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Letter to Committee Chairmen on Universal Military Training.

August 29, 1950


Pursuant to our conversation today, I am furnishing you my views about the pending universal training legislation.

I am very much in favor of universal training legislation. The record will show that for the past five years I have repeatedly recommended that the Congress enact legislation of this character. I am just as strongly in favor of it today as I have ever been.

However, the realities of the situation are that if such legislation were enacted tomorrow it could not possibly be put into effect at once. A universal training program would require many training camps and other installations and scores of thousands of experienced military personnel for training purposes. In view of the demands made on our military forces by the Korean aggression, it is dear that we could not possibly make available the installations and trained military manpower to put a universal training program into operation at this time or in the immediately foreseeable future. Accordingly, it does not seem to me immediately necessary for the Congress to enact universal training legislation.

Legislation of this character, however, should be placed on the statute books at an early date so that we can put it into operation as soon as circumstances permit. Accordingly, I hope that your Committee will continue its active consideration of this legislation with a view to seeking final action on it in January.

I am sending a similar letter to--

Sincerely yours,


Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Millard E. Tydings, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and to the Honorable Carl Vinson, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

On June 19, 1951, the President approved the Universal Military Training and Service Act (65 Stat. 75).

Harry S Truman, Letter to Committee Chairmen on Universal Military Training. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230178

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