On March 1, 1961, within two months of taking office, President John F. Kennedy issued executive order 10924 for the Establishment and Administration of the Peace Corps in the Department of State. In September of the same year, Congress approved and funded the program with the passage of the Peace Corps Act. The declared purpose of the program was as follows: "To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower."
Besides providing technical assistance, the other two goals of the Peace Corps were to help people outside the United States understand the culture of the United States, as well as to help Americans understand the culture of other countries.
The creation of the Peace Corps is one of President John F. Kennedys most popular and enduring legacies. Although the idea had been previously promoted and two forerunner bills had been introduced, neither passed in Congress. But they caught the attention of then Senator Kennedy. During his presidential campaign, in front of a crowd of 10,000 at the University of Michigan, Kennedy challenged the students to devote themselves to living and working in the Third World as volunteers in everything from agriculture, health, teaching, and sanitation to technology. The response of the youth of America to this challenge was immediate and intense. They organized petition drives, sent enthusiastic letters of support to the Democratic Party, and convinced Kennedy to make the founding of a Peace Corps a lynch pin in the creation of his New Frontier.
By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Mutual Security Act of 1954, 68 Stat. 832, as amended (22 U.S.C. 1750 et seq.), and as President of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:
SECTION 1. Establishment of the Peace Corps. The Secretary of State shall establish an agency in the Department of State which shall be known as the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps shall be headed by a Director.
SEC. 2. Functions of the Peace Corps. (a) The Peace Corps shall be responsible for the training and service abroad of men and women of the United States in new programs of assistance to nations and areas of the world, and in conjunction with or in support of existing economic assistance programs of the United States and of the United Nations and other international organizations.
(b) The Secretary of State shall delegate, or cause to be delegated, to the Director of the Peace Corps such of the functions under the Mutual Security Act of 1954, as amended, vested in the President and delegated to the Secretary, or vested in the Secretary, as the Secretary shall deem necessary for the accomplishment of the purposes of the Peace Corps.
SEC. 3. Financing of the Peace Corps. The Secretary of State shall provide for the flnancing of the Peace Corps with funds available to the Secretary for the performance of functions under the Mutual Security Act of 1954, as amended.
SEC. 4. Relation to Executive Order No. 10893. This order shall not be deemed to supersede or derogate from any provision of Executive Order No. 10893 of November 8, 1960, as amended, and any delegation made by or pursuant to this order shall, unless otherwise specifically provided therein, be deemed to be in addition to any delegation made by or pursuant to that order.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
THE WHITE HOUSE,
March 1, 1961.