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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Concerning the Reorganization Act.

April 02, 1948

[ Released April 2, 1948. Dated April 1, 1948 ]


Under section 5(f) of the Reorganization Act of 1945 the authority of the President to submit reorganization plans for the consideration of the Congress terminated on March 31, 1948. I believe that the act should be made permanent. At the same time the provisions of section 5, which exempt certain agencies and functions should be eliminated as these exemptions make it impossible to deal with the total problem of the organization of the executive branch.

Experience under the Reorganization Acts of 1939 and 1945 has clearly demonstrated the advantages of this special procedure whereby the President and the Congress cooperate in improving the structure of the executive branch. Under these acts no less than 24 agencies have been eliminated as independent establishments, exclusive of temporary war agencies, and 3 agencies of major importance have been created through the grouping of related functions; 10 bureaus have been consolidated and many other bureaus and units have been transferred to their appropriate locations in the departmental structure.

In the last 2 years 35 organizational changes have been effected by reorganization plan. Among the more important of these have been the establishment of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, the rounding out of the Federal Security Agency as the central instrumentality of the Government in the field of social welfare, and the concentration in the Coast Guard of Federal programs relating to safety of water transportation.

The existence of the Commission on the Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government makes the continuation of the Reorganization Act of 1945 especially vital. The reorganization-plan procedure will be essential if the President and the Congress are to be in a position to act promptly on the recommendations of the Commission.

As you are well aware, the reorganization of the executive branch is a continuous task. As new programs develop and old ones change in size and character, the structure of the Government must be adjusted to new conditions and requirements. Experience indicates that the method established by the Reorganization Acts of 1939 and 1945 provides a simple and practicable procedure for effecting many such adjustments. An effective reorganization statute should be continually available to serve the President and the Congress.

Respectfully yours,


Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Arthur H. Vandenberg, President pro tempore of the Senate, and to the Honorable Joseph W. Martin, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives.

On June 20, 1949, the President approved the Reorganization Act of 1949 (63 Stat. 203).

Harry S Truman, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Concerning the Reorganization Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232551

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