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Message to the Congress on the State of the Union and on the Budget for 1947

January 21, 1946

[ Released January 21, 1946. Dated January 14, 1946 ]

To the Congress of the United States:

A quarter century ago the Congress decided that it could no longer consider the financial programs of the various departments on a piecemeal basis. Instead it has called on the President to present a comprehensive Executive Budget. The Congress has shown its satisfaction with that method by extending the budget system and tightening its controls. The bigger and more complex the Federal Program, the more necessary it is for the Chief Executive to submit a single budget for action by the Congress.

At the same time, it is clear that the budgetary program and the general program of the Government are actually inseparable. The president bears the responsibility for recommending to the Congress a comprehensive set of proposals on all Government activities and their financing. In formulating policies, as in preparing budgetary estimates, the Nation and the Congress have the right to expect the President to adjust and coordinate the views of the various departments and agencies to form a unified program. And that program requires consideration in connection with the Budget, which is the annual work program of the Government.

Since our programs for this period which combines war liquidation with reconversion to a peacetime economy are inevitably large and numerous it is imperative that they be planned and executed with the utmost efficiency and the utmost economy. We have cut the war program to the maximum extent consistent with national security. We have held our peacetime programs to the level necessary to our national well-being and the attainment of our postwar objectives. Where increased programs have been recommended, the increases have been held as low as is consistent with these goals. I can assure the Congress of the necessity of these programs. I can further assure the Congress that the program as a whole is well within our capacity to finance it. All the programs I have recommended for action are included in the Budget figures.

For these reasons I have chosen to combine the customary Message on the State of the Union with the annual Budget Message, and to include in the Budget not only estimates for functions authorized by the Congress, but also for those which I recommend for its action.

I am also transmitting herewith the Fifth Quarterly Report of the Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion.1 It is a comprehensive discussion of the present state of the reconversion program and of the immediate and long-range needs and recommendations.

1 The report dated January 1, 1946, and entitled "Battle for Production" is printed in House Document 398 (79th Cong., 2d sess.).

This constitutes, then, as complete a report as I find it possible to prepare now. It constitutes a program of government in relation to the Nation's needs.

With the growing responsibility of modern government to foster economic expansion and to promote conditions that assure full and steady employment opportunities, it has become necessary to formulate and determine the Government program in the light of national economic conditions as a whole. In both the executive and the legislative branches we must make arrangements which will permit us to formulate the Government program in that light. Such an approach has become imperative if the American political and economic system is to succeed under the conditions of economic instability and uncertainty which we have to face. The Government needs to assure business, labor, and agriculture that Government policies will take due account of the requirements of a full employment economy. The lack of that assurance would, I believe, aggravate the economic instability.

With the passage of a full employment bill which I confidently anticipate for the very near future, the executive and legislative branches of government will be empowered to devote their best talents and resources in subsequent years to preparing and acting on such a program.

I. FROM WAR TO PEACE--THE YEAR

OF DECISION

In his last Message on the State of the Union, delivered one year ago, President Roosevelt said:

"This new year of 1945 can be the greatest year of achievement in human history.

"1945 can see the final ending of the Nazi-Fascist reign of terror in Europe.

"1945 can see the closing in of the forces of retribution about the center of the malignant power of imperialistic Japan.

"Most important of all--1945 can and must see the substantial beginning of the organization of world peace."

All those hopes, and more, were fulfilled in the year 1945. It was the greatest year of achievement in human history. It saw the end of the Nazi-Fascist terror in Europe, and also the end of the malignant power of Japan. And it saw the substantial beginning of world organization for peace. These momentous events became realities because of the steadfast purpose of the United Nations and of the forces that fought for freedom under their flags. The plain fact is that civilization was saved in 1945 by the United Nations.

Our own part in this accomplishment was not the product of any single service. Those who fought on land, those who fought on the sea, and those who fought in the air deserve equal credit. They were supported by other millions in the armed forces who through no fault of their own could not go overseas and who rendered indispensable service in this country. They were supported by millions in all levels of government, including many volunteers, whose devoted public service furnished basic organization and leadership. They were also supported by the millions of Americans in private life--men and women in industry, in commerce, on the farms, and in all manner of activity on the home front--who contributed their brains and their brawn in arming, equipping, and feeding them. The country was brought through four years of peril by an effort that was truly national in character.

Everlasting tribute and gratitude will be paid by all Americans to those brave men who did not come back, who will never come back--the 330,000 who died that the Nation might live and progress. All Americans will also remain deeply conscious of the obligation owed to that larger number of soldiers, sailors, and marines who suffered wounds and sickness in their service. They may be certain that their sacrifice will never be forgotten or their needs neglected.

The beginning of the year 1946 finds the United States strong and deservedly confident. We have a record of enormous achievements as a democratic society in solving problems and meeting opportunities as they developed. We find ourselves possessed of immeasurable advantages--vast and varied natural resources; great plants, institutions, and other facilities; unsurpassed technological and managerial skills; an alert, resourceful, and able citizenry. We have in the United States Government rich resources in information, perspective, and facilities for doing whatever may be found necessary to do in giving support and form to the widespread and diversified efforts of all our people.

And for the immediate future the business prospects are generally so favorable that there is danger of such feverish and opportunistic activity that our grave postwar problems may be neglected. We need to act now with full regard for pitfalls; we need to act with foresight and balance. We should not be lulled by the immediate alluring prospects into forgetting the fundamental complexity of modern affairs, the catastrophe that can come in this complexity, or the values that can be wrested from it.

But the long-range difficulties we face should no more lead to despair than our immediate business prospects should lead to the optimism which comes from the present short-range prospect. On the foundation of our victory we can build a lasting peace, with greater freedom and security for mankind in our country and throughout the world. We will more certainly do this if we are constantly aware of the fact that we face crucial issues and prepare now to meet them.

To achieve success will require both boldness in setting our sights and caution in steering our way on an uncharted course. But we have no luxury of choice. We must move ahead. No return to the past is possible.

Our Nation has always been a land of great opportunities for those people of the world who sought to become part of us. Now we have become a land of great responsibilities to all the people of all the world. We must squarely recognize and face the fact of those responsibilities. Advances in science, in communication, in transportation, have compressed the world into a community. The economic and political health of each member of the world community bears directly on the economic and political health of each other member.

The evolution of centuries has brought us to a new era in world history in which manifold relationships between nations must be formalized and developed in new and intricate ways.

The United Nations Organization now being established represents a minimum essential beginning. It must be developed rapidly and steadily. Its work must be amplified to fill in the whole pattern that has been outlined. Economic collaboration, for example, already charted, now must be carried on as carefully and as comprehensively as the political and security measures.

It is important that the nations come together as States in the Assembly and in the Security Council and in the other specialized assemblies and councils that have been and will be arranged. But this is not enough. Our ultimate security requires more than a process of consultation and compromise.

It requires that we begin now to develop the United Nations Organization as the representative of the world as one society. The United Nations Organization, if we have the will adequately to staff it and to make it work as it should, will provide a great voice to speak constantly and responsibly in terms of world collaboration and world well-being.

There are many new responsibilities for us as we enter into this new international era. The whole power and will and wisdom of our Government and of our people should be focused to contribute to and to influence international action. It is intricate, continuing business. Many concessions and adjustments will be required.

The spectacular progress of science in recent years makes these necessities more vivid and urgent. That progress has speeded internal development and has changed world relationships so fast that we must realize the fact of a new era. It is an era in which affairs have become complex and rich in promise. Delicate and intricate relationships, involving us all in countless ways, must be carefully considered.

On the domestic scene, as well as on the international scene, we must lay a new and better foundation for cooperation. We face a great peacetime venture; the challenging venture of a free enterprise economy making full and effective use of its rich resources and technical advances. This is a venture in which business, agriculture, and labor have vastly greater opportunities than heretofore. But they all also have vastly greater responsibilities. We will not measure up to those responsibilities by the simple return to "normalcy" that was tried after the last war.

The general objective, on the contrary, is to move forward to find the way in time of peace to the full utilization and development of our physical and human resources that were demonstrated so effectively in the war.

To accomplish this, it is not intended that the Federal Government should do things that can be done as well for the Nation by private enterprise, or by State and local governments. On the contrary, the war has demonstrated how effectively we can organize our productive system and develop the potential abilities of our people by aiding the efforts of private enterprise.

As we move toward one common objective there will be many and urgent problems to meet.

Industrial peace between management and labor will have to be achieved--through the process of collective bargaining--with Government assistance but not Government compulsion. This is a problem which is the concern not only of management, labor, and the Government, but also the concern of every one of us.

Private capital and private management are entitled to adequate reward for efficiency, but business must recognize that its reward results from the employment of the resources of the Nation. Business is a public trust and must adhere to national standards in the conduct of its affairs. These standards include as a minimum the establishment of fair wages and fair employment practices.

Labor also has its own new peacetime responsibilities. Under our collective bargaining system, which must become progressively more secure, labor attains increasing political as well as economic power, and this, as with all power, means increased responsibility.

The lives of millions of veterans and war workers will be greatly affected by the success or failure of our program of war liquidation and reconversion. Their transition to peacetime pursuits will be determined by our efforts to break the bottlenecks in key items of production, to make surplus property immediately available where it is needed, to maintain an effective national employment service, and many other reconversion policies. Our obligations to the people who won the war will not be paid if we fail to prevent inflation and to maintain employment opportunities.

While our peacetime prosperity will be based on the private enterprise the government can and must assist in many ways. It is the Government's responsibility to see that our economic system remains competitive, that new businesses have adequate opportunities, and that our national resources are restored and improved. Government must realize the effect of its operations on the whole economy. It is the responsibility of Government to gear its total program to the achievement of full production and full employment.

Our basic objective--toward which all others lead--is to improve the welfare of the American people. In addition to economic prosperity, this means that we use social security in the fullest sense of the word. And people must be protected from excessive want during old age, sickness, and unemployment. Opportunities for a good economy and adequate medical care must be readily available. Every family should build a decent home. The new economic rights to which I have referred on previous occasions is a charter of economic freedom which seeks to assure that all who will may work toward their own security and the general advancement; that we become a well-housed people, a well-nourished people, an educated people, a people socially and economically secure, an alert and responsible people.

These and other problems which may face us can be met by the cooperation of all of us in furthering a positive and well-balanced Government program--a program which will further national and international well-being.

II. THE FEDERAL PROGRAM


INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS


I. FOREIGN POLICY

The year 1945 brought with it the final defeat of our enemies. There lies before us now the work of building a just and enduring peace.

Our most immediate task toward that end is to deprive our enemies completely and forever of their power to start another war. Of even greater importance to the preservation of international peace is the need to preserve the wartime agreement of the United Nations and to direct it into the ways of peace.

Long before our enemies surrendered, the foundations had been laid on which to continue this unity in the peace to come. The Atlantic meeting in 1941 and the conferences at Casablanca, Quebec, Moscow, Cairo, Tehran, and Dumbarton Oaks each added a stone to the structure.

Early in 1945, at Yalta, the three major powers broadened and solidified this base of understanding. There fundamental decisions were reached concerning the occupation and control of Germany. There also a formula was arrived at for the interim government of the areas in Europe which were rapidly being wrested from Nazi control. This formula was based on the policy of the United States that people be permitted to choose their own form of government by their own freely expressed choice without interference from any foreign source.

At Potsdam, in July 1945, Marshal Stalin, Prime Ministers Churchill and Attlee, and I met to exchange views primarily with respect to Germany. As a result,