Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Harry S. Truman

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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  299. Statement by the President on Establishing the Committee on Government Contract Compliance  
December 3, 1951

I HAVE today signed an Executive order creating the Committee on Government Contract Compliance.

The purpose of this order is to secure better compliance by contractors and subcontractors with certain provisions now required in their contracts with the U.S. Government. For nearly 10 years it has been mandatory to include in such contracts a clause obligating the contractor to practice nondiscrimination in the performance of his contract. The clause specifically forbids discrimination because of race, creed, color, or national origin; relates to the various aspects of employment; and extends to subcontracts as well as to original contracts.

The inclusion of this nondiscrimination clause in Government contracts has been helpful in reducing the practice of discrimination. In the past, however, compliance has not been secured by any system of uniform regulation, or inspection, common to all the contracting agencies of the Federal Government, and widely understood by contractors and their employees.

The present order is designed to correct this deficiency. It places the primary responsibility for securing compliance with the nondiscrimination clause with the head of each contracting agency of the Federal Government. This is as it should be, for this is where the primary responsibility rests for securing compliance with contractual provisions generally. The same means used to obtain compliance generally can be used by the contracting agencies to obtain compliance with the nondiscrimination clause. The Committee will be expected to examine and study the compliance procedures now in use and to recommend to the department and agency heads changes that will strengthen them. As part of its functions, the Committee may confer with interested persons. Recommendations of this Committee are subject to review under certain conditions by the Director of Defense Mobilization, so that our efforts towards eliminating discrimination in employment will at all times aid in increasing defense production.

The creation of this Committee on Government Contract Compliance is one more. step in the program I have undertaken to use the powers conferred on the Executive by the Constitution and the statutes to eliminate the practice of discrimination in connection with activities of the Federal Government. The Fair Employment Board of the Civil Service Commission carries this responsibility with respect to the Federal Government as an employer. The President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services pointed the way toward ending discrimination in our fighting forces. In fulfilling a contract with the Federal Government a contractor should follow the national policy of equal treatment and opportunity. It is my hope and my belief that the Committee on Government Contract Compliance will show us the way.

NOTE: The President referred to Executive Order 10308 "Improving the Means for Obtaining Compliance with the Nondiscrimination Provisions of Federal Contracts" (3 CFR, 1949-1953 Comp., p. 837).
The statement was released at Key West, Fla.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.