Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of Jerre S. Williams as Chairman, Administrative Conference of the United States.

January 25, 1968

Mr. and Mrs. Williams and family, Members of the Cabinet, Ambassador Goldberg, Members of Congress, Members of the Judiciary, ladies and gentlemen:

A poet once wrote, "Nothing is so hard but search will find it out." We think in Jerre Williams the Administrative Conference has found and will have as its Chairman one of our most distinguished scholars and professors of law. We are all glad that we were able to persuade him to leave his students and to serve two much larger constituencies, the Federal Government and the American public.

The Conference will need a man of his talents and of his energy.

In 1952 Mr. Justice Jackson observed that, "The rise of administrative bodies probably has been the most significant legal trend of the last century .... Perhaps more values today are affected by their decisions than by those of all the courts."

Even he couldn't have predicted how deeply the administrative process would penetrate the life of the American citizen in this year--1968.

Today it involves everything from the safety of public transportation to the wholesomeness of food; from communications and utilities to drugs and savings accounts.

We handle these vital programs well. But all of us know that we could handle them much better. It will be your job, Mr. Willlams, to tell us how to do that.

The success of two temporary conferences--both chaired very ably by Judge Prettyman--convinced us that we needed a permanent agency for continuing review of the administrative process.

We needed a forum for the constant exchange of ideas between the agencies and the legal profession and the public.

We want the Administrative Conference to be the vehicle through which we can look at the administrative process and can see how it is working and how it could be improved and how it could best serve the public interest.

In a few days we will be naming the 10-member Council to work with Mr. Williams in picking the members of the Conference.

I want to ask all the agencies to cooperate fully with the Chairman and the Council. I have asked the agency heads to give Mr. Williams all the support they can to help get the Conference moving along.

Mr. Williams, we are very pleased to have you with us and I shall look forward with pleasure to seeing the Conference's first report.

Note: The President spoke at 1:06 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his opening words he also referred to Arthur J. Goldberg, U.S. Representative to the United Nations. During his remarks he referred to Robert H. Jackson, former Supreme Court Justice, and to E. Barrett Prettyman, Senior Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, who administered the oath of office.

For an announcement of the members of the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, see the Weekly Compilation of presidential Documents (vol. 4, p. 251).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Swearing In of Jerre S. Williams as Chairman, Administrative Conference of the United States. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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