CABINET MEETING, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1945
1. Report on foreign policy by the Secretary of State.
Asked the Secretary of Labor about the general labor situation.
Both sides of the steel industry say they want no fact finding until January. Big steel will not sit down and discuss wages until they are certain of obtaining price increases. Present information is that the strike is set for January 14th. The company will not know the 4th quarter earnings until January 20th.
Bowles has stated that a 7% price increase is satisfactory to the OPA. This figure is based on 60% production. President said we were up against a price spiral. He recited the recent experience with housing in connection with L-4l. This caused materials and labor to be channeled into industrial construction at the expense of housing. The President also called attention to the recent price increase in oranges. After the ceilings were lifted, in a period of three weeks orange prices increased 200%. The President stated that he was going to back the OPA with every power he possessed.
Home builders cannot compete with industrial construction. It is impossible for contractors to pay time and a half and double time which is offered as an incentive by industrial contractors. CRAFTSMEN are not interested in working on home construction when they can obtain a higher take home pay from industrial construction.
Suggested calling in influential members of House and Senate to discuss problems.
Thought McKel1ar's suggestion o.k. but Republicans are demagogs and will render lip service only.
Told of his experience with the Atomic Bomb Committee. After testifying in executive session practically all of his testimony was leaked by the Committee. He stated that this was a very bad situation but he was very happy that he didn't reveal the number of bombs now in possession of this government. There was general agreement among the Cabinet members that the Congressional committees should not know all of the facts with respect to the atomic bomb.
Commented that he did not know all the facts himself and as a matter of fact, he didn't know the number of bombs in our possession.
SECRETARIES FORRESTAL AND WALLACE
Stated that they believed the President should know all the facts and should be kept informed on the number of bombs that are in our country.
ACTING SECRETARY ACHESON
Described the conference of Sec. Byrnes with the members of the Atomic Bomb Committee. Said that with respect to his intentions as regards the coming Russian conference, members of the Senate Committee did not understand the basic facts of Byrnes' program. It is Byrnes' problem to encourage the free interchange of scientific information not only with respect to the atomic bomb but in all fields of scientific endeavor.
Said he was opposed to giving the Russians anything we have developed with respect to the atomic bomb.
Explained that the purpose was to direct the world toward peace and not toward war. Lasting peace could not be achieved without mutual trust and understanding.
Stated that the War Department was getting lacing from scientists about distinction of Japanese cyclotrans. Said his review of the situation, however, together with actual observation in the field, led him to the conclusion that we were wise in destroying the cyclotrans. In his opinion it was like giving Al Capone a pistol as to allow the Japanese to maintain possession of this scientific equipment. American scientists on the other hand say that Japanese are as much entitled to develop information with respect to atomic energy as any other people.
Disagreed. Said that it has no more to do with a pistol than a pig.
Discussed Ful1 [Full] Employment Bill. House leaders are doing everything possible to get something in a new conference but results are doubtful.
SECRETARIES FORRESTAL AND PATTERSON
Made brief statements outlining bad effects of too rapid demobilization of our armed forces.
Stated that it was not demobilization but had developed into disintegration.