To the Congress of the United States:
Of the many efforts undertaken by this Nation to advance peace, prosperity and understanding, few have inspired greater admiration among the people of the world than the Peace Corps. In five years, it has given new purpose to thousands of Americans, and new hope to millions abroad.
In 1968 Peace Corps volunteers will:
--Assist more than 400,000 farmers in their struggle against hunger.
--Help educate more than 700,000 school children.
--Help train 55,000 teachers.
--Provide health services to more than 200,000 persons.
--Help 75,000 men and women help themselves through private enterprise.
--Bring greater opportunity to thousands of people through community development.
By August 1967 we will have more than 16,000 volunteers serving in 53 countries and one territory. By August 1968 there will be more than 19,000 volunteers--nearly double the number in 1964--active in 60 countries.
The Peace Corps has captured the imagination of our youth. Two hundred and ten schools in 30 nations are operating today because American students have voluntarily assisted them under the School Partnership Program which we initiated in 1964. Their support, together with the help of Peace Corps volunteers, and with labor and land donated by the host country, is providing a home for learning for a great many children around the world. We hope to build 500 schools by mid-1967 and at least 1,000 schools in 45 countries by mid-1968.
The Peace Corps has provided an opportunity for tens of thousands of idealistic and able Americans, young and old, to serve their fellow men--with little thought of self or comfort, and with little recompense other than the reward of seeing human lives made better by their efforts.
It is building a growing reserve of capable and tested citizens devoted to public service. By 1970, there will be some 50,000 returned volunteers in the United States. Many of them, directly or after completing their education, plan to enter Government service. Some have already returned to train new volunteers, and others are helping to administer programs throughout the world.
The Peace Corps produces a high yield in results, at a low budgetary cost. The number of volunteers has increased at a much faster rate than the Peace Corps budget. Over the years, the average cost of the program per volunteer has declined steadily--from a high of $9,074 in fiscal 1963 to an estimated $7,400 in 1967.
Today, the Peace Corp idea--the idea of voluntary public service abroad--is spreading to other countries. Already 18 "Peace Corps", most of them based on the U.S. model, have been established by other industrialized nations. This is testimony, not only to the soundness of Peace Corps principles, but also to the living example of Peace Corps volunteers.
I am pleased to transmit to the Congress the Fifth Annual Report of the Peace Corps. It will be gratifying reading to all who are interested in this pioneering and humane endeavor.
LYNDON B. JOHNSONNote: The 85-page report is entitled "Peace Corps, 5th Annual Report."
The White House
March 6, 1967
On June 1, 1967, the White House Press Office announced that the President had submitted to Congress a budget amendment calling for a decrease of $5.7 million in the 1968 fiscal year appropriation for the Peace Corps.
The press release stated in part, "The request for this reduction and the revised budget total of $118.7 million reflects several significant management improvements in the selection and training of Volunteers which will result in the same number of Peace Corps Volunteers--a total of 17,750 Volunteers and trainees by August 31, 1968--at less cost.
"The reduction is in part the result of much stricter selection standards of Peace Corps Volunteers. Until now, the attrition rate in Peace Corps training programs has run about 25 percent. With more stringent screening prior to training, the attrition rate will be cut to 20 percent, which means a smaller number of trainees can be enrolled to achieve the same number of Volunteers ultimately assigned to overseas posts." (3 Weekly Comp. Pres. Does., p. 806).
The message was released at San Antonio, Texas.