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Memorandum to the Director, Bureau of the Budget, on the Need for Prompt Release of Statistical Data by Federal Agencies

February 08, 1969

Memorandum to Director, Bureau of the Budget

Although the compilation of statistics by Federal agencies has been conducted on a highly professional basis, that has not always been the case with the release of the figures to the public. In some instances data have been released only after unnecessarily long delay or at irregular intervals. This practice must stop. The prompt release on a regular schedule of official statistics is a matter of vital importance to the proper management of both private and public affairs.

Please direct the departments and agencies of the Executive Branch of the government to review within the next 30 days the publication schedules of all principal weekly, monthly and quarterly statistical series with a view to

(A) reducing to the shortest practicable time the interval between the date to which the figures refer and the date when compilation is completed, and

(B) ensuring that the basic figures are released promptly to the public.

I recognize that some time must be allowed to prepare, review, and reproduce statistical tables, press releases, etc. One or two days for this should be sufficient. The schedules should therefore allow no more than two working days between the time when compilation of the basic figures has been completed and when they are released to the public. In certain special situations, exceptions to this requirement may be necessary, but they must receive prior approval of the Bureau's Ofrice of Statistical Standards. As a rule, new figures should be released through the statistical officer in charge.

Please arrange for the preparation by each statistical agency of a publicly available schedule of future release dates for periodic statistical series covering at least a three-month period ahead.

Each agency should be requested to submit to the Bureau by March 15, 1969, the steps it has taken to assure compliance with your directive.


Note: The memorandum was released at Key Biscayne, Fla. The White House also issued an announcement of the memorandum which appears in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, P. 949).

Richard Nixon, Memorandum to the Director, Bureau of the Budget, on the Need for Prompt Release of Statistical Data by Federal Agencies Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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