Statement by the President Making Public a Report by the Civil Rights Committee

Harry S Truman

Citation Information:Harry S Truman, “Statement by the President Making Public a Report by the Civil Rights Committee,” October 20, 1947. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States. January 1 to December 31, 1947. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1963, #215.

THE PRESIDENT’S Civil Rights Committee has just submitted its report. I am going to read and study this report with great care and I recommend to all my countrymen that they do the same thing.

I created this Committee with a feeling of urgency. No sooner were we finished with the war than racial and religious intolerance began to appear and threaten the very thing we had just fought for.

In times past, when our American freedoms were threatened, groups of our citizens banded together and set out on paper the principles they felt would preserve freedom and the kinds of action that would defend freedom.

The Declaration of Independence was that kind of document, and I notice that the title of this report is taken from the Declaration of Independence. I hope this Committee has given us as broad a document as that—an American charter of human freedom in our time.

The need for such a charter was never greater than at this moment. Men of good will everywhere are striving, under great difficulties, to create a worldwide moral order, firmly established in the life of nations. For us here in America, a new charter of human freedom will be a guide for action; and in the eyes of the world, it will be a declaration of our renewed faith in the American goal—the integrity of the individual human being, sustained by the moral consensus of the whole Nation, protected by a Government based on equal freedom under just laws.

The members of this Committee are busy men and women. We all owe them a debt of gratitude. I feel I am speaking for all Americans when I thank them for their unselfish, devoted service.

NOTE: The Committees report is entitled “To Secure These Rights”