Research Our Records

Transcript of Report of the Presidents Committee on Mental Retardation

MR 72
Islands of Excellence
Report of the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation



The President’s Committee on Mental Retardation, Washington, D.C. 20201

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C.

My dear Mr. President:

It is my pleasure to transmit to you the sixth annual report of the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation. In doing so, I pay tribute to the leadership of Elliot L. Richardson as Chairman during the past two years.

Two major national goals, outlined by you in meeting with the Committee, form the theme of this report:

  • To reduce by half the occurrence of mental retardation in the United States before the end of this century:
  • To enable one-third of the more than 200,000 retarded persons in public institutions to return to useful lives in the community.


The following report, MR 72, Islands of Excellence, presents a number of national, state, regional, and local programs that typify the positive approach to prevention and alleviation of mental retardation.

They are not necessarily the best available – although some are – but each is an example of what can be done throughout the nation. As islands of excellence, they emphasize the point that only a relative few now benefit from current knowledge of human development, biomedical technology, and a respect for human dignity.

One vehicle that promises to expand these benefits is the growing interest in legal rights for the retarded. To further this interest, the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation has called a National Legal Rights Conference to be held in the spring.

Another means to achieve national impact is the potential uncovered by the Federal agency review that the Committee conducted at your request. The review has revealed untapped resources in departments throughout the Federal Government, requiring only coordination and application to retardation to be effective in this field.

We appreciate your leadership in these pressing problems, and look forward to your support and commitment toward continued progress.

Faithfully yours,
[Handwritten]: Casper W. Weinberger
Casper W. Weinberger