Interdepartmental Committees in the National Administration

Interdepartmental Committees in the National Administration

Interdepartmental Committees in the National Administration

Interdepartmental Committees in the National Administration

Excerpt

The period on which this study is focussed primarily involves the years 1933 to 1937, or, roughly, the first administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Many of the committees which were appointed between 1933 and 1937 have now completed their tasks and have disbanded. Others are still functioning. Moreover, a number of interdepartmental committees now in active operation were appointed before Franklin Roosevelt took office, some of them as long as 15 or 20 years before. Still other committees, some of them of considerable importance, have been appointed since 1937. In a word, we are dealing here with an extremely fluent aspect of administration. Any period selected for study would necessarily be somewhat arbitrary. This book will deal only with those interdepartmental committees which functioned actively between 1933 and 1937, regardless of when they were appointed or whether they have now been abolished.

The reader's indulgence must be asked with regard to the many passages in the study which show the awkwardness of trying to pin down situations essentially dynamic. The description of a committee's activity at any given time is subject to change along lines which cannot always be accurately forecast. Even more confusing to the reader, perhaps, are my efforts to bring my material up to date in the face of the administrative reorganizations continually taking place in the national government. The personnel of interdepartmental committees changes continually, and the agencies represented on particular committees may overnight be reorganized, absorbed into other agencies, or even abolished. This sort of change is bound to take place in precisely those areas of administration in which coordination is needed. The use of integrating machinery, such as the interdepartmental committee, itself implies a need for readjustment of administrative relationships.

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