Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; Blandford, John Bennett, 1897-1972; Schwellenbach, Lewis B. (Lewis Baxter), 1894-1948; Forrestal, James, 1892-1949; Vinson, Fred M., 1890-1953; Wallace, Henry A. (Henry Agard), 1888-1965; Fleming, Philip B. (Philip Bracken), 1
Cabinet meetings; Military readiness; Nuclear weapons; Public health

Cabinet Meeting Minutes, September 7, 1945. Matthew J. Connelly Papers - Notes on Cabinet Meetings I.

CABINET MEETING, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1945.

PROPOSED AGENDA

1. Further discussion of universal military training.
2. Health

MILITARY TRAINING

THE PRESIDENT

The President asked for further discussion of military training. He requested members to submit opinions in writing.

SECRETARY WALLACE

Stated the atomic bomb development changed effectiveness from week to week and believes it is necessary to maintain scientific research on atomic energy.

SECRETARY FORRESTAL

Discussed the question of training. Navy has misgivings on effectiveness of such training and many are of the opinion that the training should be continued over a period of months on an uninterrupted basis.

THE PRESIDENT

Agreed that this subject was open to argument. Stressed, however, the importance of acting quickly in order to take advantage of public opinion. He believes that the longer the matter is delayed the more forceful would become the exponents of passivism [pacifism] and isolationism.

LEO CROWLEY

Agreed to the necessity for the continuance of research development on the atomic bomb and other lethal weapons. In view of the advancements in scientific development, people of the Midwest will not understand why conscription is necessary. He believes that conscription would indicate a lack of confidence in our Allies and universal military training program would set up policy for next fifty years. Thinks it is a step toward what most people left Europe for--to get away from militarism. Raised the question as to why it would be necessary for the United States to be called upon to police the world.

THE PRESIDENT

Stated that other nations also have the ability to devise new weapons. Stated that in order to carry out a just decision the courts must have Marshalls. In other words any decision requires the power to insure its application.

LEO CROWLEY

Stated that in his opinion, international agreements on loans will achieve the results desired on an economic basis.

THE PRESIDENT

Reminded Crowley that in order to collect monies for county governments it has been found necessary to employ a sheriff.

LEO CROWLEY

Believed it would be wiser for this country to spend the money necessary for conscription on a program of world education.

SECRETARY STIMSON

Believes American youth will accrue many benefits in education, health, and citizenship after having had experience in military discipline.

WILLIAM H. DAVIS

Agreed with Wallace on the necessity for continuing research and development.

JOHN B. BLANDFORD

Raised the question as to what a third World War would be like. In view of the lack of knowledge thereof, raised the additional question as to whether any proposed program developed at this time would become obsolete before it became effective.

SECRETARY VINSON

Believed that we should continue to have stones in our pockets. Recalled that the viewpoint expressed by Crowley existed in the 1920's and contributed materially to the cause of World War II.

SECRETARY SCHWELLENBACH

Recalled that in 1923 it was said that there was no need for an infantry in the event of a World War II. History proved otherwise.

SECRETARY VINSON

Recalled "ifs" in appropriations for the USS Washington and the USS North Carolina. Also referred to a lack of vision when appropriations were requested for the dredging of a harbor at Guam. Believes that the President must continually be alert to the dangers of any return to the thinking of the early 1920's.

SECRETARY FORRESTAL

Believes that it is dangerous to depend on documents or gadgets, as these instruments do not win wars.

SECRETARY STIMSON

Attitude of other countries towards the United States must be considered. If they judge the American people by motion pictures, they will think us a frivolous nation. Recalled the attitude of Japan in 1915 when she began to spread out in the Far East--then recessed for ten years when she first became aware of our national strength. To maintain leadership and to prevent misunderstanding nothing will convince other nations more than a willingness on the part of our youth to submit to military training. We must be serious about world citizenship. Is certain that the true attitude of the people of the United States is not what the opponents of universal training say.

HEALTH

THE PRESIDENT

This country is now suffering because of economic and war conditions. Recited that the shortage of facilities and doctors affects the health of our nation. Pointed out that concentration in large centers of medical personnel and facilities reacts against the interests of smaller communities. If it were feasible, he would like to have a redistribution of medical facilities for the benefit of the average man. He believes there is a need for a real program. The day of the country doctor has gone and specialization has taken over. Promised to send a memorandum to members on this subject and wants it thoroughly discussed by the members as it is an alarming situation.

SECRETARY SCHWELLENBACH

Believed that any health training program should be divided into two parts: (1) Released military doctors should be directed to needy areas. (2) The remaining features of such a program should be considered separately.

GENERAL FLEMING

Pointed out that doctors would not go to areas where there are no hospitals and stressed the need for an adequate hospital program.

SECRETARY VINSON

Believed that many opportunities to encourage training of doctors were being cut off by the limitation imposed on candidates by the medical schools themselves. Believed that the requirements should be lowered to encourage additional medical training.

SECRETARY WALLACE:

Believed it desirable to concentrate on those members of the Armed forces who have had no practice prior to military service. There are some 20,000 of these men.

LEO CROWLEY

Emphasized that medical education has proven too expensive for state universities. Recited factors relating to cost of medical education such as internship, research, laboratory equipment and hospital facilities.

SECRETARY VINSON

Placed the blame definitely on the American Medical Association. Charged that there existed a white list of doctors in certain hospitals. Medical men who did not appear on that list cannot serve in those hospitals even though their services are available.

LEO CROWLEY

Disagreed with this and said that standards must not be lowered.


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