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White House Statement Concerning Controls Over the Price and Distribution of Meat

May 3, 1946

DURING the last few days there has been a series of unfortunate misinterpretations of the Government's intentions with regard to price and distribution controls on meat. This misunderstanding has apparently resulted from a confusion of terms.

The President wishes it clearly understood that as long as there are dangerous upward pressures on meat prices and as long as the Government has the authority to deal with them, price controls on livestock and meat will be firmly maintained.

Both Secretary of Agriculture Anderson and Economic Stabilization Director Bowles concur in this view.

The confusion on this question has apparently risen from misunderstanding of the term "meat controls" as it was used at the President's press conference on Thursday, May 2, and at a hearing of the Senate Banking and Currency Committee on May 1 at which Secretary Anderson testified. Both the President and Secretary Anderson took the term to mean, not price controls, but rather the slaughter controls which were reinstituted on April 28 by the Office of Price Administration and the Department of Agriculture.

These controls are designed to direct the nation's livestock supplies back into established, legitimate channels and to reduce the operations of slaughterers who have increased their production to such an extent that they have upset normal meat distribution and have made it difficult to enforce price ceilings.

As Secretary Anderson pointed out in his Senate Committee testimony, this slaughter quota program brought the black market in livestock and meat under control after it was put into effect in April, 1945. It was dropped after V-J Day when meat supplies seemed ample.

There is every reason to believe that the slaughter control plan will work effectively again. But if for any reason it does not appear to be producing the desired results, other additional measures will be used to whatever extent seems necessary.

However, neither the President nor Secretary Anderson suggested that livestock and meat price controls could be abandoned with the demand for meat at its present extremely high level in relation to supply.