I HAVE today issued a Proclamation adjusting and regulating imports of crude oil and its principal products into the United States.
The Voluntary Oil Import Program has demonstrated to me the willingness of the great majority of the industry to cooperate with the Government in restricting imports to a level that does not threaten to impair security. I commend them, and to me it is indeed a cause for regret that the actions of some in refusing to comply with the request of the Government require me to make our present voluntary system mandatory.
The new program is designed to insure a stable, healthy industry in the United States capable of exploring for and developing new hemisphere reserves to replace those being depleted. The basis of the new program, like that for the voluntary program, is the certified requirements of our national security which make it necessary that we preserve to the greatest extent possible a vigorous, healthy petroleum industry in the United States.
In addition to serving our own direct security interests, the new program will also help prevent severe dislocations in our own country as well as in oil industries elsewhere which also have an important bearing on our own security. Petroleum, wherever it may be produced in the free world, is important to the security, not only of ourselves, but also of the free people of the world everywhere.
During the past few years, a surplus of world producing capacity has tended to disrupt free world markets, and, unquestionably, severe disruption would have occurred in the United States and elsewhere except for cutbacks in United States production under the conservation programs of the various state regulatory bodies.
The voluntary controls have been and the mandatory controls will be flexibly administered with the twin aims of sharing our large and growing market on an equitable basis with other producing areas and avoiding disruption of normal patterns of international trade.
The Director of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization will keep the entire program under constant surveillance, and will inform the President of any circumstances which in his opinion indicate the need for any further Presidential action. In the event price increases occur while the program is in effect, the Director is required to determine whether such increases are necessary to accomplish the national security objectives of the Proclamation.
The United States recognizes, of course, that within the larger sphere of free world security, we, in common with Canada and with the other American Republics, have a joint interest in hemisphere defense. Informal conversations with Canada and Venezuela looking toward a coordinated approach to the problem of oil as it relates to this matter of common concern have already begun. The United States is hopeful that in the course of future conversations agreement can be reached which will take fully into account the interests of all oil producing states.Note: On February 28 the President, in a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, requested that the Voluntary Oil Import Program then in effect be continued through March 10 in order that he might have time to consider the findings and recommendations of the Director of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization resulting from a study of the effect of imports on crude oil and derivatives on the national security.
A report of the Special Committee to Investigate Crude Oil Imports dated March 6, 1959, and memorandums for the President from the Director of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization dated February 27 and March 4 respectively, were released with the President's statement and the proclamation.
Proclamation 3279, "Adjusting imports of petroleum and petroleum products into the United States," and amendments, Proclamations 3090 and 3328, are published in the Federal Register (24 F.R. 1781, 3527, 10133).