JANUARY 2, 1946
EN ROUTE TO LONDON, Tuesday—President Truman's veto of the bill which carried as a rider the return of the U.S. Employment Service to the states, impressed me not only as a courageous action but as showing a real understanding of the procedure which should govern legislation.
The president said he acted on the ground that the rider was attached to a bill which had nothing to do with employment and because of the harm it would do to the employment situation. This seems to me a statesman's pronouncement.
This is not only the act of a president who is conscious of the importance of the methods used in carrying out what our representative form of government considers the will of the people, but shows also a grasp of the human situation involved in this legislation.
Slowly and painfully during the past years the U.S. Employment Service has struggled up to a position where it really has the potentiality of being of real value to the country. Given adequate appropriations by Congress, the U. S. [originally: U.S.] Employment Service can keep in touch with its offices all over the country. It can know where there is a need for manpower or womanpower and, at the same time, it can know where the available people needing work are to be found.
It can ascertain and publish what skilled labor we have in the country,what unskilled labor, what farm labor is available and where workmen needed in urban communities can be found. It can be the motivating force behind schools for retraining men who have had one skill developed in wartime and must now acquire another.
It can be the source from which the public can keep itself informed as to conditions in the labor field, for the public needs to know what lies back of labor unrest which ends in strikes. It can be the watchdog to prevent discrimination because of sex, race or religion. It can see that opportunities in this country are really equal for every person according to that person's abilities. It should work closely with the Fair Employment Practices Committee when that committee becomes a permanent part of our government.
The USES has a great job to do for the people of the nation. It has done it badly sometimes in the past. Because appropriations have been inadequate, investigations even of the simplest kind have not been made. That has led many to feel that they could not trust the workers where such meagre information was furnished by the people themselves and no investigation made. In spite of this great weakness, however, the USES has a chance to grow, has a chance to be a great force for social good in every community in the nation.
Returning this service to the control of the various states would make it impossible for any coordinated information, covering the country as a whole, to be available. In the coming months this coordinated information is going to be of great value to the men returning from service, and for that reason alone, I am more than grateful that the President has had the courage and the statesmanship to send this veto message.