July 14, 1983

One item of business we'll be taking care of before we get underway in the Cabinet meeting, and that is the signing of this Executive order today. It's a symbol of the commitment of this administration to do everything it can to keep alive the American dream for all of our citizens. And this is an Executive order that has to do with more Federal involvement in Federal contracts for minority-owned businesses.

Now, while our program for minority business development is important, it's by no means the most important of our efforts to promote this American dream for all our citizens. But beginning in the late sixties, on the very heels of the breakdown of legal racial barriers, the economy entered a period of contraction. And what it amounted to was that just when they achieved the rights to buy a ticket on the train -- the economic train that they'd seen going by -- got on the train, it started going backward.

So, this has been a problem. The actions taken, the proposals that have been made by this administration are designed to get the train moving again. And the signs are clear now that our program is working. And in addition, because of the progress of the 1960's and this administration's firm commitment to protect the human rights and the economic freedom of all Americans, the passenger list is going to look a little different when the train starts rolling ahead this time.

So, without any further ado, I am delighted to sign this Executive order.

Note: The President spoke at 1:12 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. Cabinet members and reporters were present to observe the signing ceremony. The President then met with the Cabinet.