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Memorandum Convening the President's Conference on Administrative Procedure.

April 28, 1953

[Released April 29, 1953. Dated April 28, 1953]

- To All Executive Departments and Administrative Agencies:

I am in receipt of a communication from the Chief Justice of the United States, in his capacity as Chairman of the Judicial Conference of the United States, concerning unnecessary delay, expense and volume of records in some adjudicatory and rule-making proceedings in the Executive Departments and Administrative Agencies. I attach a copy of that letter.

The suggestion there transmitted has the endorsement of the Attorney General. It affords opportunity for a public service of benefit to both citizens and Government. Accordingly, I am happy to call a conference of representatives of the departments and agencies, and of the judiciary and the bar, for the purpose of studying the problems thus described.

It is not contemplated that the conference will attempt to impose rules or procedures upon the departments, the agencies, or litigants. The purpose is to exchange information, experience and suggestions and so to evolve by cooperative effort principles which may be applied and steps which may be taken severally by the departments and agencies toward the end that the administrative process may be improved to the benefit of all.

I request the Attorney General to cause a list to be prepared of those departments and administrative agencies which have these functions, and to transmit to each of those listed a copy of this call. I also request him to designate, in addition to a delegate, a representative of his Department to act as Secretary of the conference.

I request each department and agency receiving this call from the Attorney General to designate a representative to meet with other such representatives as delegates in a conference for the purposes I have designated. I request that in designating representatives for these purposes care be taken to name persons who will undertake to devote to the work the considerable time which probably will be required.

With the agreement of the Chief Justice, I have invited Circuit Judge E. Barrett Prettyman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Judge Morris A. Soper of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Baltimore, and Associate Judge Walter M. Bastian of the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, to participate in the conference, and have requested Judge Prettyman to act as Chairman.

I am requesting J. Earl Cox, Jay D. Bond, and William F. Scharnikow, all of Washington, D.C., who are federal trial examiners of experience, to attend and participate as members of the conference.

I am also inviting the following lawyers, experienced in the field of administrative law, to attend and participate as members of the conference:

Hon. John A. Danaher, Washington, D.C.
Richard S. Doyle, Esq., Washington, D.C.
Edmund L. Jones, Esq., Washington, D.C.
H. Cecil Kilpatrick, Esq., Washington, D.C.
Wilbur R. Lester, Esq., Washington, D.C.
Breck P. McAllister, Esq., New York, N.Y.
George M. Morris, Esq., Washington, D.C.
Prof. Charles B. Nutting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Garnet L. Patterson, Esq., Akron, Ohio
John R. Turney, Esq., Washington, D.C.
J. Albert Woll, Esq., Washington, D.C.
Joseph W. Wyatt, Esq., Washington, D.C.

The secretary of the conference will announce the time and place for the initial meeting of the conference. Thereafter, the conference will organize and fix its program and procedure. After the program which seems initially possible has been completed, provisions may be made by the conference for further meetings from time to time. Should a member of the conference be unable to continue in attendance, the vacancy may be filled by the authority which originally designated the retiring member.

I shall be happy to receive from time to time reports from the conference as to its work.


Note: Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson's letter, dated March 24, 1953, follows:

My dear Mr. President:

Some time ago, the Judicial Conference of the United States undertook to examine into the causes of long delay, great expense, and voluminous records in certain classes of cases, including some which reach the courts from the executive departments and administrative agencies.

A committee of judges and an advisory committee composed of representatives of the agencies and of the bar presented a report to the Conference at its September 1951 session, and that report was approved. The findings were that, while the number of such cases is not large, those in which unnecessary delay, expense and volume of record occur create a serious problem in the administration of justice, that the problem should be considered by the departments and agencies, and that a cooperative approach to it affords the best promise for remedy.

Pursuant to a resolution of the Judicial Conference, I have the honor to transmit a suggestion that you call a conference of representatives of the executive departments and administrative agencies having adjudicatory functions, for the purpose of studying cooperatively possible steps to remedy the conditions which were the subject of the report. It is further suggested that representatives of the bar and members of the judiciary, in such numbers and in such capacity as you may deem appropriate, might well be included in such a conference.

I venture to add my own view that the suggested conference appears to be a practical step toward remedying a condition which impedes the economical and efficient determination of serious controversies between citizens and the Government. The excessive time consumed, of course, diminishes the court hours for all other cases and necessarily impedes their determination. I, therefore, personally endorse it.

Copies of the report to the Judicial Conference are available for your information.



Dwight D. Eisenhower, Memorandum Convening the President's Conference on Administrative Procedure. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231682

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