JULY 10, 1943
TUMBLING DW RANCH, Nev., Friday—Some days ago I found out from the War Production Board what the situation was as regards wool production in this country, and to my surprise I learned that whereas two years ago our problem was one of acquiring enough raw wool to meet our needs, today our bottleneck is machinery.
In the intervening time we built up a government-owned stockpile to meet emergency needs. Two years ago we conserved raw wool by limiting the use of it and by blending it with other fibers. Today the trouble is that we have more demands from the military and for essential and foreign deliveries than our machinery can produce. Therefore, we are trying to increase production through extra hours and extra shifts, but this, of course, is difficult to do. We are now producing all the yardage possible and the effort is being made to preserve that yardage by making all economies possible in the manufacture of essential clothing.
I think some of the criticisms which have come to me about the details of the way this conservation is to be accomplished, should have consideration. Sometimes the people actually in the industry may want some things which are not really as good for the average consumer as they are for the trade, or at least the consumer does not think so. Such consumers' organizations as exist and such individuals as have ideas on what is the best way to conserve yardage and still give people the maximum number of garments, should make it a point to be heard.
I think the officials in the War Production Board are doing a magnificent job and making every effort to meet essential needs, but I do not think the best intentioned people in the world really can know what the people as a whole think unless those people take the trouble to make themselves heard through their own organizations, or as individuals.
I wonder if the privates in various camps throughout this country have been writing to each other saying: "Let's see if we write to Mrs. Roosevelt if she will send us some cookies." First, three boys in the far northwest wrote me, saying they would like a box of cookies from the White House. I sent them. The other day another letter came in from the middle west in which two boys said that various other boys in camp had wives to send them cookies, but they were single and got none. I suppose their mothers or sisters must have been too busy with other members of the family, so they too thought it would be good to get cookies from the White House! I am very glad to send the cookies, but sad to say, my dear boys, if this is a campaign there comes a limit to what the White House can do, and I think my last box of cookies to soldiers, sailors, or marines whom I do not know, has now gone out.