Memorandum Concerning Reimbursement of War Contractors for Wages Paid for Work on August 15 and 16.
[Released August 28, 1945. Dated August 24, 1945]
Memorandum to the Director of Contract Settlement and the Contracting Agencies of the Government:
When the news was received on August 14, 1945, that the Japanese had accepted the Potsdam declaration, a statement was issued from the White House that the days of August 15 and 16, 1945, would be declared holidays for war workers under Executive Order 9240, which provides for holiday premium pay. An Executive Order effectuating this was subsequently issued; and the Secretary of Labor publicly expressed my hope that war workers who did not work on those two days would be paid by their employers at straight-time rates. There was widespread observance of these holidays, which represented an appropriate recognition of the magnificent contribution made by war workers to our victory.
In view of these actions, contractors who pay the war workers among their employees for time off taken during these two days should be reimbursed by the Government to the extent that the Government is compensating these contractors on a cost basis. This would include the holders of cost-plus-a-fixed-fee or other cost-type war contracts, because such pay for time off is a reasonable and proper cost of performing such contracts. It would also include the holders of war contracts terminated for the Government's convenience to the extent that the cost of pay for time off is applicable to terminated work.
It would be impracticable to attempt any reimbursement on this account to the holders of fixed-price war contracts that are completed and not terminated, for this would involve making many thousands of minor contract amendments. Such contractors, moreover, are continuing to receive the contract price for their product.
Please take all necessary steps to effectuate the foregoing.
HARRY S. TRUMAN
Note: The text of Office of Contract Settlement Regulation No. 20, giving effect to the President's memorandum, was also released. The regulation is published in the Federal Register (10 F.R. 10985).
Harry S. Truman, Memorandum Concerning Reimbursement of War Contractors for Wages Paid for Work on August 15 and 16. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231652