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Full 'Gas' Rationing Dec. 1 Ordered by the President

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« on: November 28, 2009, 02:54:56 pm »

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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2009, 02:55:37 pm »

Full 'Gas' Rationing Dec. 1 Ordered by the President
He Calls on Jeffers and Henderson to Carry Out Program Fought in Congress, Saying Need to Save Rubber Is Acute President Insists on Fuel Rationing


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Washington, Nov. 26--President Roosevelt served notice tonight that, Congressional upheavals and sectional objections notwithstanding, the government must and would begin the nationwide rationing of gasoline to conserve rubber on Dec. 1, as scheduled.

"We must do everything within our power," the Chief Executive stated, "to see that the program starts Dec. 1, because victory must not be delayed through failure to support our fighting forces."

This admonition was contained in identical letters sent by the President to William M. Jeffers, Rubber Director of the War Production Board, and to Leon Henderson, Price Administrator. He stated the case briefly but bluntly, and soon key civilian and military officials in the fields of war production and domestic economy swung into action, taking turns in broadcasts notifying the people of the country that, despite resistance at the Capitol, where a large, segment of the Congress is demanding at least postponement of general gasoline limitations, the restrictions would be imposed.

The President's Letter

The text of the President's letter follows:

"Following submission of the Baruch Rubber Report to me in September, I asked that mileage rationing be extended throughout the nation. Certain printing and transportation problems made it necessary to delay the program until Dec. 1.

"With every day that passes, our need for this rubber conservation measure grows more acute. It is the Army's need and the Navy's need. They must have rubber. We, as civilians, must conserve our tires.

"The Baruch Committee said: 'We find the existing situation to be so dangerous that unless corrective measures are taken immediately this country will face both a military and civilian collapse. In rubber we are a have-not nation.'

"Since then the situation has become more acute, not less. Since then our military requirements for rubber have become greater, not smaller. Since then many tons of precious rubber have been lost through driving not essential to the war effort. We must keep every pound we can on our wheels to maintain our wartime transportation system.

"We must do everything within our power to see that the program starts Dec. 1 because victory must not be delayed through failure to support our fighting forces."

Jeffers in Nation-Wide Plea

Mr. Jeffers, responding to the President's letter in a country-wide broadcast a few hours later, charged that untruths were being told to obscure the necessity for the impending rationing of motor fuel oil to force drastic reductions in mileage of non-essential travel.

Meanwhile, in a joint broadcast, Mr. Henderson, Robert P. Patterson, Under-Secretary of War, and Rear Admiral Claude A Jones, the Navy's assistant chief of Procurement and Materials, emphasized that the program must go through, and replied to objections raised during the campaign which has obtained widespread Congressional backing.

The distorted story of mileage rationing, Mr. Jeffers said, was being circulated, particularly among the people of the West and Midwest where gasoline is plentiful, with "trimmings" and "local embellishments," all for the single purpose, he held, of making the average American overlook the basic facts about our rubber situation.

This was being done, he alleged, so that "some downtown merchants and some gasoline jobbers" might "continue to enjoy business-as-usual."

Declares Facts "Are Simple"

"The facts," Mr. Jeffers said, "are simple. With only a trickle of new rubber coming in, with our synthetic rubber plants still in construction, we are going to have to get along on the rubber we have. That means that the vast majority of our 27,000,000 passenger cars and 5,000,000 trucks are going to have to run from now until mid-1944 on the tires now in use.

"That's the reason, and the only reason, for the entire rubber conservation programs. That's the reason nationwide gasoline rationing will go into effect Dec. 1. That's the reason for the thirty-five-mile speed limit and for periodic tire inspection."

Mr. Jeffers, too, turned to the Baruch Report, as did the President and quoted this:

"'Gas rationing is the only way of saving rubber. Every way of avoiding this method was explored, but it was found to be inescapable. This must be kept in mind: the limitation of the use of gasoline is not due to shortage of that commodity--it is wholly a measure of rubber saving. That is why it must be nation-wide."

"That statement," Mr. Jeffers said, "continues to be true. I have seen no suggestion by anybody that offers any hope of saving rubber by any other method."

The rubber director said that he was not concerned about "the business-as-usual fellows" except as their activities imperiled the progress of the war by "misleading the man in overalls."

"The man in overalls is the man I am concerned about," he said, and continued:

"That man is the plain, ordinary citizen, who wants to do a good patriotic job, the man in the factory, the man on the farm, the housewife, the business man, the American citizen-- in other words, who does a day's work and who is the most important unit in our home- front picture."

Such persons, Mr. Jeffers charged, were being told that if they did not oppose mileage rationing they would be unable to go to work and back.

"That simply isn't true," he said. "The entire purpose of mileage rationing is to insure they will get to work and back, not just this month and next but in the months to come.

'Enough Gasoline for Worker'

"The worker can obtain enough gasoline for his necessary driving. The farmer can obtain enough for getting his produce to market. Every citizen can get enough gasoline for essential driving.

"But there we have to stop. Non-essential driving is one of the luxuries all of us will have to give up for the duration.

"The people are being told that the 35-mile speed limit will save all the rubber that is necessary. That isn't true. The wheels can be driven off an automobile at 35 just as well as at 60. It merely takes longer."

Those of an organized opposition to the program, Mr. Henderson declared, were banded together to oppose our keeping faith with our fighting men. Powerful and self-seeking groups, he held, were working through whispering campaigns as well as the printed word.

"We are here tonight," he said, speaking for himself, Under-Secretary Patterson and Admiral Jones, "to answer these men who would **** America's future, not for a mess of pottage, but for a gallon of gasoline."

Then he announced bluntly:

"I wish to state here and now that nation-wide mileage rationing will definitely go into effect Dec. 1, 1942. My authority is a letter which I have just received from the President of the United States."

Mr. Patterson warned that if transportation bogged down, plane and tank production would break down. Those who would risk crippling transportation, he added, took a chance of crippling the fighting forces.

"Every day," said Admiral Jones, "we in the Navy are haunted by the realization that every tire not used for absolute essential driving will have to be replaced in some manner by additional rubber that the Navy needs--needs for things like life rafts; yes, the kind that saved Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. To save the wear on a tire may mean the saving of a life."

Rather than giving their own answers to some of the objections raised against the mileage rationing program, the speakers read replies direct from the Baruch report.

"I feel positive," Mr. Henderson said, "that if the President of the United States, the War Production Board, and the War and Navy Departments have accepted the judgment of the Baruch report that nation-wide mileage rationing is the surest, wisest method to prevent a real rubber catastrophe, then the people of Indiana, Michigan, Arkansas, Texas and other States will also accept that judgment rather than the falsehoods being spread by these self-seeking pressure groups.

"And the West will learn what the East already knows by experience, that mileage rationing really insures essential transportation."

Opponents Press Arguments

By The Associated Press

Washington, Nov. 26--President Roosevelt's stand on nationwide gasoline rationing in effect repeated pleas of members of Congress from oil-producing and other Western States outside the existing rational area of the East that extension of rationing be delayed from 90 days to six months pending a trial of voluntary tire-saving schemes.

Representative Boren of Oklahoma, a leader in the Congressional movement to block nationwide rationing, termed the President's order "a dangerous error."

"Nobody is more favorable to rationing rubber than I am," Mr. Boren commented, "but I feel that rationing gasoline for the purpose of conserving rubber is a dangerous error.

"I still say that rationing gasoline, excused on the ground of conserving rubber, is comparable to rationing water to save coffee, or amputating a leg to cure a toothache."

Mr. Boren said that the only recourse would be legislation, and that a special Congressional committee probably would meet tomorrow to decide whether to seek Congressional action to block rationing.

Representative Wickersham of Oklahoma declared that he was "still interested in the furtherance of the war effort above everything else," but added:

"I still firmly believe, upon the evidence compiled by our committee in the past ten days, that the nationwide gasoline rationing program as proposed by Mr. Henderson will hinder rather than help the war effort."

Big Football Crowds Cited

Cleveland, Nov. 26 (AP)--Crowds at recent football games in the Midwest "did not indicate that people were taking the rubber shortage seriously," the regional OPA office here asserted today, replying to critics of the OPA's mileage rationing program.

"Ohio State and Illinois played to an estimated 68,000 in Cleveland," the OPA added. "Notre Dame and Michigan drew a crowd of 57,000 in South Bend. People did not walk to these games. Traffic conditions in the host cities indicated that they rode to and from on critical rubber."

Texas Rationing Aide Named

Houston, Texas, November 26 (AP)--State OPA officials today put C. J. Crampton in charge of Harris County gasoline rationing after Chairman Raymond Elledge of the rationing board stated that this city faced a complete shutdown if the program went into effect Tuesday. Mr. Crampton is assistant manager of the Houston Chamber of Commerce.

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