AUGUST 17, 1945
NEW YORK, Thursday—There seems to be an increasing interest in the removal of all war restrictions, as indicated by articles that I have read lately in the press. I feel, however, that we should give some of these restrictions very careful consideration. Of necessity, for quite some time to come, there is going to be very little to buy. If we remove such restrictions as, for instance, price ceilings and rationing, the people who have money will pay high prices for what they want. Those who have little money will first spend all their savings and then be unable to buy their fair share of the necessities of life.
It seems to me much fairer to continue our war restrictions on the things that are really necessary, like food and clothing and household utensils, so that we may all share alike in the supply that does exist. In the matter of machinery, it seems to me again advisable to have restrictions that will direct: 1—The making of machinery, first, for the manufacture of those things which are most essential to getting people back to work; 2—The conversion at once of factories needed for the greater production of farm machinery. That machinery should be obtained as soon as possible, in our own interests and in the interests of the rest of the world. As things become more plentiful, finally, the OPA could reduce ration points until eventually they are eliminated.
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So far I have pointed out only the very evident facts about our own needs in this country. But it is not possible to think only about ourselves. For a year, at least, I believe we will also need to consider what is essential in certain foreign nations, so that people may restore health and strength, and go to work in rebuilding their own resources.
The German people at the close of the European war were a well-fed nation. In the coming winter they will taste some of the hardships which they meted out to other nations during the war. That is as it should be, and I have less concern for what will happen in Germany during one year of hardship than I have about the countries like France, Italy, Holland and all the other conquered nations. They have had long years of starvation diet and hardship of every kind. If they are again to become strong and valuable assets in the family of nations, now is the time for us to pull in our belts and share with them. If this is true of Europe, it will be true in some ways, also, in the Far East.
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This is no charity on our part. It is good, hard, economic common sense. Great Britain is planning to continue her controls and restrictions. If her people, who have gone through many more military and economic hardships than we have, can endure for a little longer in the interest of mankind as a whole, I think we can do the same.