More About The New Peace Corps Report

It should be noted that when Shriver and the others were developing the “Peace Corps” in the Mayflower Hotel it was Sarge who held the position that Peace–not Development–that was the overriding purpose, and the process of promoting it was necessarily complex. So the Peace Corps should learn to live with complexity that could not be summed up in a single proposition. Finally, the Task Force agreed on three.

Goal One:  It can contribute to the development of critical countries and regions.

Goal Two: It can promote international cooperation and goodwill toward this country.

Goal Three: It can also contribute to the education of America and to more intelligent American participation in the world.

On the morning of Friday, February 24, 1961, Shriver delivered the report-the Peace Corps Magna Carta-to Kennedy and told him: “If you decide to go ahead, we can be in business Monday morning.”

It had taken Shriver, Wofford, Wiggins, Josephson and the other members of the Mayflower Task Force, less than a month to create what TIME Magazine would call that year “the greatest single success the Kennedy administration had produced.” On March 1, 1961, President Kennedy issued an Executive Order establishing the Peace Corps.

Today, as we see, from this Report to the Peace Corps as we reach 50 years we are still debating what the Peace Corps is all about. As Sarge Shriver thought all those years ago, “the tension between competing purposes is creative, and it should continue.”

Thanks, Sarge, for all those sleepless nights!

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  • I don’t think ‘The Sarge’ said Peace not development. He may have said no development, but didn’t say Peace instead of development. It was not and has never been the overriding purpose of PC. It is used a lot as an excuse. This is where the beliefs developed.

    I’m sure ‘The Sarge’ had ideas and they had to be worked out, but aside from families, politics and legacy legislation funding; there is little value in trying to put a belief at the core of something that is the opposite. PC has become much more that one idea and I’m sure the legacy legislation lobby and funding will go on regardless of who said what back in 1960.

    PC is much more than Kennedys, ‘The Sarge’, the Shrivers, democrats and the others who claim it. Maybe they can rest and we can still keep the legacy legislation funding?

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