Presidential Advisory Commissions

Archive Report

Proliferation on Panels

Kissinger, Hunger: Latest in Long Line

Two advisory commissions make long-awaited reports to President Reagan this month, probably within a few days of each other. First come the Kissinger Commission's findings and recommendations on U.S. relations with Central America, followed by the report of the Task Force on Food Assistance, studying the problem of hunger in America.1 These commissions are typical of the dozens of “blue-ribbon” panels appointed by presidents over the years to examine contemporary issues. Some historians trace the use of commissions to George Washington's presidency. Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to use them extensively, and their prevalence and importance have grown along with the burgeoning federal government of the 20th century. The names of several commissions are familiar to ...

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