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hst-mjc_naid2839460-01 - 1945-08-17

Transcript Date

CABINET MEETING, FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 1945

The President called the meeting to order and stated that an agenda had been submitted to the Members upon the preceding day, but before entering into the proposed agenda, he asked if the Members wished any other discussion. There was none.

PROPOSED AGENDA

1. Discussion of Message to the Congress, September 4th. Cabinet Members should be prepared to submit ideas to be incorporated in the Message. 2. Any criticisms or suggestions with respect to the report dated August 15, 1945, of the War Mobilization Director, on the subject of reconversion. 3. Discussion of continuation of Selective Service.

MESSAGE TO CONGRESS

SECRETARY BYRNES

Says message should be confined to domestic problems.

SECRETARY VINSON

Message should contain position on consumer goods.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CLARK

Is preparing a brief on agencies to be continued and immediately liquidated. Should include in report to Congress some of consolidations now in mind -- further to be done later. Submitted a written statement of suggestions to be included in the message to Congress which is attached.

POSTMASTER GENERAL HANNEGAN

Should review Roosevelt program. Three parts have been carried out by President. Now reconversion coming up. Should adopt optimistic note on job ahead. Business should be given encouragements and told that taxes are to be adjusted. Statement or risk capital encouraging investments.

SECRETARY FORRESTAL

Investment capital should be encouraged to flow. Private industry should have first responsibility for employment. Must readjust themselves from war to peace. Private industry has to pull up belt again. Appeal to driving force of business and labor and hold that government will not carry major burden. Believes public works should be done on a pay off basis. (T.V.A.)

SECRETARY WALLACE

Tax adjustment is necessary to increase consumption arid encourage investment. Submitted written statement regarding President's message to Congress, which is attached.

ABE FORTAS

Big job to build up national resources, develop and locate substitutes for scarce items. Need for replenishing national wealth.

MAJOR GENERAL FLEMING

Highway program is in good shape to start. Congress should be asked for green light. Public Building program cannot start fast due to limited materials. Submitted report which is attached.

JOHN W. SNYDER

Thought should be given to National Employment Service - this expires three months after peace. Should be continued.

PAUL V. MCNUTT

Agreed with above statement. Transportation of displaced war workers should he covered. By time money is available, workers would have gone home. It is not feasible to carry out this program. Expansion of social insurance should be mentioned.

JOHN B. BLANDFORD

Submitted a written statement on how to aid housing, which is attached.

WM. H. DAVIS

Interim increase in compensation insurance desirable. Discussed severance pay provisions. Use of Presidential powers - legal side covered by Attorney General. Sentence should be included indicating what the powers of this President are in the transition period. Message should be hopeful. It might be stated that anyone who can predict what is going to happen is next six months will be wrong - but we should be alert for big things to come.

REPORT ON RECONVERSION

SECRETARY VINSON

Unemployment compensation - certain that Congress is going to work in earnest. Reversal in opinion on transportation expense of workers back home. Tax front - hopes to have specific recommendations. (President says have got to keep country solvent - if not too bad for tax experts)

SECRETARY BYRNES

Business wants to know what is tax program for 1946. Requires six months to get tax bill through Congress. Reconversion program will be aided if this is done.

POSTMASTER GENERAL HANNEGAN

Agreed with above statement.

SECRETARY FORRESTAL

Agreed with above statement.

SELECTIVE SERVICE

UNDERSECRETARY PATTERSON

Army hopes to discharge five million men in next year. Will leave 2 1/2 to 3 million remaining in Army. Japan is an unknown quantity. Will probably require one million men for occupation. Recruiting prospects not good. Most men want to get out. Will try to make it attractive for volunteers. Think it best to spread burden on broadest possible base. Age limit 18-27 instead 18-35 suggested. Do not have power now to ask for volunteers. President can give it.

LEO CROWLEY

Leave Selective Service as is until the Japanese situation is reviewed. Says can't take position until requirements in Japan are known.

SECRETARY FORRESTAL

Navy believes voluntary enlistments at 17 or 18 desirable. Executive Order 12/5/42 should be maintained. Continuation of Selective Service on basis suggested by Crowley, with inductions up to 25,000 per month. Navy could get by, maybe, on voluntary basis after few months.

POSTMASTER GENERAL HANNEGAN

Against continuance of Selective Service.

SECRETARY VINSON

Does not want to see President and Congress at variance in views. No decision should be made until Congress view is known.

SECRETARY BYRNES

Families want boys home. Why shouldn't boy at home relieve those now in service.

SECRETARY ANDERSON

Recently attended two farm meetings at which women insisted that no more 18 year old boys should go into foreign theatres. Should recruit and supplement with limited service men not overseas during war.

SECRETARY SCHWELIENBACH

Problem of juvenile delinquency. Facing service at 17 causes 14 and l5 year olds to take liberties and violate laws.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CLARK

His own boy would like to go for one year. Agrees that juvenile problem is increasing. Suggests plan to limit enlistment to 1 - 2 years.

SECRETARY WALLACE

Will have to come out for Selective Service for occupation and supporting services. Running low in supply of scientific men. Selective Service should be approached from the viewpoint of the feeling of boys who want in. Educational importance should be considered so that medical and scientific personnel can be trained.

PAUL McNUTT

Without flow into medicine, there will be no doctors five years from now.

MAJOR GENERAL FLEMING

While overseas, boys were eager to have Selective Service continued so they could get home.

ABE FORTAS

Thinks reaction to Selective Service continuance would he met with feeling of revulsion by American people.

JOHN B. BLANDFORD

Thinks age limit should be increased from 18 to 29 minimum.

JOHN W. SNYDER

Morale of troops now in requires continuance of Selective Service so that replacements can be made.

WM. H. DAVIS

People will not continue to support Army and Navy if not convinced that everything is being done to bring boys back as quickly as possible. Believes in stressing voluntary approach.

GENERAL DISCUSSION

THE PRESIDENT

Remarked if Congress wants to sell surplus, he will turn it over to them.

SECRETARY BYRNES

Cautioned President to watch for new surplus bill, (Vinson Bill) which is coming down from Congress. Believes Surplus Property Act should be amended.

LEO CROWLEY

Says Symington has impossible situation in Surplus. The Act should be amended to permit his office to function.