27: CIA-RDP88-01315R000400220007-0