Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on National Physical and Moral Fitness.

June 17, 1942

Dear Mr. McNutt:

From every quarter come evidences of our national concern for total physical and moral fitness in this war for survival, fitness for the freedom we cherish. So far as the Federal Government is concerned, I have reports of the recent meeting between the United States Public Health Service and the War Production Board looking to a vigorous emphasis on industrial hygiene and health education in the current war production drive.

Cooperation of the Public Health Service and the Department of Labor in accident prevention has been continuous. The Interdepartmental Committee on Venereal Disease has made splendid progress in eliminating from the vicinity of camps and naval stations that major source of infection—the red-light district. The War Production Board is cooperating in the extension of that effort to industrial areas where, incidentally, a major part of military and naval infection is derived.

The Community Facilities Program is rapidly supplying the necessary sanitation and hospital and clinic facilities in the communities surrounding camps and industrial areas. The Procurement and Assignment Service is spreading our medical manpower to serve these new population centers. Our program for the rehabilitation of rejected selectees is rapidly taking form, as well as health education in our schools and other agencies.

But this job depends ultimately upon the people themselves and their moral fiber. Increasingly State and local officials are giving leadership in public health and law enforcement. From religious leaders and responsible citizens come to me, almost daily, expressions of their concern, which they are translating into active local cooperation for total effectiveness. In fact, only good local community organization can meet many of these needs.

I, therefore, call for the united efforts of Government- Federal, State, and local—of business and industry, of the medical profession, of the schools and of the churches; in short, of all citizens, for the establishment of total physical and moral fitness. No one can doubt the objective, or fail to cooperate in the various programs when he understands them. This is one effort in which every man, woman, and child can play his part and share in ultimate victory.

Very sincerely yours,

Hon. Paul V. McNutt


Office of Defense Health and Welfare Services

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on National Physical and Moral Fitness. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under


Simple Search of Our Archives