Letter to Prime Minister Ikeda of Japan Suggesting an Exchange of Information on the Problem of Mental Retardation.
[Released November 1, 1961. Dated October 27, 1961]
My dear Mr. Prime Minister:
I have recently learned that you have taken steps to initiate a study of the problem of mental retardation and that the Chichibu Gakuen under the leadership of Dr. Osamu Kan is making important advances, and I congratulate you on this undertaking. It presents a universal challenge to all the nations of the world.
Recently I appointed a Panel composed of distinguished scientists, educators, physicians, lawyers, sociologists, and others to organize and chart a program to conquer this disability. It seems to me that it would be useful to exchange information between our nations in our common effort to solve the problems in this field.
Accordingly, I am asking Mr. Myer Feldman, as my personal representative, to request your permission to invite the participation of Dr. Kan, or any other person you may suggest, to the next meeting of the American Panel on Mental Retardation. This is scheduled for December 8th and 9th in Washington, D.C. The attendance at this meeting of Dr. Kan, or any other person you may feel it appropriate to suggest, would be most helpful and deeply appreciated by me.
I feel sure that you share my conviction that the challenge presented by the unsolved problems to which both Japan and the United States are directing their attention in the field of mental retardation offers a great opportunity for service to the cause of humanity. It seems particularly appropriate at this time that our two countries unite in seizing this opportunity. The consequences of our joint endeavors can be much more important to mankind than even the deep concerns over the destructive forces being unleashed in the world today.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
Note: The letter was delivered to Prime Minister Ikeda by Myer Feldman, Deputy Counsel to the President, who was in Japan as the White House representative attending the meetings of the Joint United States-Japan Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs.
In a letter dated November 3 and released by the White House on November 9, Prime Minister Ikeda stated that arrangements were being made for Dr. Kan to participate in the American Panel.
John F. Kennedy, Letter to Prime Minister Ikeda of Japan Suggesting an Exchange of Information on the Problem of Mental Retardation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235310