Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Letter on National Service Legislation.

January 17, 1945

Dear Congressman May:

In my recent message on the State of the Union, I pointed out the urgent need of a national service law, and recommended that, pending action by the Congress on the broader aspects of national service, the Congress immediately enact legislation which will be effective in using the 4,000,000 men now classified in IV-F in whatever capacity is best for the war effort.

The urgent need of this legislation has not lessened but has increased since the sending of my Message.

It is true that there has been a trend toward increased placement of manpower in the last two weeks, but there is danger that this trend, which was unquestionably due to the belief that Congress contemplated prompt action, will be reversed by reports now current in the press that Congressional action is likely to be delayed.

I am familiar with the provisions of H. R. 1119, on which hearings are now being held before your Committee. While this bill is not a complete national service law, it will go far to secure the effective employment in the war effort of all registrants under the Selective Service Law between the ages of 18 and 45.

While there may be some differences of opinion on the details of the bill, prompt action now is much more important in the war effort than the perfecting of detail.

As the United Nations enter upon a truly total offense against their enemies, it is vital that that total offense should not slacken because of any less than total utilization of our manpower on the home front.

I hope that you will impress upon the members of your Committee, and that your Committee will impress upon the Congress how important it is that action be taken without delay on H. R. 1119, so that news may go to our fighting men that they can go all out with confidence that they cannot exhaust the supplies we are sending them and that information may come to our enemies that there will be no slackening of our total offense until they lay down their arms.

I enclose copy of a letter signed by General Marshall and Admiral King which I have just received.

Hon. Andrew J. May,

Chairman, House Military Affairs Committee,

Washington, D. C.

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

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