Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Letter on War Agency Liquidation and Administrative Reorganization for Peace.

September 18, 1944

My dear Mr. Smith:

Total war has required a great expansion of Government activities, agencies, and personnel. Our success on the battle fronts all over the world bears witness to the effectiveness of our efforts.

Upon the termination of hostilities, we must proceed with equal vigor to liquidate war agencies and reconvert the Government to peace. Some steps along these lines may be taken when the fighting ends in Europe. The transition from war to peace should be carried forward rapidly, but with a minimum of disorder and disruption. Only careful planning can achieve this goal.

This is the time to do the planning, although the war- even in Europe—is not over. Most of the planning will probably have to wait for execution until the Japs have surrendered—and there is no way of telling when that will happen. But the plans should be ready.

In order that I may most effectively fulfill my responsibilities as Chief Executive in the demobilization period and may present appropriate recommendations to the Congress on the reconversion of the Government agencies, I am asking you to reexamine the programs, organization, and staffing of Government agencies and submit to me at the earliest possible date recommendations for adjusting the executive branch of the Government from the needs of war to the needs of peace.

Such recommendations should include plans for (1) the liquidation of war agencies and the reassignment of such permanent or continuing functions as they possess, (2) the reduction of Government personnel to a peace footing, and (3) the simplification and adaptation of the administrative structure to peacetime requirements.

In general, recommendations should include the methods for effecting the proposed changes and the appropriate timing of these changes. Immediate attention should be focussed on the adjustments needed upon the termination of the war in Europe.

Honorable Harold D. Smith,

Director, Bureau of the Budget, Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on War Agency Liquidation and Administrative Reorganization for Peace. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/209800

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