President States Fair Employment Practice Committee Not Shorn of Powers

President Roosevelt said at his press conference today that he very much doubted that the Committee on Fair Employment Practice had been subordinated to the War Manpower Commission under the new set-up announced this week. The Committee’s job is to fight discrimination against minorities in the Government service and war industries.

The WMC on Tuesday made public a letter from the President to its chairman, Paul V. McNutt, telling him that the Committee had been transferred to his jurisdiction. Previously the Committee had been directly responsible to the President. According to the letter, the Committee will be preserved as an entity within the Commission.

At his press conference, the President said he had just received a memorandum on the subject last night and had not yet gone into it. Some members of the Committee and its staff have been uneasy about the Committee’s transfer, charging that it had been obtained by Southern members of Congress Known for their anti-Negro and anti-Semitic attitude. Members of the Committee’s staff said that the President had only recently asked them to draft a plan expanding their powers, budget and personnel. This was done, but apparently the plan was rejected.

The President’s letter to McNutt said he felt that the Committee’s coordination with the WMC was essential to “the complete utilization of our human resources in the war effort.” Within the past two months the minority group’s branch of the War Production Board’s labor division has also been transferred to the WMC.

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