WASHINGTON (Jan. 7)
Guarantee of American citizens is the first goal of the United States, President Truman told a Joint session of Congress today in his State of the Union message.
The President attacked racial, religious and national discrimination as “utterly contrary to American ideals of democracy” and announced that he would send a special message to Congress calling for “effective federal action” on civil rights.
He called for the immediate passage of suitable legislation by Congress to admit “many thousands of displaced persons, still living in camps overseas.” Declaring that the United States should do its share “in caring for homeless and suffering refugees of all faiths,” the President expressed his belief “that the admission of these persons will add to the strength and energy of this nation.”
Of the five goals outlined in his message, the President declared “our first goal is to secure fully the essential human rights of our citizens. “The United States has always had a deep concern for human rights. Religious freedom, free speech and freedom of thought are cherished realities in our land. Any denial of human rights is a denial of the basic beliefs of democracy and of our regard for the worth of each individual,” he said.
Assailing employment and educational discrimination, Mr. Truman stated that “today some of our citizens are still denied equal opportunity for education, for jobs and economic advancement, and for the expression of their views at the polls. Most serious of all, some are denied equal protection under our laws. Whether discrimination is based on race, or creed, or color, or land of origin, it is utterly contrary to American ideals of democracy.
Urging stronger educational, health and social security programs, the President called for establishment of an executive department for their administration and to provide “greater equality of opportunity to all our citizens for an education. Only by so doing,” he emphasized, “can we insure that our citizens will be capable of understanding and sharing the responsibilities of democracy.”