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Statement on Signing Executive Order Establishing the Council for Urban Affairs

January 23, 1969

THE ESTABLISHMENT of the President's Urban Affairs Council is an historic occasion in American Government. Half a century ago the census of 1920 revealed that a majority of Americans had come to live in cities. But only decades later did the American National Government begin to respond to this changed reality. By 1960, 70 percent of the population was urban and today probably 73 percent is.

For all this, the American National Government has responded to urban concerns in a haphazard, fragmented, and often woefully shortsighted manner (as when the great agricultural migrations from the rural South were allowed to take place with no adjustment or relocation arrangements whatever). What we have never had is a policy: coherent, consistent positions as to what the National Government would hope to see happen; what it will encourage, what it will discourage.

Having a policy in urban affairs is no more a guarantor of success than having one in foreign affairs. But it is a precondition of success. With the creation of the Urban Affairs Council we begin to establish that precondition: the formulation and implementation of a national urban policy.

NOTE: The Council for Urban Affairs was established by Executive Order 11452 of January 23, 1969•

A White House announcement concerning the creation and membership of the Council is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, P- 161).

At a White House news briefing following the Council's first meeting Dr. Daniel P. Moynihan, Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs and Executive Secretary of the Council, announced the formation of nine subcommittees of the Council, each to be chaired by a Cabinet officer. Dr. Moynihan also announced the formation of an interim staff committee under the chairmanship of Budget Director Robert P. Mayo to work out plans for transition to a peacetime economy at the end of the Vietnam conflict.

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing Executive Order Establishing the Council for Urban Affairs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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