Roosevelt Says War Contracts Must Contain Clause Barring Racial Discrimination

Government contracts must contain a clause outlawing discrimination against employees because of race or creed, President Roosevelt yesterday told Attorney General Frencis Biddle in a strongly worded letter which overruled an opinion of Comptroller General Lindsay C. Warren that the clause need not be included in all cases. The President wrote:

“You have brought to my attention the Comptroller General’s opinion holding that Executive Order 9346 is directive only and not mandatory in requiring insertion in all government contracts of a provision obligating the contractor not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on account of race, creed, color or national origin; and requiring the contractor to include similar contractual provisions in all sub-contracts.

“There is no need for me to reiterate the fundamental principles underlying the promulgation of the executive order, namely, that the prosecution of the war demands that we fully utilize all available manpower, and that the discrimination by war industries against persons for any of the reasons named in the order is detrimental to our national democratic purposes.

“I realize the hesitancy of the Comptroller General to withhold to payments on government contracts in which these provisions have not been included where there is doubt as to whether the order is mandatory. I, therefore, wish to make it perfectly clear that these provisions are mandatory and should be incorporated in all government contracts. The order should be so construed by all government contracting agencies.”

NEXT STORY