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Statement Announcing Establishment of the Council for Rural Affairs

November 06, 1969

SHORTLY after I became President, I established a new Cabinet-level Urban Affairs Council to help me develop an overall strategy for meeting the problems of the cities and to coordinate the wide variety of government efforts in this area. It is a fact of our national life that the concerns of rural America also deserve more careful consideration and more effective coordination at the highest levels of government.

We are a nation of cities, to be sure, but we are also a nation of small towns and villages, farms and forests, mines and ranches, mountains and rivers and lakes. The people who live in rural America have urgent problems which deserve our attention. More importantly, they represent a great resource upon which all of us Can draw.

It is for these reasons that I am announcing today the establishment of a new Rural Affairs Council at the Cabinet level. The Council will meet next week for the first time. The following officials will join me as members of the Council: The Vice President, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, the Secretary of Labor, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

It is to this Council that the Task Force on Rural Development will submit its report and recommendations.

As I announce the formation of the Rural Affairs Council, I would note several facts which underscore the importance of its work. It is shocking, for example, to discover that at least one-third of the housing in rural America is presently substandard. It is disturbing to realize that more than 3 million rural Americans have not completed 5 years of school. It is disheartening to see that one-third of our rural communities with a population over 1,000 have no public sewage facilities.

It is also important to note that the population of our country is likely to grow by 50 percent in the next 30 years. Where these next hundred million persons locate is a tremendously important question for our society. After an era in which people have moved steadily from the countryside to large and crowded cities, we must now do what we can to encourage a more even distribution of our population throughout our country. The Rural Affairs Council can help our Nation to meet this challenge by helping rural America, once again, become an area of opportunity.

Note: Executive Order 11493 of November 13, 1969 establishes the Council for Rural Affairs.

The White House Press Office released the text of a news briefing on the establishment of the Council for Rural Affairs by Secretary of Agriculture Clifford M. Hardin.

An announcement of the appointment of John R. Price, Jr., as Executive Secretary of the Council for Urban Affairs and the Council for Rural Affairs is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, P. 1700).

Richard Nixon, Statement Announcing Establishment of the Council for Rural Affairs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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