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Letter to the National Commander, American Legion, on Rehabilitation Problems.

July 27, 1946

Dear Mr. Stelle:

The suggestions contained in your letter of July 11th for a conference on the subject of veterans' rehabilitation have been given serious consideration. I am grateful to you for your expressions in the matter.

It is agreed that continuous and energetic action must be provided in each community to meet the responsibilities of the whole citizenry in caring for the problems of the veteran. Both General Bradley and General Erskine have been urgent in their appeals to the public in this regard. They have been in contact with the governors of the states, educators, employers, and with the veterans and civic organizations. I have been in close touch with the programs that these gentlemen have advocated.

Specifically, General Erskine, Administrator of the Retraining and Reemployment Administration, is directly charged with the development of community centers throughout the country. He has encouraged all civic organizations, including veterans' organizations, to cooperate at the community level to assist in the readjustment of veterans. I am sure that he would welcome any suggestions which you may have to make. Also, he would appreciate the cooperation of the American Legion in the operation of community advisory centers.

In addition, the National Housing Agency has requested and secured the appointment in the local communities of veterans' emergency housing committees. These have been organized in over four hundred cities with veterans' representatives on each.

As you know, I have been consistent in my endeavors to arouse the nation to our responsibilities in meeting the problems of the returned veteran. My deep gratitude to the veteran allows no other course.

At the present time I do not believe it is advisable to call the type of conference to which you refer. Various government agencies have advocated the establishment and maintenance of community programs for assistance to veterans. The adoption of the ideas presented to the communities can be aided by the cooperation of the local posts of the national veterans' organizations and local civic organizations.

I feel confident that I may count upon the American Legion to continue aggressively to maintain public interest in the welfare of the veteran.

Sincerely yours,

HARRY S. TRUMAN

[Mr. John Stelle, National Commander, The American Legion, National Headquarters, Indianapolis 6, Indiana]

Note: Mr. Stelle suggested that the President call a conference in Washington of leaders of veterans organizations, the American Red Cross, and the heads of appropriate Federal and State agencies in order to furnish guidance and planning to rehabilitation activities at the community level. His letter was released with the President's reply.

Harry S. Truman, Letter to the National Commander, American Legion, on Rehabilitation Problems. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231938

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