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Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Transmitting Proposed Reductions in Appropriations for Civilian War Agencies.

September 05, 1945

The Speaker of the House of Representatives:

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith for the consideration of Congress (1) proposed rescissions of portions of several war-related appropriations available for the fiscal year 1946, amounting to $2,755,981,394, (2) proposed rescissions of portions of several contract authorizations available for the fiscal year 1946, amounting to $794,561,208, (3) proposed reductions in the 1946 limitations on the administrative expenses of several Government corporations and agencies, amounting to $9,318,307, (4) proposed provisions extending the availability of several "national defense" appropriations to June 30, 1946, (5) a proposed provision returning a portion of funds of certain corporations to the United States Treasury, amounting to $1,190,500, and (6) a proposed provision authorizing the transfer of appropriated funds for the liquidation expenses of agencies.

In making these recommendations for reductions in wartime appropriations, I am sensitive to the responsibility which lies on Congress and the President to make such reductions in a way that will best serve the national interest. We shall be impelled by a natural desire to reduce war appropriations quickly but in many cases the question of whether reductions should be made or to what extent they should be made will involve decisions on problems of major importance to the future well-being of the Nation which require time for careful consideration and resolution.

With these considerations in mind it seems to me that a sound course is to take action to reduce appropriations only to the extent such reduction can be entirely supported by conditions existing or clearly foreseeable at the time. Where further reductions must be based partially on judgment as to unknown future conditions, I believe it is the sounder course to delay them until their effect can be predicted with more reasonable assurance.

I thus view this proposal as one of many which I shall make under the procedure for orderly reductions in war appropriations which Congress has provided by enacting section 303 of the Second Deficiency Appropriation Act of 1944. In a few days I shall transmit recommendations with respect to appropriations for the War and Navy Departments. I also plan another full review of war and war-related appropriations and a report to Congress on January 3, 1946, containing recommendations for further adjustments. In the meantime, I shall proceed to take administrative action to the full extent of my authority to speed reduction in war and war-related activities.

The details of this proposal are set forth in the letter of the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, transmitted herewith, in whose comments and observations thereon I concur.

Respectfully yours,

HARRY S. TRUMAN

Note: A White House release describing the President's proposal pointed out that 28 agencies were involved, that the recommended rescissions in war-related appropriations constituted a reduction of approximately 37 percent of current available balances of appropriations of $7,439,000,000, and that the recissions in contract authorizations constituted a reduction of about 58 percent.

The details of the proposal, as set forth in the letter of the Director of the Bureau of the Budget transmitted with the President's letter, are printed in House Document 280 (79th Cong., 1st sess.).

Harry S. Truman, Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Transmitting Proposed Reductions in Appropriations for Civilian War Agencies. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230871

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