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Statement by the President Upon Signing the First and Second Supplemental Appropriation Acts, 1952.

November 02, 1951

I HAVE signed H.R. 5215 and H.R. 5650, the First and Second Supplemental Appropriation Acts of 1952, providing additional funds for carrying on activities of the Government.

These appropriations were requested for essential mobilization activities and for important programs contributing to our national security. I regret, however, that these bills fall seriously short of providing adequate funds for a number of vital activities.

The amount appropriated for civil defense is tragically insufficient. Out of a total of $535,000,000 originally requested the Congress has seen fit to grant only $74,945,000. The program for protective shelters was completely eliminated, and serious reductions were made in funds for the stockpiling of emergency supplies and equipment. Other important functions such as procurement, research, public information, and technical guidance will have to be greatly reduced. Civil defense is a vital part of our mobilization effort. It is reckless to evade, under the pretense of economy, the national responsibility for initiating a balanced Federal-State civil defense program.

I do not believe anyone can rightfully challenge the overwhelming importance of our defense production and economic stabilization programs during this emergency period. Nevertheless, the Budget estimates for these activities were reduced 37 percent. This action comes at a time when controls over scarce materials require complicated regulation and when, as the result of the recent amendments to the Defense Production Act, the stabilization program has been made much more difficult to administer. There is no economy in shortchanging these programs. Without adequate appropriations for these activities we cannot maintain our production schedules, and all of us will pay for this lack of foresight through a higher cost of living.

Community facilities such as schools, sewerage lines, and water purification systems are basic to the development of housing for defense workers. Out of $25,000,000 requested for these purposes the Congress appropriated only $4,000,000. We just cannot meet defense production goals without funds for facilities and services which in many cases only the Federal Government is able to finance.

The inadequacy of the funds made available by these bills threatens other programs of major importance to our national security objectives. For example, plans for strengthened enforcement of our immigration laws cannot be carried out. The proposed monitoring program of the Federal Communications Commission in connection with the air defense of the United States and Alaska will have to be discarded. The initial programs of the National Science Foundation for training additional scientists and encouraging research must be drastically reduced.

I am greatly concerned by this indirect nullification of our laws which results from the action taken by the Congress on these and a number of other appropriation bills. It avails us little to enact legislation if its purposes are to be frustrated by lack of adequate appropriations. We, of course, will do our best to operate as effectively as possible within the limitations of presently available funds. However, I will continue to ask Congress for the balanced appropriations which are necessary for our national security and well-being. There are no bargain basements where we can pick up America's security at cut-rate prices.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 5215 is Public Law 253, 82d Congress (65 Stat. 736), and H.R. 5650 is Public Law 254, 82d Congress (65 Stat. 760).

Harry S Truman, Statement by the President Upon Signing the First and Second Supplemental Appropriation Acts, 1952. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231236

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