John W. Snyder Oral History Interview, January 10, 1968

Oral History Interview with
John W. Snyder

Secretary of the Treasury in the Truman Administration, 1946-53. Other Federal positions once held include Executive Vice-President and Director, Defense Plant Corporation, 1940-43; Assistant to the Director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 1940-44; Federal Loan Administrator, 1945; Director, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, 1945-46. Secretary Snyder has been a longtime close friend of Harry S. Truman beginning with their service in the U.S. Army Reserves after World War I.

Washington, D.C.,
January 10, 1968
By Jerry N. Hess

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This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened September, 1970
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

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Oral History Interview with
John W. Snyder

Washington, D.C.,
January 10, 1968
By Jerry N. Hess

HESS: Mr. Snyder, what stands out in your mind concerning the period of time that you spent as Federal Loan Administrator?

SNYDER: Mr. Hess, my two and a half months as Federal Loan Administrator was about the busiest, shortest, most satisfying of any period of similar length of my life. I was appointed Federal Loan Administrator on April 17, 1945. As you have pointed out, it was the first major appointment made by President Truman. The Senate confirmed my appointment on April 27th, and I was sworn in on April 30th. The public reception to the announcement of the appointment ranged from "Who is he?" to those that were highly favorable. I am happy to say that the large majority fell in the latter class. The business community particularly accepted it as a good omen that Mr. Truman had appointed a

banker for a banker's job. As I still had hopes of getting back to St. Louis and taking up my bank work in the First National Bank there, I got busy at once to accomplish many of the things that I had felt should be done in recognizing the RFC and the Federal Loan Administrator's job for peacetime operation. I had been in and out of the RFC operation for nearly ten years beginning back in 1937 as manager of the loan agency in St. Louis. In 1940 I was called to Washington to help organize the RFC for handling its defense programs. It was at that time that a wartime expansion of RFC resulted from the establishment of a number of subsidiary corporations that carried out specific wartime functions up until the present time. By the present time, I naturally refer to the time of my appointment as Federal Loan Administrator.

In the first week of May the war was

obviously approaching its end, and with it, the RFC's major contribution to the war effort would be finished. I had long felt that there should be a contraction of war agencies as soon as practicable, and I had discussed it at great length with Jesse Jones, with members of Congress, and with many others before I became Loan Administrator. With this in mind, it was one of my initial major undertakings as Federal Loan Administrator. I immediately began plans for streamlining the program of the RFC. I discussed it again with a number of those in Congress who were particularly interested in the RFC operations, and with Mr. Jones, and with the President. They all were in complete agreement that the five large subsidiaries that had been created for defense and war purposes should be absorbed by the parent corporation. To be absorbed were the Rubber Reserve, Metals Reserve, Defense Supplies, Disaster Loan, and the large Defense Plant Corporation.

The way it worked out, the streamlining was primarily a bookkeeping change that would simplify the RFC setup and prepare it for whatever peacetime task it might be given. Senator Robert F. Wagner of New York introduced the necessary legislation into Congress to implement the plan of contraction. It was promptly passed by the Congress, which was obviously gratified to find a Government agency ready to cut back its own empire.

The next major task that faced me as Federal Loan Administrator was what to do with the surplus Government war plants and equipment after the war was over. As you know, as head of the Defense Plant Corporation, I had supervised the financing of the building of most of those facilities. The Defense Plant Corporation had actually signed contracts for the financing of close to eleven billion dollars of war facilities. The war in

Europe having ended on May 8th and with the war in the Pacific approaching its climax, many of the industrial facilities were no longer needed. So I immediately began plans to dispose of the surplus plants as rapidly as was feasible with the approval of the Government. A large number of persons both in and out of Government had expressed the hope during the war that some of the war plants would be retained and operated by the Government to provide yardsticks by which to gauge private industry. I had been opposed to this program from the very first days of the creation of the Defense Plant Corporation. A number of my associates and I in an attempt to curtail such an eventuality wrote a clause into the contracts, the lease arrangements which the Defense Plant Corporation entered into with the industrialists who operated the defense plant facilities, providing that when the necessity for defense was no longer apparent that the lessee could buy the plants

back under a stipulated formula. Therefore, in consultation with the board of directors of the RFC, which had absorbed the defense plant operation, we began to discuss the most appropriate procedures to follow in bringing about this restoration of industry to private hands.

My third important consideration was to begin work with the directors of the various RFC functions to make plans for the best manner in which the RFC could serve in the great reconversion problem that was going to face the country following the war. Probably I can best illustrate what developed in my mind by reading an excerpt from a speech that I made in Evansville, Indiana about that time:

There are five major problems that will tax the initiative, ingenuity, and patience of us all, how to reapply our labor force to the job ahead; how to re-equip our factories, how to maintain credit, how to skillfully liberate our controlled economy


from the protective measures necessary in the peak war years, and how to adjust our tax structure after Japan is defeated.

I then outlined a few of the steps that the RFC would be prepared to take in aiding in industrial reconversion:

First, to make loans against the cancelled war contracts; second, to make business loans to returning veterans; third, to make commitments now for future loans so that industry might proceed with plans for rehabilitation and reconversion; and fourth, automatically guarantee bank loans to industry up to 75 percent with a ceiling of $250,000 for each loan, and participate with banks in individual industrial loans made to industry in any amount. I was particularly anxious that the Nation know that the RFC was well prepared to cooperate with the Nation's commercial banks to finance plant reconversion, finance equipment and plant purchases, and to finance property purchases where needed.

I immediately began to work out with banks an arrangement for making loans under what we called the "blanket participation agreement." Under this agreement, banks were permitted to make loans subject only to a few conditions, such as solvency, collateral, and a limit on salaries paid by the borrower. This permitted the banks to make loans on their own judgment and without requiring prior approval by the RFC. I felt that through this agreement that the Government was showing complete confidence in the banks, which is, of course, as it should be. It was my opinion that together the banks and the RFC could solve the financial problems of the small businesses, which were capable of, and entitled to solution during the reconversion and post-war periods. While I was in the midst of these engaging pursuits aimed at a reconversion program, I received a message from President Truman, who was, at the time, at the

Potsdam Conference, that he wanted me to take over the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, a job which I frankly did not wish to undertake. However, since I was in Washington to be as of such help to President Truman as I could be, I could not hesitate to undertake to do the job that he wanted most for me to do.

As I was preparing to leave the Federal Loan Administrator's job, I summed up in my own mind what I had been able to accomplish in the short time in which I had been in the office. I began by streamlining the RFC. I made an effort to make the agency more efficient and more economical. I established a broad policy for the disposal of surplus plants and material, and finally, I set out a program for the RFC, which was to help it carry out in the post-war years a program to aid large and small businesses, a program that certainly, in my opinion, would go a long way towards the transition

from war to peace. This, Mr. Hess, I think, gives you a brief story of my experience as Federal Loan Administrator.

HESS: Mr. Snyder, what type of plants presented the most difficulties in the conversion process?

SNYDER: Well, naturally, it was those types of unusual plants like the magnesium plants and some of the large steel plants--the one out at Provo, Utah, for instance, was an enormous, complex, integrated steel plant that was built out there near the middle of Utah, away from sources of labor supply, of iron ore, and from coking coal. It was purely a political location. But we were able to finally locate a buyer in the U.S. Steel Corporation, but, of course, in that case, there had to be some bargaining because they were taking an operating problem on their hands in taking over the plant.

In the Rubber Reserve, we had to wait our time until the rubber manufacturers were ready to undertake to switch from natural rubber to synthetic rubber. But, in due course, those plants were all absorbed very well, but it was slow doing. Some of the larger ordnance plants, such as the one that I mentioned out at Chicago, had eighty acres under one roof. Well, it took quite a bit of planning to get operations that could utilize that large a space, but through community cooperation, putting sometimes eight and ten operations into the same building, we were able to get them all pretty well operating. There were many, of course, the one-purpose plants for manufacturing machine gun bullets and things of that sort, that there just wasn't any peacetime use for, had to be either turned into storage plants, or some facility of that character. But by and large by our foresight in putting the option clause into the contracts, the operators

in the Defense Plant Corporation facilities had planned ahead for the use of their plants. In that way these plants were more easily converted than some of the one-purpose plants that were built by the Ordnance Department and some of the specialized agencies.

HESS: The efforts on finding an occupant for the Willow Run Plant came a little later, is that right?

SNYDER: Well, yes, the Willow Run Plant was initially built by the Ford Motor Company. Mr. Ford, Sr. didn't want to have anything to do with Government financing. And so when he started to build the large bombers in that plant, why, he built the plant himself. Subsequently, the Defense Plant Corporation purchased it from the Ford Motor Company, and leased it back to them for operating during the war. Following the war, the plant was used by two or three different lessees,

initially, the Kaiser Motor Company was in there for awhile, and one of the large hangars was taken over for a municipal airport terminal. Finally, though, they got it operating pretty well; all the facilities are now in use.

FUCHS: There for awhile, wasn't Lustron using part of the facilities?

SNYDER: Yes, but that wasn't a very big operation.

HESS: And we'll come to that later when we discuss housing. Also, I believe that Tucker was in there making cars.

SNYDER: Well, Tucker was to have made cars, but he had three or four prototypes of an assembled car, but he never went into production.

HESS: Did you ever see one of those cars?

SNYDER: Yes. I went to a showing that he had one time.

And the greatest attraction were the lovely girls that he had standing around it.

HESS: And not necessarily the car?

SNYDER: That's right.

HESS: What type of conversion presented the least difficulty?

SNYDER: Well, the plant that was of the size that could be quickly turned into manufacturing of a product the company was accustomed to make, like the automobile plants. General Motors did a tremendous job, Ford did an important job, so did Chrysler, in very quick conversion, taking out the special tooling that was installed for the defense program, and switching to the type of production line that was required for the automobile assembly.

HESS: During the time that you were Federal Loan

Administrator, and also with the OWMR, what plans were made to prevent profiteering in the disposal of surplus plants and property?

SNYDER: The Defense Plant Corporation attempted to meet that problem through the clause that I mentioned as an option to buy at a certain agreed formula, that considered depreciation, usage, size of the plant, and its adaptability to prevent operation. A fair formula was worked out that would prevent, to a great degree, any profiteering. The greatest problem came when you had a plant that was not readily usable, or you had a plant that the operator holding the option did not particularly want to buy at the end of the hostilities, or a plant that was too large to be used by the lessee. Then we had to get into some negotiations to try to sell it. I don't think that as far as the plants are concerned, there was any great degree of profiteering.

The profiteering came largely in the disposal of surplus property.

HESS: Mr. Snyder, why, in your opinion, did President Truman select you for the job at OWMR?

SNYDER: Mr. Hess, that would be a very difficult answer for me to give, because, as you know, Mr. Truman was at the Potsdam Conference at the time that he accepted Henry Morgenthau's resignation as Secretary of the Treasury, upon Morgenthau's insistence on a showdown as to how long he was to remain in the Treasury post. President Truman then cabled instructions to send the nomination of Fred Vinson to the Senate as Secretary of the Treasury, and followed it with the instruction to send my name up nominating me for OWMR, the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion. This action was entirely without consultation, and therefore it was not

until after he returned that he rather bluntly one day said, "Well, my principal reason was that I wanted you over closer to me. We have so many things we have to work out together." At this point I will repeat that the President and I had discussed the Vinson appointment before he went to Potsdam, and I was personally in favor of the Vinson appointment. Fred Vinson was well-known, well-liked, and he knew his way around Washington through his service in the Congress. I felt that Mr. Vinson's presence in the Cabinet would be a political asset to Mr. Truman, but contrary to some reports that were current at the time, we did not discuss that I might be considered for the Treasury, or that I might be considered as a successor to Fred Vinson in the OWMR job.

Mr. Hess, my nomination as Director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion was sent up to the Senate on July 16, 1945, and was

confirmed unanimously just two days later on July 18th. I was sworn in on July 23rd, on the same date that Fred Vinson was sworn in as Secretary of the Treasury.

Briefly, Mr. Hess, before we go any further, I should probably give you my conception of what the job or OWMR was. The United States Government had sprouted a long list of alphabetical agencies designed to perform certain functions during World War II. However, these agencies only partially met the new responsibilities forced on the Government by the war. The permanent Government agencies were forced to take on duties that were strange to them, which taxed their abilities, and which often cut across the old established departmental lines. All this, the new agencies plus the new functions forced on the permanent agencies, presented a problem to the Chief Executive. If all these multiple, and often overlapping, functions, were to be

performed effectively, they either had to be coordinated or else new authority lines had to be drawn. The latter alternative would have meant the virtual reshaping of the executive branch of the Government in the midst of a war. President Roosevelt, therefore, chose the first alternative and set up in 1943 the Office of War Mobilization with power to coordinate the defense work of the various Governmental agencies. The Director of this office was given extraordinary powers to carry out his duties, but the methods of exercising those powers were left largely to his discretion. There was inherent in the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, a difference of opinion as to the exact function of the agency. The press and my predecessors had sort of taken the view that this was an "Assistant President's" job that actually had many of the powers of the President to make decisions and direct policy.

To me, however, it seemed unthinkable that I should attempt to set up my office in any such capacity, intervening and counteracting the prerogatives of the Cabinet members themselves. I, therefore, attempted to design the operation of the office as a sort of catalyst. Events were not on my side, however, in this endeavor. The end of the war meant the end of the unity of purpose which had bound the Government, business and industry together, and it brought back into play the conflicting, sometimes clashing interests of the pre-war period. This resulted in situations in which the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion could not remain unobtrusive, but had to step into controversies and to assert its authority. In spite of these difficulties, I was able to maintain, and succeed to a large degree, good relations with the heads of the agencies and departments. My relationship with the Cabinet members who might well have been

expected to have resented any intrusion upon my part under the old conception of the office, were, on the whole, very splendid relations. The Cabinet members, by and large, appreciated the fact that as I was located very close to the President, I might be able to furnish to them a means of communication to the Chief Executive that might otherwise have been lacking. On the whole they were very cooperative and helped me a very, very major extent.

President Roosevelt from the beginning placed mobilization and reconversion in the White House. Its offices were in the Executive Mansion, and its first director, Byrnes, picked up the appellation, "Assistant President," by acting for Roosevelt on many domestic matters. Byrnes held the job for nearly a year. He was actually Director of the Office of War Mobilization for much of that time. The Reconversion title was added somewhat later. Byrnes dealt primarily

with war problems while he was director. Vinson who succeeded him was in the office when Germany surrendered and the United States shifted from a two-front to a one-front war. Peacetime problems then came in for a larger share of attention, but it remained for me to handle the big shift from war to peace.

HESS: Do you think that Mr. Byrnes regarded himself as somewhat of an "Assistant President?"

SNYDER: Oh, no question about it. He was the one who built it up. He encouraged that title.

HESS: What was Mr. Vinson's view?

SNYDER: Well, that would be pretty hard to try to formulate. Mr. Vinson, after he came into the OWMR, brought in a number of staff members who actually did most of the work for Mr. Vinson in economic research and in the economic planning on how the reconversion should be

handled. They injected a great deal of speculation and controversy into it in order to aid in passage of certain legislation that they felt that Congress should enact following the war in connection with full employment, unemployment compensation, many labor laws that they felt should be enacted and a number of restrictive laws on industry. I don't know how much of Mr. Vinson's personal views were reflected in the actions of OWMR during the time that he was there.

HESS: Who were a few of the people that he was bringing in at that time?

SNYDER: Well, the one man that I remember particularly was Robert Nathan, a labor economist. It was a small staff, there were less than eighty in the whole staff, but there were quite a number of specialists that had been employed, writers, particularly, public relations people, economists--but it was relatively small for an

office that was undertaking such a gigantic job.

HESS: Did Mr. Vinson seem to have the same idea that Mr. Byrnes had had, that he might be an "Assistant President?"

SNYDER: He never voiced that particularly, but he wasn't adverse to people calling him that. He was pleased whenever he was referred to in the papers or in public statements as the "Assistant President," but I don't recall his ever, personally, through statements, encouraging the use of it.

HESS: Was he as vigorous in the carrying out of the duties of his office as Mr. Byrnes had been?

SNYDER: Well, Mr. Byrnes was in a different situation. We were in a war and his operations were mobilization to get equipment, get priorities on the needed things, to get manpower distributed

properly, and it was entirely different--we were under the pressures of war. Shortly after Mr. Vinson got into that post the German part of the war collapsed.

HESS: He came in on April 2nd.

SNYDER: You see, it was only a short time until May the 8th when Germany capitulated. From then on he was faced with the carrying on of the Japanese, or the Pacific part of the war, while reconversion was beginning to develop on the European side where the war was over.

HESS: Awhile ago you said that your relations with the Cabinet members were good "on the whole." I want to ask you who didn't go along?

SNYDER: Well, Wallace. I had problems with Secretary Wallace, and I had real differences of opinion with some of the agencies.

HESS: Which ones in particular?

SNYDER: OPA and Wage Stabilization.

HESS: Who was running those at that time?

SNYDER: [Chester] Bowles, and [William] Davis. I had a number of debates with the Housing Authority, John Blandford, and then later, Wilson Wyatt. William Davis had the Office of Economic Stabilization that administered price and wage controls.

HESS: What was the nature of some of the difficulties that you were having at this time with these people?

SNYDER: Largely in the matter of transition from war to peace in the handling of controls of prices and wages. Those in charge of the wage division wanted to press the wages up, while OPA wanted to hold prices down; together they wanted to control prices and release wages.

They wanted to control materials and direct where they would go, which was an impossible procedure in a free enterprise system in peacetime. They were going to decide where every piece of lumber should go, where every brick went, and to say that you could build a building here for the purpose of selling groceries and deny another man material for doing something else that this particular group didn't think was necessary at the time. They wanted to make judgments on what could be done and what couldn't be done, which I thought was completely inequitable in times of peace. They wanted to direct the materials and equipment into housing when they didn't have the skilled workmen available that could do the job. The labor force was not sufficient to do the kind of job they were talking about, this building of two million or more houses a year. They didn't have the journeymen carpenters, they didn't have the

journeymen bricklayers, plumbers nor other skilled labor. So 1 had considerable trouble in trying to get some realism into the picture. I was having pressures by citizens, by suppliers and by mayors of cities who wanted certain things done that didn't fit in with the planned economy which was being worked out.

HESS: At the time you were at OWMR, Chester Bowles was head of the OPA, is that correct?

SNYDER: That's right.

HESS: According to a letter printed in part in the book, The Truman Administration: A Documentary History, edited by Bernstein and Matusow, Chester Bowles wrote to President Truman on December 17, 1945 outlining some of the difficulties that he had encountered, and just a small portion of the letter that they included is as follows:


In September, I told you why I would like to be relieved of my present responsibilities by the first of the year. My desire for relief is even greater today. As you know, I have been carrying this difficult assignment for nearly thirty months. The pressures today are at their peak. Like many others I feel the need for a rest.

In addition to these rather personal reasons, I have been disturbed over my relationship, and the relationship of the Office of Price Administration, to John Snyder and some of his staff. While I like John personally and respect his sincerity, we often fail to see eye to eye on the most effective ways to meet the problems which we face.

Under the circumstances John might feel more comfortable to have a man in my position with whom he was in more fundamental agreement...

What do you think about Mr. Bowles' letter to the President?

SNYDER: Well, that's a controversial matter. It was just a matter of two different viewpoints. At that time, Mr. Bowles was already planning a career in politics. He had a daily program in which he went on the air to tell the housewife that he personally was protecting her interests

through price control, and seeing that she got her groceries at a right price, and her drygoods at a right price. It was a daily program that was scheduled for his message to the public. That was all well and good if all the other problems that we had in adjustment and in transition from war to peace would have fitted in smoothly with his idea, but he reached the point when he was almost building himself up as the one protector of the housewife against the ogres of the Government, private business and industry that were trying to maneuver them into a position of high prices and scarcity of commodities. It was unrealistic in a sense, the pressures were so great that he wanted the entire control program to stay intact; he didn't want to release certain items as they came into supply because he had the idea that that would then set precedent to bring pressures on other areas where in the opinion of his people

the supply wasn't sufficient. So, it was a matter of facing realities that was our real problem; where he had the objective of building up a political figure, and I had the objective of trying to get the job done in the best manner possible in the interest of the people and the economy as a whole.

HESS: What was his philosophy of how prices and wages should be handled?

SNYDER: I don't know whether he had any real philosophy about it other than to hold the controls on just as long as possible. Through such an arrangement, it became very apparent that there was no way of equitably handling the controls. You had to start taking them off sometime; Congress was demanding it, the public was demanding it, and the other people who were equally interested in politics were demanding realism. How could you say that a piece of

material should go into a house instead of into a factory or into a store, or into something that a mayor felt that he urgently needed in his city. He had gone for four years restraining the needs of his town because of the war effort, and he felt that he had to build a firehouse, improve the school facilities, etc. It just didn't balance. It really wasn't realistic.

HESS: Some historians have pointed out that when controls were lifted, prices shot up somewhat faster than some people thought that they might.

SNYDER: That's probably true. When you stop to think that for years we had been in an all-out war effort, savings had been building up, people had money that they had saved to spend when the war was over, and naturally, people are human beings. While they have been referred to as "People are funny," they are that at times, but because they're human though, rather

than funny. When the war was over they felt like, "All right, now, we'll turn around and go in another direction." And they didn't have the restraint and willingness to deny themselves further that Mr. Bowles and his group felt that they should be forced to have. And the pressures were such that regardless of the idealism of it, the realism didn't permit the program as the more liberal group felt it should be followed in their planned economy.

HESS: Will you touch on some of the other aspects of the OWMR job?

SNYDER: From the minute that I sat down in my OWMR job my life was not a tranquil one. In one sense, the period between the German and the Japanese surrenders was much more difficult than the years when the war had raged in both Europe and Asia. With a two-front war, the United States policy held determinedly to the

goal of victory first. Personal and public differences among Government, labor and business leaders were shelved as the Nation met its challenge of war. The surrender of Germany inevitably meant a letdown. Some war contracts were, of course, cancelled, and some men were released from the armed forces. The Nation began to experience a kind of mental ambivalence, the war was still on, yet, the war was over. For instance, on July 30, just six days after I took office, the Mead Committee, successor to the Truman Committee, issued a report heavily criticizing the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion for failing to plan for reconversion problems, while at the same time the report stated that nothing was to be allowed to interfere with the war effort against Japan. While most of the committee's criticisms were directed against those periods when Byrnes and Vinson held the office, its entire recommendations were leveled

at me as the new director. The Mead Committee recommended that OWMR be put on a supervisory, operating basis, with: direct control over the other war agencies. This, of course, was impossible. You couldn't put an office or a person, other than the President himself, in the position of bossing Cabinet members and their departments, you could coordinate, certainly, but supervise, no. Fortunately, the Congress did not follow the recommendations of the Mead Committee.

Following the fall of Japan, the United States entered the first stage of reconversion at full speed. Billions of dollars worth of war contracts were cancelled right and left by the Government; millions of men were taken out of uniform under pressure of Congress and sent back to civilian life. Of course, all of this produced a host of economic problems. The essence of solution to all these problems was

that the multitude of plants that had been producing war materials had to be changed over to the production of badly-wanted consumer goods, which production would employ millions of returning servicemen and the additional millions of temporarily displaced defense plant workers. To tell the whole story adequately, of the experience of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion in the reconversion period covered by my tenure of office, would, without question, take a whole volume to properly highlight the various phases of problems, incongruities, and difficulties which emerged with the cessation of hostilities. I think that it would be better to sum up briefly the results which were obtained through the operation of that office. I personally like to recall the words of Arthur Krock in the New York Times, in which he stated that I intruded realism into a situation that

badly needed it, that I saw no economic panaceas for that difficult period, and that I realized that any solution of economic ills requires work, and that such solutions do not result from the juggling of statistics, or from wishful thinking. Happily, history has recorded that an economy straining to reach the maximum in war production was converted to full-time civilian production without any great or pertinent dislocation of labor or business. It was this current toward changing a controlled economy into a relatively free one that flowed through all of my actions in the Reconversion Office. It is gratifying to go back to the newspaper files of the period and read: "U.S. PRODUCTION AT ALL TIME PEAK"; "EMPLOYMENT IS BUILDING UP STEADIL--NOW ABOVE V-J LEVEL"; "PRIVATE WAGE AND SALARY PAYMENTS ARE NOW AROUND THE V-J DAY LEVEL"; "FEDERAL EXPENDITURES CONTINUE: TO DECLINE"; "BANKS MEETING DEMAND


These were, indeed, heartening recognitions of the success of the reconversion program. For the record shows that the Nation's industries have been reconverted and the Nation's armed forces had been demobilized in accordance with the demands of the people and the Congress; industry was well on its way toward that full production which would mean jobs and prosperity, not only for the demobilized soldiers, sailors, and airmen but for all citizens. Without a doubt, reconversion had been accomplished much faster than anyone had thought possible. In retrospection, I think today as I thought at the time, that a great part of the remarkable record was due to the ingenuity and drive of the American people. The all-out war productions had taught business to do big things fearlessly. It had taught labor to find better, more efficient and productive ways of producing goods on the

production line. It gave me great satisfaction that the free enterprise principles had been allowed, in a large measure, to work in the reconversion; it was with great satisfaction that I was able to record in my final report that, "More Americans are working, producing more, earning more and consuming more than ever before. Since V-J Day, civilian production as a whole was increased by twenty billions of dollars annual rate, and now has reached the highest peacetime peak in all of our history." Please remember that this was less than nine months from the time when some economic prognosticators foresaw a wide-spread industrial and business recession as an aftermath of the war.

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