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Letter to David Sam off, Chairman, National Security Training Commission.

March 28, 1957

[Released March 28, 1957. Dated March 25, 1957]

Dear Dave:

I have withheld an earlier reply to your February fifth letter cosigned by your fellow Commissioners, in order to afford myself adequate opportunity to reflect carefully upon your recommendation, for I have had serious misgivings in respect to the proposal that the National Security Training Commission be permitted to expire.

Now, however, I have concluded that the Commission's viewpoint is in fact the right one. I have reached this decision not only for the reasons set forth in your letter, but also for the following additional reason.

I recall that your Commission was originally established to oversee the training of young Americans in a civilian corps. That corps never having been put into effect by the Congress, your Commission has been placed in the difficult position of overseeing training directed not by civilians but by the military. This being so, I must conclude that continued operation of the Commission in existing circumstances, and in the face of apparent Congressional disinclination to establish a National Security Training Corps, would confront your Commission with continuing difficulties that are probably insurmountable. I say this in full realization also that the additional duties imposed upon the Commission these past three years in fields relating to the reserve components of the Armed Forces have been completed and are now showing very encouraging results.

Certainly I agree with the Commission that there can be little justification for concerning yourselves with the well-being of young men 17 to 18½ years of age who are undergoing six months of military training, while at the same time having to presume that other young men in the same age group can satisfactorily undergo such training without such supervision. This anomalous situation is, of course, the result of the lack of the civilian-training corps originally contemplated when the Commission was established.

In accepting by this letter your recommendation that the National Security Training Commission be permitted to expire at the end of this fiscal year, I want it clearly understood that I do so with a feeling of lasting appreciation to you who for so long have concerned yourselves patriotically and effectively with matters basic to our national strength. I know of the fine work performed and feel a deep personal obligation to you and your colleagues. My congratulations both for a job well done and for selfless, devoted service to our country. I look forward to receiving the final report mentioned in the last sentence of the Commission's letter.



Note: The President sent similar letters to the other members of the Commission: Warren H. Atherton, Albert J. Hayes, Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, USN (Ret.), and General Walter Bedell Smith, USA (Ret.).

The Commissioners' letter of February 5 recommended termination of the Commission's activities on June 30, 1957. The closing sentence of the letter stated "... we shall submit a final report to the Congress dealing with the welfare of the six-month trainees during the second full year's operation of the Reserve training program." This report was entitled "Final Report to the Congress-National Security Training Commission" (Government Printing Office, 1957).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to David Sam off, Chairman, National Security Training Commission. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233157

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