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Letter to Henry H. Fowler Asking Him To Serve as Director, Office of Defense Mobilization.

September 05, 1952

Dear Mr. Fowler:

I want to express my appreciation for your willingness to revise your personal plans in order to remain on duty in the Government until this December thirty-first, in lieu of leaving in September as had been previously agreed upon by you and Dr. Steelman.

As I told you in the course of our discussion yesterday, it is my desire to free Dr. Steelman of his mobilization responsibilities in the immediate future, in order that he may resume his full-time role as Assistant to the President to work with me on a number of other matters during the remaining months of this year.

This factor, coupled with your own responsibilities and experience in the mobilization field, makes me especially glad that you will remain until December thirty-first. This makes it possible for me to ask you to serve as Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization, effective September eighth.

We can take pride in the fact that, through a wise use of the priorities and allocations power, the Nation has come through the period of severest material and facilities shortages without impairment of the civilian economy, despite the necessary diversion of vast resources to the buildup of both our military production and our mobilization base.

Due to the wise expansion of basic resources and facilities important for defense, the early shortages are being overcome while a well-ordered system of distribution of available supplies continues to give the military and atomic energy programs their full requirements and the civilian economy an equitable distribution of the remainder.

These accomplishments should not be allowed to obscure the fact that we are only halfway through to the achievement of the other longer-term objectives of our defense mobilization program.

I am aware that you and Dr. Steelman, together with representatives of the other defense agencies concerned with production, have been engaged in recent months in a review of where we stand, and in charting outlines of future action.

In the period ahead there must be no letdown in our national effort to achieve these goals. The Nation cannot be permitted to falter for a single day, month or season in the work of defense mobilization which is the key to peace and security for America and the free world.

I am well aware that your recognition of these factors in the current situation outweighs the personal sacrifice involved in extending your term of service for the Government.

I realize that this new responsibility will necessitate the submission of your resignation to Secretary Sawyer as Administrator of the National Production Authority in the Department of Commerce, because of the onerous daily operating tasks connected with that position. You should continue, however, for the time being as Administrator of the Defense Production Administration until you can determine to what degree, if any, a welding of that small yet vital programming organization with the Office of Defense Mobilization will be helpful in giving emphasis and focus to the remaining phases of rounding out the mobilization base and, in cooperation with the Department of Defense, maintaining the acceleration of production of key military weapons and equipment.

Very sincerely yours,


Note: The text of Mr. Fowler's letter of acceptance, dated September 5, was also released.

On December 16, the White House released a letter from the President to Mr. Fowler expressing appreciation for his willingness to remain in the post for several weeks beyond December 31.

Harry S. Truman, Letter to Henry H. Fowler Asking Him To Serve as Director, Office of Defense Mobilization. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231382

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