Project for a National Advisory Economic Council

February 4, 1938

Report Outline
Roosevelt Plan for a National Economic Council
National Economic Councils in Foreign Countries
Proposals for Economic Council in United States

Roosevelt Plan for a National Economic Council

In a Conference with the Business Advisory Council of the Department of Commerce, January 19, President Roosevelt disclosed that his administration is seeking to establish a national economic council, composed of representatives of the principal economic groups in the population, to aid the Chief Executive and Congress in formulating governmental policy. The President has in mind the creation of a permanent, non-statutory body, of not more than 25 members, to represent business, labor, agriculture, finance, distribution, transportation, investors, and consumers. This council presumably would be charged with the duty of molding the diverse economic interests of the groups it represented into definite polities for the guidance of the President and Congress. At White House conferences during recent weeks the President has canvassed the views of business and labor leaders on the project for an economic council.

President Roosevelt's plan was made known shortly after Chairman Bulkley of the Senate Committee on Manufactures revealed that his committee had been quietly working on plans for a national economic council for more than two years. He announced, January 18, that he would soon call a meeting of representatives of various economic groups to discuss the organization of such a council. In carrying on its studies the Senate committee had received the assistance of an informal committee of about 100 private citizens. The studies had been authorized in a little-known resolution adopted by the Senate in August, 1635.

Government's Need of Cooperation by Economic Groups

Since the slump in business late in 1937, Senator Bulkley said, there had been “a notable and growing recognition of the necessity for cooperation between government and other elements in our national life.” He believed the increasingly complex problems of an increasingly complex civilization necessitated a cooperative approach on the part of “the best, most intelligent, and forward-looking elements, not only in business, labor, agriculture, and finance, but in the physical and social sciences and other fields—in law, engineering, history, medicine, economies, sociology, political science.”

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