Severe slashes in today's swollen enrollment totals must come in the near future if the University is to make its "maximum contribution to the nation's welfare," President Conant urged yesterday in his annual report to the Board of Overseers.
He advocated a speedy reduction of the present 12,500 figure down to the prewar registration of 8000. By the close of 1950, the size of the College should be between 3500 and 3800, at which time "the special advantages which Harvard can offer an undergraduate will once again be manifest," President Conant asserted.
Citing the Houses as one of these "advantages," he declared that their educational and social potentialities cannot be fully realized "in years of excess numbers."
In his report, President Conant outlined the position of universities in the present postwar period, which he termed an "armed truce," warning that "interference with their freedom as a result of panic" could be "disastrous in effect."
Scholarly activities of a university are founded on a "charter of free inquiry," he pointed out. Any barriers to "an objective analysis of every phase of our national life are not only harmful to the security of the nation, but also delay the "conversion of the present armed truce into a firm and lasting peace."
On the subject of General Education in the College, President Conant stated that he was hoping for a new endowment fund of $10,000,000 in the next five years, the income of which would pay the salaries of teachers added to the staff of the General Education program.