Remarks at the First Meeting of the White House Child Health Conference Planning Committee.
THROUGH Secretary Wilbur and Secretary Davis, I have invited you here as the nuclei of a planning committee to inaugurate a most [p.239] important movement to the Nation as a whole. That is, that we should take national stock of the progress and present situation in the health and protection of childhood; that out of this investigation we should also develop commonsense plans for the further advancement in these directions.
I have suggested that in order that these investigations and recommendations may be brought about in the most effective manner, that a number of committees should be organized to cover different phases of the subject, embracing the leadership in thought and knowledge of these subjects throughout the Nation; that after these investigations have been carried forward and conclusions reached by these committees, then that we should call a White House conference of public officials, associations, and others interested in these questions, to consider the recommendations. Further, that such of the policies that may be adopted by that conference should be followed up by definite organization throughout the country.
We realize that major progress in this direction must be made by voluntary action and by activities of local government. The Federal Government has some important functions to perform in these particulars, all of which will need to be considered, but we may save years in national progress if we can secure some measure of unity as to view and unity as to program, more especially as these views and programs are to be based on searching examination of fact and experience.
Generous means have been provided to enable you to carry forward this task without difficulty, and I wish to assure you of the complete support of the Executive.
I need not urge upon you the fundamental importance of this undertaking. The greatest asset of a race is its children, that their bodily strength and development should prepare them to receive the heritage which each generation must bequeath to the next. These questions have the widest of social importance, that reaches to the roots of democracy itself. By the safeguard of health and protection of childhood we further contribute to that equality of opportunity which is the unique basis of American civilization.
Note: The planning committee met at 2:30 p.m. at the White House. In addition to Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur and Secretary of Labor James J. Davis, the group included pediatricians, journalists, and others interested in child health.
Herbert Hoover, Remarks at the First Meeting of the White House Child Health Conference Planning Committee. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211515