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Letter to the President, Society for the Advancement of Management, Concerning Full Employment.

November 30, 1945

[ Released November 30, 1945. Dated November 26, 1945 ]

Dear Mr. Zimmerman:

I am happy to know that the theme of your annual conference this year is "Management Factors for Full Employment". Full employment in the United States is of the greatest importance to our country and to the world.

In my recent Message to Congress I said:

"Full employment means full opportunity for all under the American economic system--nothing more and nothing less.

"In human terms, full employment means opportunity to get a good peace-time job for every worker who is ready, able and willing to take one. It does not mean made work, or making people work.

"In economic terms, full employment means full production and the opportunity to sell goods--all the goods that industry and agriculture can produce.

"In government terms, full employment means opportunity to reduce the ratio of public spending to private investment without sacrificing essential services.

"In world-wide terms, full employment in America means greater economic security and more opportunity for lasting peace throughout the world.

"To provide jobs, we must look first and foremost to private enterprise-to industry, agriculture, and labor. Government must inspire enterprise with confidence. That confidence must come mainly through deeds, not words. But it is clear that confidence will be promoted by certain assurances given by the government:

"Assurance that all the facts about full employment and opportunity will be gathered periodically for the use of all. Assurance of stability and consistency in public policy, so that enterprise can plan better by knowing what the government intends to do. Assurance that every governmental policy and program will be pointed to promote maximum production and employment in private enterprise."

If as a nation we are to succeed in maintaining high production industry must do its job and gear itself with the public interest. This means that day-to-day management decisions must be sound. Every time you set a price or a wage or a specification for a job, every time you select a product design or a machine or a merchandising policy, every time you accept or reject a proposed extension or improvement, you are deciding just those practical matters which determine the outcome. If these separate private decisions are not well taken, they will not add up to the right score in high production.

That is why it is of the greatest importance that management people everywhere should fully discuss and understand the management factors for full employment. I am glad that the Society for the Advancement of Management is doing this as part of its concern for better management from one end of the country to the other. I congratulate the Society on the timeliness and significance of this meeting and wish you every success in carrying forward your important work.

Very sincerely yours,

HARRY S. TRUMAN

[Honorable R. R. Zimmerman, President, The Society for the Advancement of Management, 84 William Street, New York 7, N.Y.]

Note: The White House release accompanying the text of the letter stated that it was read by Mr. Zimmerman at the annual dinner meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Management, held on November 30 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Harry S. Truman, Letter to the President, Society for the Advancement of Management, Concerning Full Employment. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/229864

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