Gardner, John W.


1975 TLS on Common Cause letterhead to the Commandant of the Army War College


Autograph ID: 6743
Condition: Very good, penned docket at top right. IMAGE NOTE: letter has NO dark area at bottom
Description:“(1912-2002) Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) under Lyndon Johnson, 1965-68. Graduate of Stanford and U. C. Berkeley, early in WW II, he led the Latin American Section, Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service. He joined the Marines and was assigned to the OSS serving in Italy and Austria. In 1955 he became president of the Carnegie Corp. and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He also was an advisor to the US delegation to the UN and a consultant to the US Air Force. He was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and of the Educational Testing Service, and a director of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. He served as chairman of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Panel on Education and was chief draftsman of its report, “The Pursuit of Excellence”. He was founded 2 influential national organizations: Common Cause (1970) and Independent Sector. He was founded 2 prestigious fellowship programs, The White House Fellowship and The John Gardner Fellowship at Stanford University and U. C. Berkeley. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. Gardner’s term as Secretary of HEW was at the height of Johnson’s Great Society domestic agenda. During this tenure, the Department undertook the huge task of launching Medicare, which brought quality health care to senior citizens, and oversaw significant expansions of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that redefined the federal role in education and targeted funding to poor students. Gardner resigned as head of HEW because he could not support the war in Vietnam. In 1967, he presided over the creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 1980-1983 he co-founded Independent Sector, which lobbies and does PR on behalf of tax-exempt organizations in order to retain the charitable deduction. He wrote “To Turn the Tide” (1962),
“No Easy Victories” (1968), “In Common Cause” (1972), “On Leadership” (1990), etc.

TLS on 8 x 5 letterhead as Chairman of Common Cause, Washington, June 18 1975, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith, Commandant, Army War College. Gardner is sorry he cannot accept General Smith’s invitation to lecture at the AWC. The subject is of great interest, he would be honored to open the series, however his schedule is completely jammed and he must decline.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization (“the people’s lobby”) dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy: to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process. Common Cause serves as an independent voice for change and a watchdog against corruption and abuse of power through grassroots organizing, coalition building, research, policy development, public education, lobbying and litigation to win reform at all levels of government. John Gardner, Common Cause’s founder, wrote: “The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable and keep them honest. No one else can.”

DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the US Army and commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. He was wounded 3 times and awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged in 1946, he returned to active duty for the Korean War and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion executive officer and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He commanded a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.”

Type: Letter

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