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Presidential Executive Orders

Executive Order 10924 - Establishment of the Peace Corps, 1961
By President John F. Kennedy
Aug 10, 2006, 4:00pm



On March 1, 1961, President Kennedy issues an Executive Order creating the Peace Corps. Three days later, Sargent Shriver is appointed its first director. - Peace Corps
On March 1, 1961, President Kennedy signed this executive order establishing the Peace Corps. On September 22, 1961, Congress approved the legislation that formally authorized the Peace Corps. Goals of the Peace Corps included: 1) helping the people of interested countries and areas meet their needs for trained workers; 2) helping promote a better understanding of Americans in countries where volunteers served; and 3) helping promote a better understanding of peoples of other nations on the part of Americans.

The founding of the Peace Corps is one of President John F. Kennedy's most enduring legacies. Yet it got its start in a fortuitous and unexpected moment. Kennedy, arriving late to speak to students at the University of Michigan on October 14, 1960, found himself thronged by a crowd of 10,000 students at 2 o'clock in the morning. Speaking extemporaneously, the Presidential candidate challenged American youth to devote a part of their lives to living and working in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Would students back his effort to form a Peace Corps? Their response was immediate: Within weeks, students organized a petition drive and gathered 1,000 signatures in support of the idea. Several hundred others pledged to serve. Enthusiastic letters poured into Democratic headquarters. This response was crucial to Kennedy's decision to make the founding of a Peace Corps a priority. Since then, more than 168,000 citizens of all ages and backgrounds have worked in more than 130 countries throughout the world as volunteers in such fields as health, teaching, agriculture, urban planning, skilled trades, forestry, sanitation, and technology.

On October 14, 1960, at 2:00 a.m., Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy stands on the steps of the Michigan Union at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. In an impromptu speech, he challenges them to give two years of their lives to help people in countries of the developing world.
Peace Corps


Executive Order 12137--The Peace Corps

By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Peace Corps Act, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2501-2523) and Section 301 of Title 3 of the United States Code, and as President of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

1-1. Peace Corps.

1-101. The Peace Corps, which was established as an agency in the Department of State pursuant to Executive Order No. 10924 of March 1, 1961 (26 FR 1789), which was continued in existence in that Department under the Peace Corps Act (the "Act") pursuant to Section 102 of Executive Order No. 11041 of August 6, 1962 (27 FR 7859), and which was transferred to and continued as a component of ACTION by Executive Order No. 11603 of June 30, 1971 (36 FR 12675), shall be an agency within ACTION pursuant to the provisions of this Order.1

1-102. All references to the "Director" in Part 1-1 of this Order shall refer to the Director of the Peace Corps for whom provision is made in Section 4(a) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2503).

1-103. Exclusive of the functions otherwise delegated by or reserved to the President by this Order, and subject to the provisions of this Order, there are hereby delegated to the Director all functions conferred upon the President by the Act and by Section 2(b) of Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1971.

1-104. The function of determining the portion of living allowances constituting basic compensation, conferred upon the President by Section 201(a) of Public Law 87-293 (26 U.S.C. 912(3)), is hereby delegated to the Director and shall be performed in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury.

1-105. The functions of prescribing regulations and making determinations (relating to appointment of Peace Corps employees in the Foreign Service System), conferred upon the President by Section 5 of Public Law 89-135 (79 Stat. 551), are hereby delegated to the Director.

1-106. The functions of prescribing conditions, conferred upon the President by the second sentence of Section 5(e), as amended (22 U.S.C. 2504(e)), and the third proviso of Section 6 of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2505) (relating to providing health care in Government facilities) and hereinabove delegated to the Director, shall be exercised in consultation with the head of the United States Government agency responsible for the facility.

1-107. The reports required by Section 11 of the Act, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2510), shall be prepared by the Director and submitted to the Congress through the President.

1-108. Subject to applicable provisions of law, all funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the President for carrying out the provisions of the Act shall be deemed to be allocated without any further action of the President to the Director or to such subordinate officer as the Director may designate. The Director or such officer may allocate or transfer, as appropriate, any of such funds to any United States Government agency or part thereof for obligation or expenditures thereby consistent with applicable law.

1-109. Nothing in this Order shall be deemed to impair or limit the powers or functions vested in the Secretary of State by the Act.

1-110. The negotiation, conclusion, and termination of international agreements pursuant to the Act shall be under the direction of the Secretary of State.

1-111. Any substantial change in policies in effect on the date of this Order for the utilization of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, pursuant to Section 7 of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2506), shall be coordinated with the Secretary of State.

[Sec. 1-111 amended by Executive Order 12292 of Feb. 23, 1981, 46 FR 13967, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 134]

1-112. The Director shall consult and coordinate with the Director of ACTION to assure that the functions delegated to the Director by this Order are carried out consistently with the functions conferred upon the Director of ACTION by the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 4951 et seq.), ("Volunteer Service Act"), Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1971 and this Order.

1-2. The Peace Corps Advisory Council. [Revoked]

[Sec. 1-2 revoked by Executive Order 12399 of Dec. 31, 1982, 48 FR 379, 3 CFR, 1982 Comp., p. 236]

1-3. Reservation of Functions to the President.

1-301. There are hereby excluded from the delegations made by Section 1-1 of this Order the following powers and functions of the President: (a) All authority conferred by Sections 4(b), 4(c)(2), 4(c)(3), 10(d), and 18 of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2503(b), (C)(2), (C)(3), 2509(d), and 2517). (b) The authority conferred by Section 4(a) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2503(a)) to appoint the Director and the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps. (c) The authority conferred on the President by Section 5(f)(1)(B) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2504(f)(1)(B)). (d) The authority conferred by Section 10(f) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2509(f)) to direct any agency of the United States Government to provide services, facilities, and commodities to officers carrying out functions under the Act. (e) The authority conferred by Section 19 of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2518) to adopt and alter an official seal or emblem of the Peace Corps.

1-4. Incidental Provisions.

1-401. Persons appointed, employed, or assigned under Section 7(a) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2506(a)) shall not, unless otherwise agreed by the agency in which such benefits may be exercised, be entitled to the benefits provided by Section 310 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 3950) in cases in which their service under the appointment, employment, or assignment exceeds thirty months.

[Sec. 1-401 amended by Executive Order 12292 of Feb. 23, 1981, 46 FR 13967, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 134]

1-402. Pursuant to Section 10(d) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 2509(d)), it is hereby determined to be in furtherance of the purposes of the Act that functions authorized thereby may be performed without regard to the applicable laws specified in Section 1 and 2 of Executive Order No. 11223 of May 12, 1965, and with or without consideration as specified in Section 3 of that Order, but subject to the limitations set forth in that Order.

1-403. As used in this Order, the words "Volunteers," "functions," "United States," and "United States Government agency" shall have the same meanings, respectively, as they have under the Act.

1-5. National Voluntary Action Program.

1-501. The National Voluntary Action Program to encourage and stimulate more widespread and effective voluntary action for solving public domestic problems, established in the Executive Branch of the Government by Section 1 of Executive Order No. 11470 of May 26, 1969, is continued in ACTION. That program shall supplement corresponding action by private and other non-Federal organizations such as the National Center for Voluntary Action. As used in this Order, the term "voluntary action" means the contribution or application of non-governmental resources of all kinds (time, money, goods, services, and skills) by private and other organizations of all types (profit and nonprofit, national and local, occupational, and altruistic) and by individual citizens.

1-6. Director of ACTION.

1-601. In addition to the functions vested in the Director of ACTION by the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C., Section 4951 et seq.), Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1971, and Section 1-401 of this Order, the Director of ACTION shall:
(a) Encourage local, national and international voluntary activities directed toward the solution or mitigation of community problems.
(b) Provide for the development and operation of a clearinghouse for information on Government programs designed to foster voluntary action.
(c) Initiate proposals for the greater and more effective application of voluntary action in connection with Federal programs, and coordinate, as consistent with law, Federal activities involving such action.
(d) Make grants of seed money, as authorized by law, for stimulating the development or deployment of innovative voluntary action programs directed toward community problems.

1-602. The head of each Federal department and agency, or a designated representative, when so requested by the Director of ACTION or the Director of the Peace Corps, shall, to the extent permitted by law and funds available, furnish information and assistance, and participate in all ways appropriate to carry out the objectives of this Order, the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 and Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1971.

1-603. The head of each Federal department or agency shall, when so requested by the Director of ACTION, designate a senior official to have primary and continuing responsibility for the participation and cooperation of that department or agency in matters concerning voluntary action.

1-604. The head of each Federal department or agency, or a designated representative, shall keep the Director of ACTION informed of proposed budgets, plans, and programs of that department or agency affecting voluntary action programs.

1-605. Under the direction of the President and subject to the responsibilities of the Secretary of State, the Director of ACTION shall be responsible for the general direction of those ACTION functions, which jointly serve ACTION domestic volunteer components and the Peace Corps, and for advising the Director of the Peace Corps to ensure that the functions delegated under this Order to the Director of the Peace Corps are carried out.

1-7. General Provisions.

1-701. Except to the extent that they may be inconsistent with this Order, all determinations, authorizations, regulations, rulings, certifications, orders, directives, contracts, agreements, and other actions made, issued or entered into with respect to any function affected by this Order and not revoked, superseded, or otherwise made inapplicable before the effective date of this Order shall continue in full force and effect until amended, modified, or terminated by appropriate authority.

1-702. Except as otherwise expressly provided herein, nothing in this Order shall be construed as subjecting any department, establishment, or other instrumentality of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government or the head thereof, or any function vested by law in or assigned pursuant to law to any such agency or head, to the authority of any other agency or head or as abrogating, modifying, or restricting any such function in any manner.

1-703. So much of the personnel, property, records, and unexpended balances or appropriations, allocations, and other funds employed, used, held, available, or to be made available in connection with the functions assigned to the Director of the Peace Corps or to the Director of ACTION by this Order as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall determine, shall be transferred to the Director of the Peace Corps or the Director of ACTION at such time or times as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall direct.

1-704. To the extent permitted by law, such further measures and dispositions as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall deem to be necessary in order to effectuate the provisions of this Order shall be carried out by such agencies as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall specify.

1-705. The authority conferred by Sections 1-703 and 1-704 of this Order shall supplement, not limit, the provisions of Section 1-108 of this Order.

1-706. Executive Order Nos. 11041, 11250, 11470 and 11603 are hereby superseded.

1-707. This Order shall become effective May 16, 1979.

Source: NARA

The provisions of Executive Order 12137 of May 16, 1979, appear at 44 FR 29023, 3 CFR, 1979 Comp., p. 389, unless otherwise noted.
Citation: Executive Order 10924, Establishment and Administration of the Peace Corps in the Department of State, March 1, 1961; General Records of the United States Government; Record Group 11; National Archives.




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