THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Presidential Correspondence
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT IN ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHITE HOUSE ELECTRONIC MAIL ACCESS
Part of our commitment to change is to keep the White House in step with today's changing technology. As we move ahead into the twenty-first century, we must have a government that can show the way and lead by example. Today, we are pleased to announce that for the first time in history, the White House will be connected to you via electronic mail. Electronic mail will bring the Presidency and this Administration closer and make it more accessible to the people.
The White House will be connected to the Internet as well as several on-line commercial vendors, thus making us more accessible and more in touch with people across this country. We will not be alone in this venture. Congress is also getting involved, and an exciting announcement regarding electronic mail is expected to come from the House of Representatives tomorrow.
Various government agencies also will be taking part in the near future. Americans Communicating Electronically is a project developed by several government agencies to coordinate and improve access to the nation's educational and information assets and resources. This will be done through interactive communications such as electronic mail, and brought to people who do not have ready access to a computer.
However, we must be realistic about the limitations and expectations of the White House electronic mail system. This experiment is the first-ever e-mail project done on such a large scale. As we work to reinvent government and streamline our processes, the e-mail project can help to put us on the leading edge of progress.
Initially, your e-mail message will be read and receipt immediately acknowledged. A careful count will be taken on the number received as well as the subject of each message. However, the White House is not yet capable of sending back a tailored response via electronic mail. We are hoping this will happen by the end of the year.
A number of response-based programs which allow technology to help us read your message more effectively, and, eventually respond to you electronically in a timely fashion will be tried out as well. These programs will change periodically as we experiment with the best way to handle electronic mail from the public. Since this has never been tried before, it is important to allow for some flexibility in the system in these first stages. We welcome your suggestions.
This is an historic moment in the White House and we look forward to your participation and enthusiasm for this milestone event. We eagerly anticipate the day when electronic mail from the public is an integral and normal part of the White House communications system.
President Clinton Vice President Gore