October 14, 1952
DRAFT OF REMARKS FOR THE PRESIDENT ADVISORY COUNCIL ON FEDERAL REPORTS-October 14, 1952
I am glad to be with you on your tenth anniversary, even if only for a few minutes, to express the appreciation of your Government for the fine work which the Advisory Council on Federal Reports has done in the past decade.
Good statistics are an important tool of management both in business and in Government. Neither could function effectively unless it had at hand a fund of reliable information on which to draw in making important decisions. In many instances business and Government use the same fund of basic information. It is important that that information be as complete and accurate as we can make it. The Council's contribution toward this end has been extremely valuable and I am sure that all of you will continue your fine work in seeking to improve our method of gathering statistics and the manner in which we use them.
This Council is unique in many ways, but principally because it shows the way in which Government and business can sit down together, and with their combined talents, work out problems and procedures that benefit both. From these flow efficiency and economy from which all the American people benefit.
I wish we could somehow get the message across to the American people that such organizations as this Council can and do work effectively here in Washington. Making government more economical and more efficient is essential to the preservation of our democratic institutions. This good work does not make headlines, but it is important just the same.
You members of the council, who have rendered a public service at your own expense, know of the good you have done. During the ten years of its life the Council has helped with problems of providing statistical information to help prosecute a war, with problems of reconversion to peace, and more recently on mobilization for defense. During that time the Government has had to touch-sometimes far more than just touch-the affairs of every business and industry, and the lives of every one of us.
The coordination of all the statistical activities of the government is not easy. To make these statistics more meaningful and useful, while at the same time cutting down the burden on the public and the cost to the Government, has been a problem which has challenged many minds over many generations.
The records show many futile attempts at such coordination, and also at striking a balance between the needs of the Government for information, and the burden on the public of providing that information.
The Federal Reports Act of 1942 which I supported as a member of the Senate (it was sponsored by Senator Murray of Montana and by Representative Patman of Texas in the House) provided the necessary statutory authority to do the job. It has continued to receive my support as President, and I am confident it will be supported enthusiastically during the next administration.
Stuart Rice deserves great credit for the way in which the Act has been administered. To him must go the credit, also, for having conceived the idea of this Council.
The organizations of big business and little business, which sponsor the Council, may be motivated by self interest as well as by impulse for public service in supporting the Council. Self interest in such matters, however, is good, since in this case its purpose is to avoid waste, both in and outside Government. To get the best results from the least dollars is the reason we have been moving with vigor and enterprise in this field, and in our other efforts to improve management.
The statistical coordination with which you are familiar means to you better statistical information or less burdensome reporting. To me, and to the Budget Bureau, it means part of a program of effective management of the government. We have been making a constant effort across the board to improve the Government's methods and procedures, its recruitment and training of personnel, its budgeting, accounting and procurement practices.
These also are jobs that do not make headlines. But they show profits and pay dividends to the nation because they increase government efficiency and reduce costs.
There have been many significant accomplishments in this direction, although much remains to be done. The Government, no less than yourselves in the management of your own organizations and businesses, must be constantly alert to face the new problems that confront all of us. By working together, as we do through the joint efforts of the Advisory Council and the Bureau of the budget, the solutions to these new problems will be far easier to reach.
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