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Memorandum Establishing the Committee on the Economic Impact of Defense and Disarmament.

December 21, 1963

Memorandum for The Hon. Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense; The Hon. Luther H. Hodges, Secretary of Commerce; The Hon. W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor; The Hon. Glenn T. Seaborg, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission; The Hon. James E. Webb, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; The Hon. William C. Foster, Director, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; The Hon. Edward McDermott, Director, Office of Emergency Planning; The Hon. Kermit Gordon, Director, Bureau of the Budget; The Hon. Walter W. Heller, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers:

As you are aware, on July 10, Chairman Heller organized an informal committee to review and coordinate the work of Federal agencies relating to the economic impact of defense and disarmament. Based on the preliminary work of this informal committee, it seems desirable that it be given a more formal and permanent status.

I am therefore requesting you to designate a senior official in your department or agency to serve on this committee on a continuing basis. A Member of the Council of Economic Advisers will serve as Chairman of this Committee.

The Committee will be responsible for the review and coordination of activities in the various departments and agencies designed to improve our understanding of the economic impact of defense expenditures and of changes either in the composition or in the total level of such expenditures.

Federal outlays for defense are of such magnitude that they inevitably have major economic significance. In certain regions of the Nation and in certain communities they provide a significant share of total employment and income. It is therefore important that we improve our knowledge of the economic impacts of such spending, so that appropriate actions can be taken--in cooperation with State and local governments, private industry and labor--to minimize potential disturbances which may arise from changes in the level and pattern of defense outlays.

I know that your agencies have already initiated a number of activities which will improve our ability to assess the economic consequences of the defense program. I do not expect this Committee to undertake studies of its own, but rather to evaluate and to coordinate these existing efforts, and, if it seems desirable, to recommend additional studies--subject, of course, to appropriate review and authorization through established channels.

The Committee may wish to add representatives from other Federal agencies, and it is hereby authorized to do so.

As work in this area produces results of interest to the Congress and the general public, they should be made available in appropriate form.

This is an important subject and I wish to be kept personally informed as your work progresses.


Lyndon B. Johnson, Memorandum Establishing the Committee on the Economic Impact of Defense and Disarmament. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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