Box 3, Folder 17, Document 84

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February 20, 1969


I'm sure that by now you have all seen news reports on the President's
long-awaited statement regarding the future of the Office of Economic
Opportunity. I believe all of us at OFO, the operators of our programs
in the field, our supporters among the general public and most of all

the poor whom we seek to serve should be gratified at the course charted
by the Administration's newly announced anti-poverty policy.

President Nixon's statement to Congress of February 19 represents in
every important aspect an endorsement of much of the work OEO has
done over the past 4 years. But, of even greater significance, is the
President's recognition that a major effort still lies ahead to redeem
the lives and hopes of America's poor. As the President put it:

"From the experience of OFO, we have learned
the value of having in the Federal Government
an agency whose special concern is the poor.

We have learned the need for flexibility,
responsiveness, and continuing innovation. We
have learned the need for management effective-

As I see it the key points in the President's message are these:

1, OFO will continue, under that name and within the
Executive Office of the President. The President
will propose to Congress that OFO's authorization
for appropriations be extended for one year to
June 30, 1970.

Zz. Later this year, the President will send to Congress
a "comprehensive proposal for ‘the future of the
poverty program" which he will propose to become
effective July 1, 1970.


3. Head Start will be delegated to the Office of
the Secretary of the Department of Health,
Education and Welfare, effective July 1, 1969.

4, Job Corps will be delegated to the Department
of Labor effective July 1, 1969, with the
Departments of Interior and Agriculture
retaining operating responsibility for conservation

5. Preparations will be made for the eventual transfer
of the Comprehensive Health Centers and Foster
Grandparents programs to HEW.

6. The "vital'' Community Action Program will be
pressed forward, and CAAs will continue to be
involved in the operation of programs at the local
level, even though such programs may be delegated
to other Departments at the national level.

There will, of course, be difficulties as we seek to carry out the
administrative changes the President wishes, as Congress performs
its legislative duties and even as we at OFO meet our continuing
responsibilities to the poor. These, however, are difficulties inherent
in the transition process, rather than difficulties of substance affecting
the continuation of programs and their impact on the poor. As such
they are difficulties I am confident can be effectively resolved.

The overriding question for the past few months has been the continuation
of OFO's mandate to help the poor out of poverty. That mandate is now in
hand and I think all of us concerned with the plight of America's poor are
heartened and ready to push forward our common cause.

During the past four years OFO has made major strides toward erasing
poverty. But some 22 million poor remain with us, so there is much
still to be done. In essence we now have the Presidential support to
get on with the job.

ABtwnd %, bhoand—a

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