|95. Letter to the Chairman of the President's Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces|
April 27, 1950 |
Dear Mr. Well:
I heartily approve the present efforts of the President's Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces to stimulate community organization on behalf of the men and women of our armed forces.
I know that the American people today feel a great friendship for the individual in the uniform of his country's defense forces. The problem now at hand is to encourage civilians in areas near military installations to translate that friendship into active religious and recreational programs that will encourage each serviceman to participate in the wholesome life of the community.
The predominantly youthful and civilian character of our large peacetime armed forces makes it imperative that all sections of the community join these programs. Churches, synagogues, social welfare groups, veterans organizations, fraternal societies, women's dubs, cultural and entertainment groups, educational interests, labor unions, business associations, civic clubs, municipal government, youth groups--all these and many more ought to open their doors and their hearts to the young servicemen in a strange town,
I am glad that the Committee, with the help of the large private voluntary agencies, is going to take its program to the people in communities near military installations. Once the American people know the facts, they can be counted on to respond with vigor, determination, and eventual success.
Very sincerely yours,
HARRY S. TRUMAN
[Mr. Frank L. Well, Chairman, The President's Committee on Religion and Welfare in the Armed Forces, Washington, D.C.]
NOTE: Mr. Weil's letter, dated April 24, was released with the President's reply.
In his letter Mr. Weil stated that the recent deactivation of United Service Organizations had left unfinished the important task of encouraging local communities to provide programs for the spiritual, moral, and recreational welfare of servicemen and women,
"We are convinced," he said, "that some national assistance is needed to help local communities make full use of their own resources to meet the needs of these men and women. Thus, we are asking all interested national organizations to join with the President's Committee in bringing information, assistance and support to the approximately 120 local communities near military installations. We have asked these organizations to make available to us staff personnel who can work with our staff in encouraging and helping local communities and organizations operate a program for the spiritual and moral welfare of servicemen ....
"Plans have been completed for periodic reports to communities of progress and activities in other communities, so that as our field personnel bring back information on programs and activities in the areas they have visited, the information can be made available to other communities."
The letter announced that the Committee had prepared a booklet, entitled "Community Planning for the Peacetime Serviceman," for distribution to interested community leaders and military officials. See also Item 32.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.