I HAVE received from the Cabinet Committee on World Food Programs a report on our progress in exporting grain this year.
It is heartening for all of us to know that if we keep up our present rate of shipments, we shall have shipped the 400 million bushels of grain and flour by the end of April that we had originally expected to ship by the end of June.
The possibility of reaching this goal 2 months ahead of time gives us no grounds for complacency, however, for the battle of food is by no means over.
Mr. Hoover's survey of conditions in the countries he has just visited, as well as many reports which have come to me, reveal the tragic conditions of hunger under which many millions of people all over the world are still living. Even after the last of the grain we originally promised for this year has left our shores, millions will still be weakened and wasted by hunger. The next few months before the new harvests are gathered in Europe and in other countries to which a part of our exports are going, will be most critical ones.
It is essential to economic and political reconstruction overseas that a new food crisis be averted. We must go beyond our program and continue to ship as much grain in May and June as we can, in the interest of world stability and freedom, as well as in the long-range interest of the United States. At the same time we must continue to export as much coal as possible, since the need for fuel in many countries is second only to the need for food. This will take some sacrifice and considerable effort on our part.
We have the problem of transportation and to a lesser extent the problem of procurement. But neither of these is a new problem, and neither is insurmountable. It was because of these and related problems that I set up the Cabinet Committee on Food last September and asked it to maintain a continuous review of the world food situation and to recommend actions which should be taken by this Government to fulfill its responsibilities in meeting world demands for food.
Last December, on the recommendation of the Cabinet Committee, I asked Captain Granville Conway, former War Shipping Administrator, to undertake once more the task he so ably performed last spring in coordinating Government activities relating to the movement of emergency food and fuel exports. All agencies of Government, especially the Department of Agriculture, the Office of Defense Transportation, and the Maritime Commission have put forth tremendous effort. As a result of their activities and the full cooperation of American farmers, the grain and flour trades, the railroads and shipping lines, our exports have mounted to an all-time high for this season.
In addition to everything that the executive branch of Government can do, action by the Congress is required to carry this program forward. Funds must be provided to assist countries formerly aided by UNRRA and for the War Department's program for the occupied areas. Furthermore, if we are to maintain the international food allocation system so vital to the success of this whole food program, extension of certain limited portions of the Second War Powers Act, as already requested, will be necessary.
I know that it is a source of gratification to the people of our country, as it is to me, that we have been able to supply needed food to many of our wartime allies, and that at the same time we have been able to make substantial shipments to Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Eire, Finland, and other countries whose needs have also been great.
I am sure that I express the opinion of all Americans in pledging that we will continue the policy of sharing out of our abundance with those in dire need. Every additional pound of grain we can export is a contribution to human welfare, to reconstruction, and to world peace.Note: The report of the Cabinet Committee on World Food Programs, in the form of a three-page letter dated February 28, was released with the president's statement. The report summed up the grain export situation as follows:
"1. Early program difficulties have been largely overcome through the full cooperation of many agencies and services, and the rate of export is now at just about the highest practicable level.
"2. Nearly 300 million bushels of grain and grain products have already been shipped from the United States since last July 1.
"3. If all goes well, the original 400 million bushel 1946-47 grain export goal should be met in full around the first of May and the goal will be exceeded by the additional shipments which can be moved out during May and June.
"4. Little additional wheat out of the 1946 crop is expected to be purchased for export pending final appraisal of 1947 wheat crop prospects.
"5. In spite of the success of our program so far, needs overseas are still urgent and growing. We must not and will not relax our efforts.
"6. If our present plans can be carried out, the United States shipments of grain to meet critical world needs during 1946-47 will set a new record, becoming the greatest single year for food grain exports in history."
The report was signed by Clinton P. Anderson, Secretary of Agriculture, who served as chairman, William C. Foster, Acting Secretary of Commerce, and Dean Acheson, Under Secretary of State.