Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Harry S. Truman
1945-1953


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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  73. Statement by the President Making Public the First Report of the President's Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces  
April 8, 1949

THE PRESIDENT'S Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces has submitted its first report, entitled "Community Responsibility to Our Peacetime Servicemen and Women." This report confirms my belief that there is an immediate and long-term need for an expansion of existing community activities and services in support of the spiritual and moral well-being of personnel in the Armed Forces.

The number of men and women now serving in our Armed Forces totals over 1,600,000, of whom nearly half are 21 years of age or under. Of the 700,000 individuals who entered service in 1948, over 500,000 were under 21 years of age. It is clear that these are not mature professionals. Actually, many of them soon will be finishing their military service and returning to civilian life; and in the coming years, we can reasonably expect that many others of our young men similarly will be undertaking military training for several years and then returning to civilian life. A sizable percentage of the adult male population already consists of those who, at one time or another, have received formal military training, and this percentage is gradually increasing. In groups, as well as individually, these persons are certain to have a profound effect upon our culture, our society, and our democratic institutions.

We have an obligation to see to it that the training and experiences men and women acquire, while they are serving in the Armed Forces, will help them return to civilian pursuits fully aware of their rights and responsibilities under a democratic form of government, and fully able to assume their proper places in the community as useful, patriotic citizens.

Individual civilians, as well as the military authorities, must face this obligation.

The report of the Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces is the first step in preparing communities for their new responsibilities to the peacetime military establishment. It presents the current facts, states many of our immediate needs, defines the principles, and offers recommendations for the practical purpose of helping local communities to organize and set in operation their own programs for servicemen and Women.

I hope that many of our citizens will take the time to read this report and to consider its recommendations. There is contained within it much that will be helpful to those who are seriously concerned about the effects of military service upon so many of our young citizens.

NOTE: The first report of the President's Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces, entitled "Community Responsibility to Our peacetime Servicemen and Women," is dated March 24, 1949 (Government Printing Office, 1949, 29 pp.).

The president announced his intention to establish the new committee on September 16, 1948, upon making public a report on moral safeguards for Selective Service trainees by the President's Advisory Commission on Universal Training (1948 volume, this series, Item 190).

The President's Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces was established by Executive Order 10013 of October 27, 1948 (3 CFR, 1943-1948 Comp., p. 835). The President named the following members: Frank L. Well, chairman, Basil O'Connor, Rev. Edmund A. Walsh, Dr. Daniel A. Poling, Truman Gibson, Mrs. Ferdinand Powell, Sr., and Dorothy Enderis. In addition Dr. Lindsley F. Kimball was designated by the Secretary of Defense, and Mark A. McCloskey by the Federal Security Administrator.

See also Item 110.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.