AUGUST 28, 1961
NEW YORK—The Administration's bill to create a U.S. disarmament agency, now under consideration by members of Congress, is a matter of the greatest importance, I feel, to all of us.
The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, chairman of the Senate Disarmament Subcommittee. As one who knows this whole field perhaps better than anyone else, Senator Humphrey realizes that at a time of increased international tensions, such as now, there is a tremendous need for efficient coordination of disarmament policy making and effective preparation for disarmament negotiation. He is therefore fully aware of the need for one agency with the responsibility for America's disarmament research and planning activities. He feels strongly that the public should know more about these needs, and I think we should accept his judgment and be willing to examine the proposals made in the Administration's bill.
In the House an identical bill was introduced last June by Dr. Thomas E. Morgan, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Senate sponsoring group included four Republicans. In the House only one Republican sponsor evidently could be found, which worries me a little because apparently the public is not well enough informed on this subject to have been in touch with their congressmen and made them understand that the establishment of a disarmament agency for world peace and security affects all the people of the United States regardless of party.
In his inaugural address President Kennedy pointed out: "Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human life." If we go on as we are moving today, the chance of an accidental war brought on by the mistaken use of a nuclear weapon is very great. If the arms race continues, I see no end but destruction for our civilization. Hence the establishment of this agency seems to me important to every man, woman and child in the United States. I urge all to communicate with their representatives in Congress and tell them of their vital interest.
No one likes to back something without adequate knowledge, so there are certain things we should know about this proposed new agency. It will be the focal point for all U. S. disarmament efforts within the government. It will participate in the formulation of overall policy in areas related to disarmament—such as basic national security policy, strengthening of the peace-maintaining machinery of international institutions, and procedures for the settlement of international disputes and the reduction of tensions among nations.
Here are four things the agency will be responsible for:
1. The conduct, support and coordination of research for disarmament policy formulation.
2. The preparation for and direction of United States participation in international negotiations in the disarmament field.
3. Dissemination and coordination of public information concerning disarmament.
4. The preparation and operation of any international control system that might become part of U.S. disarmament activity.
These are some of the essentials for us to know in order to form our own opinions and urge on our Representatives favorable action.
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New York, which often sets the pattern for other cities, has established a 40-hour week for all its uniformed forces. The move, initiated by Mayor Wagner and confirmed by the Board of Estimate, applies to 24,000 regular policemen and 13,000 firemen, 2,000 correction officers, 900 Transit Authority policemen and 600 Housing Authority policemen, without any change in salary. The Mayor also announced that, effective January 1, maximum vacation allowances of 27 days for uniformed city workers would go into effect after three years instead of eight. There will also be no limitations on pay for overtime work.
These moves are designed, of course, to raise the morale of the uniformed forces. This is just as important as the increase in the number of men, for a man who is not happy in his work and does not feel that he is being treated fairly will never do a good job.