Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter Against Ordering Deferment of Premedical Students.

July 05, 1944

I have given careful thought to your letter of June 16 in which you asked that I review the Selective Service order which does not permit the deferment of premedical students beyond July 1.

No one is more keenly conscious than I am of the need of maintaining the health of the Nation and of making sure that we have an adequate supply of doctors. But in this war the need of the armed forces for young, vigorous men must also be given thorough consideration. The Army and the Navy have presented that need in urgent terms as essential to the winning of the war.

The Inter-Agency Committee on Deferments, which was formed some months ago to advise the Director of Selective Service on deferment of men under 26, gave careful consideration to the case of premedical students. The Committee included representatives of all Governmental agencies interested in manpower. I am told that this Committee recommended that there be no deferment for premedical students who are not in medical school by July 1 of this year.

The Committee, I am advised, took into account the fact that none of these premedical students could be of service in the practice of medicine prior to 1948, and that many of them would never practice medicine. The Committee also gave attention to the fact that young men who do not come up to the exacting physical standards of the armed forces, as well as young women, are available to become premedical students.

As for the future supply of doctors, we must always bear in mind the ex-servicemen, a considerable number of whom will unquestionably desire to begin the study of medicine. As you know, there are many young men who have served their country in the armed forces and have already been discharged from further service. These men, and the far larger number later to be demobilized, must be given every opportunity in the way of education and training. I am told that the medical colleges are particularly interested in promoting medical education of well qualified ex-servicemen. This plan by the medical colleges in behalf of ex-servicemen has my hearty support.

For these reasons, after thorough consideration, I am unwilling to overrule the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Committee on Deferments in regard to premedical students or to instruct the Director of Selective Service to rescind the ruling that he made when he adopted the Committee's recommendation.

I fully appreciate your keen interest in this important subject.

Hon. A. L. Miller,

House of Representatives,

Washington, D.C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter Against Ordering Deferment of Premedical Students. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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