Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Letter to Secretary Flemming Reconstituting the Federal Council on Aging at Cabinet Level.

March 07, 1959

Dear Mr. Secretary:

In recognition of the growing national importance of the needs and problems of our aging population, I have concluded that the present Federal Council on Aging, established by Presidential memorandum of April 2, 1956, should be strengthened.

The various resources and programs of the Federal Government must be utilized and coordinated in such a way as to provide maximum assistance in this field, consistent with Federal responsibility to State and local governments, to private groups, and to individuals themselves.

Accordingly, I am hereby reconstituting the Federal Council on Aging at Cabinet level.

It is my desire that this Council aid the various Federal agencies in improving the effectiveness of their programs in the field of aging.

The Council will be composed of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare as Chairman, and of the following additional members:

The Secretary of Agriculture

The Secretary of Commerce

The Secretary of Labor

The Secretary of the Treasury

The Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency

The Administrator of Veterans Affairs

I shall expect you as Chairman of the Council to invite those Federal departments and agencies that are not permanent members of the Council such as the Department of Defense, Civil Service Commission, Railroad Retirement Board, and National Science Foundation to participate when matters which are in their areas of responsibility come under consideration by the Council. Provision also will be made for the Department of State and the Bureau of the Budget to have observers attend meetings of the Council.

Federal departments and agencies in their respective areas will continue to carry out their individual statutory responsibilities in the field of aging, cooperating with one another through the Council where appropriate and furnishing the Council such information and assistance, not inconsistent with law, as may be required for this cooperation.

Support of a small staff for the Council shall be by contribution of the permanent participating agencies subject to law. I request you, as Chairman, to work out with such agencies a suitable scale of contribution which should bear a relation to the scope of the responsibility of each in the field of aging. Agencies shall designate individuals within their own organizations as needed to carry out projects approved by the Council.

The Council is directed to initiate promptly and carry on continuing reviews of Federal programs for the aging and make recommendations to me and to the interested departments and agencies from time to time on how needs in this field can be better met.

At the onset, the Council shall prepare an analysis and evaluation of existing programs which I would like to have by September 30, 1959, at the latest. This analysis should appraise the various Federal programs which affect the older people in our population and identify any areas in which further changes need to be considered in order to help extend the period of productive, healthy, and comfortable lives for people in this group.

The Council shall cooperate and assist the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, as may be appropriate, in planning and coordinating the White House Conference on Aging. It shall also carry out other interagency projects as may be appropriate and needed from time to time.

I shall look forward to receiving from you as Chairman periodic reports on the progress and recommendations of the Council.



Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Secretary Flemming Reconstituting the Federal Council on Aging at Cabinet Level. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235298

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