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Letter to Agency Heads Directing a Review of Government Programs.

July 21, 1950

My dear Mr.________:

In my message of July 19 to the Congress, I announced that I was directing the executive agencies

"--to conduct a detailed review of Government programs, for the purpose of modifying them wherever practicable to lessen the demand upon services, commodities, raw materials, manpower, and facilities which are in competition with those needed for national defense. The Government, as well as the public, must exercise great restraint in the use of those goods and services which are needed for our increased defense efforts."

In order to adjust the programs of the Federal Government, I am writing to you and the heads of the other agencies whose programs involve substantial use of materials and other resources needed for the defense effort. Please reexamine your programs, giving particular attention, to the extent applicable, to the following:

(1) All civil public works, both direct Federal programs and grant-in-aid programs, should be screened with the objective, as far as practical, deferring, curtailing, or slowing down those projects which do not directly contribute to defense or to civilian requirements essential in the changed international situation set forth in my message.

(2) Consistent with the restrictive policy already in force for housing credit, other credit programs should be tightened. The only exceptions should be those which directly contribute to meeting our defense and international responsibilities.

(3) Procurement of supplies and equipment should be held to minimum amounts, especially purchases of motor vehicles, typewriters, and other equipment using critical materials. Inventories should be reduced to the lowest practical levels, and excess supplies and equipment should be made available immediately to the General Services Administration.

In addition, I shall expect that in the reexamination of the programs of your agency, you will give first priority to those activities which contribute directly to national defense, including requests of other agencies for assistance.

I am asking the Director of the Bureau of the Budget to work closely with you in this review and to report to me on the steps which you have taken in revising your program to meet these objectives.

Sincerely yours,


Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the heads of the following departments and agencies: the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Army, the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, the Post Office Department, the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Security Agency, the General Services Administration, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Veterans Administration.

Harry S Truman, Letter to Agency Heads Directing a Review of Government Programs. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230997

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