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Letter to the Chairman, House Rules Committee, Concerning the Committee on Fair Employment Practice

June 5, 1945

Dear Mr. Congressman:

I understand that the House Appropriations Committee has deleted from the War
Agencies Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1945, all appropriations for the Fair
Employment Practice Committee.

This action will have the effect of abolishing the Committee and terminating its work without giving
the Members of the House of Representatives an opportunity to vote on the question.

The Fair Employment Practice Committee was originally established before the attack upon us at
Pearl Harbor, and was an integral part of our defense production program. It has continued since
then in one form or another; and has grown steadily in importance. Its work has been based on the
principle that the successful prosecution of the war demands the participation of all available
workers regardless of race, creed or color, and that the policy of the United States was to
encourage all such persons to full participation in the war effort.

The war is not over. In fact a bitter and deadly conflict lies ahead of us. To abandon at this time
the fundamental principle upon which the Fair Employment Practice Committee was established is
unthinkable.

Even if the war were over, or nearly over, the question of fair employment practices during the
reconversion period and thereafter would be of paramount importance. Discrimination in the
matter of employment against properly qualified persons because of their race, creed, or color is
not only un-American in nature, but will lead eventually to industrial strife and unrest. It has a
tendency to create substandard conditions of living for a large part of our population. The principle
and policy of fair employment practice should be established permanently as a part of our national
law.

I understand that one reason assigned for omitting an appropriation for the present Committee is
that a proposal is now before the Congress to establish a permanent and statutory Fair
Employment Practice Commission.

The legislation providing for this Commission is now in the Rules Committee.

Unless it is sent to the floor, the Members of the House will have no opportunity to vote
upon it. The result will be that on July 1st next the principle of fair employment practices will have
been abandoned by the House of Representatives.

I therefore urge the Rules Committee to adopt a rule permitting this legislation to be voted upon by
the Members of the House as quickly as possible.
Very sincerely yours,
HARRY S. TRUMAN


[The Honorable Adolph J. Sabath, Chairman, Rules Committee, House of Representatives]