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Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Providing Hospital Care for Indian Patients in New Mexico.

October 31, 1949

I HAVE today signed S. 2404, a bill that authorizes an appropriation of $ 1,500,000 for the purpose of cooperating with the county of Bernalillo, State of New Mexico, in the construction at Albuquerque of a general hospital which will provide and make available when required not less than 100 beds for Indian patients, in addition to facilities which will be available to other patients. This measure also provides that, pursuant to a prescribed formula, the Federal Government will reimburse the hospital for treatment accorded indian patients.

I wish to express my full approval of the basic objective of this legislation, which is to encourage the integration of hospital facilities for the care of Indians and non-Indians in the same community.

I regret that in the last days of the recent session the Congress saw fit to delete from the bill, without discussion on the floor of either House, the meritorious provisions which would have guaranteed complete protection for Indian patients against possible future discriminatory practices. I am informed, however, that the Department of the Interior, in administering the funds authorized by this measure, will be able to make adequate contractual provisions guaranteeing fair and equal treatment to Indian patients. Likewise, assurances have been received from county officials to the effect that no forms of discrimination or segregated services were ever intended, nor will they be permitted, in the operation or maintenance of the hospital. Moreover, I am advised that at a recent meeting the All-Pueblo Council, representing most of the Indians directly affected by this legislation, voted to recommend favorable action on this bill in its present form.

With these assurances in mind, I have given my approval to this measure, fully confident that in accomplishing the desirable objectives of this legislation, fair and equal treatment will be accorded all patients of the hospital.

Note: As enacted, S. 2404 is Public Law 438 (63 Stat. 1049).

Harry S. Truman, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Providing Hospital Care for Indian Patients in New Mexico. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230304

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