The aid received was predominantly in the form of food to alleviate starvation in the occupied areas.
In 1946 the U.S. Congress voted GARIOA funds to prevent "disease and unrest" in occupied Germany. Congress stipulated that the funds were only to be used to import food, petroleum and fertilizers. Use of GARIOA funds to import raw materials of vital importance to the German industry was explicitly forbidden. At the time the U.S. still operated under the occupation directive JCS 1067 which directed U.S. forces to "…take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany".
In 1948, after three years of occupation the combined U.S. and UK expenditure on relief food in Germany stood at a total of close to $1.5 billion. Still, German food rations were deficient in composition and remained far below recommended minimum nutrition levels. Officials in authority admitted that the distributed rations "represented a fairly rapid starvation level". (see also Eisenhower and German POWs#American food policy in Germany shortly after the war)
The aid received by Germany through GARIOA was, just as the later Marshall plan aid, charged to the Germans. By 1953 West Germany’s debt was over $3.3 billion. It was however decided in 1953 that West Germany only had to repay $1.1 billion. The amount was repaid by 1971.
To prevent "hunger and social unrest"; in fiscal year 1946 GARIOA grants to Japan were $92.63 million, in 1947 $287.33 million, in 1948 $351.40 million. In Western Europe the Marshall plan from 1948 onwards contributed to a reconstruction of the economies. In order to further remove Japan as a potential future military threat after World War II the Far Eastern Commission had decided that Japan was to be partly de-industrialized. The necessary dismantling of Japanese industry was foreseen to have been achieved when Japanese standards of living had been reduced to those existing in Japan the period 1930 - 1934. (see Great Depression) In the end the adopted program of de-industrialisation in Japan was implemented to a lesser degree than the similar U.S. "industrial disarmament" program in Germany. In view of the cost to American taxpayers for the emergency aid, in April 1948 the Johnston Committee Report recommended that the economy of Japan should be reconstructed. The report included suggestions for reductions in war reparations, and a relaxation of the "economic deconcentration" policy. For the fiscal year of 1949 funds were moved from the GARIOA budget into an Economic Rehabilitation in Occupied Areas (EROA) programme, to be used for the import of materials needed for economic reconstruction.
Volunteer organizations created Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia (LARA) to coordinate their efforts and have a single point of contact with the military authorities which had refused to deal with them on a one to one basis. LARA was operational 1946-1952 and sent many tonnes of food and clothing to Japan.