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Archives - State Agencies - Council of Defense

Governor Lynn Frazier appointed a provisional defense council for North Dakota on April 25, 1917, in response to President Woodrow Wilson's call for creation of state defense councils to coordinate war preparations in the states. The North Dakota Council of Defense was later reorganized as authorized under legislation passed by the 1918 Special Session of the State Legislature (S. L. 1918, Ch. 5). The North Dakota Council of Defense consisted of the Governor, Attorney General, and twelve gubernatorial appointees, each representing one of twelve judicial districts in the state.
The purpose of the Council of Defense was to assist the federal government in the prosecution of the war against the Central Powers and to support and protect the interests of North Dakota service men and women. The Council's war work included promotion of food production in the state by advocating cultivation of idle land and planting of increased acreage; enforcement of the Soldiers and Sailors Moratorium Act (which prohibited foreclosure on property owned by servicemen, S. L. 1918, Ch. 10); distribution of U.S. government war propaganda films; service as agent for the War Industries Board and supervision over all building projects that required materials needed for war purposes; and cooperation with war work of the American Red Cross, Liberty and Victory Loan bond sales, Y.M.C.A., and other patriotic organizations and programs. The North Dakota Council of Defense discontinued its operations six months after the signing of the armistice ending World War One.


1917                       Governor Frazier appoints a provisional defense council.
1918                       State Legislature reorganizes and names the group the North Dakota Council of Defense in a special session of the Legislature.
1918                       Legislature enforces the Soldiers and Sailors Moratorium Act (S. L. 1918, Ch.10).
1918                       Council participates in the sale of Liberty and Victory bonds.
1919                       Council discontinued six months after November 11, 1918, Armistice Day.


30143  Minutes of the Executive Committee.
30145  Reports of the Film Department.
30146  Financial Records.

Gray, David P. Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.

The State Defense Council was created by a proclamation issued by Governor John Moses on June 2, 1941. Organized in response to the federal government's call for establishment and coordination of state and local civil defense activities, the State Defense Council was responsible for identifying and mobilizing North Dakota's civil defense resources. State Defense Council committees covered a wide range of civil defense areas and included a Fire Defense Committee, a Medical Division, a Warden's Division, Health Committee, Salvage Committee, Recreation Committee, Agriculture and Victory Gardens Committee, Public Welfare Committee, Nutrition Committee, Education Committee, Service to Servicemen Committee, and the Civil Air patrol. Late in 1942, the State Defense Council drafted legislation for submission to the State Legislature authorizing an appropriation to support the work of the Council.

The State Defense Council was given statutory authorization in 1943 (S. L. 1943, Ch. 191). The reorganized Council consisted of the Governor, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor, and twelve others appointed by the Governor. The purpose of the State Defense Council was to coordinate civil defense activities and "to defend the State, protect public peace, health, and safety, and preserve the lives and property of the people of the State." The State Defense Council had the authority to establish local civil defense councils in the state to provide for civil defense activities on the local or county level. The State Defense Council was terminated on March 1, 1946.

With the beginning of the Korean War, a Governor's Advisory Committee on Civil Defense was organized on August 8, 1950, to plan for the civil defense needs of the state. Legislation in 1951 (S. L. 1951, Ch. 228) created the North Dakota Civil Defense Council consisting of the Governor, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor, and twelve others appointed by the Governor. The North Dakota Civil Defense Council functioned in a manner similar to the North Dakota State Defense Council.

The North Dakota Civil Defense Council was discontinued in 1961 and responsibility for civil defense was transferred to the Civil Defense Advisory Council (consisting of the Governor as chairman, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and the Adjutant General) and the State Civil Defense Division (S. L. 1961, Ch. 248). The State Civil Defense Division was incorporated as a division of the office of the Adjutant General in 1965 and was designated as the Division of Disaster Emergency Services in 1973. The Civil Defense Advisory Council was discontinued in 1971 (S. L. 1971, Ch. 345).

1941-1951            North Dakota Defense Council.
1951-1961            North Dakota Civil Defense Council.
1961-1971            Civil Defense Advisory Council.
1965                       Administration of civil defense programs were assumed by Adjutant General.
1973                       Creation of the division of Disaster Emergency Services.

Record Series
30706  North Dakota State Defense Council Minutes.
30922  Ledger.

Gray, David P.  Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.

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