Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Appointment of Harold L. Ickes as Solid Fuels Coordinator for National Defense

November 05, 1941

As the defense effort progresses it becomes increasingly urgent to assure that the supply of solid fuels will be adequate and that they will be readily available at consuming points when required for military, industrial, and civilian purposes. Difficult problems are already arising with respect to their supply and availability for such uses. These problems require the efficient and carefully coordinated development, production, distribution, utilization, transportation, and handling of solid fuels.

You have in your Department extensive information and facilities with respect to solid fuels. I refer particularly to the Bituminous Coal Division, the Bureau of Mines, and the Geological Survey. In addition, in your capacity as Petroleum Coordinator for National Defense you have important functions with respect to oil and gas. It is essential that the handling of solid fuel and of oil and gas problems should be closely coordinated in the present emergency.

I am, therefore, requesting that you as the Secretary of the Interior shall act as Solid Fuels Coordinator for National Defense in performing the following duties:

1. Obtain currently from the appropriate defense and other Federal agencies, from the various States and their subdivisions, and from any other sources, private or governmental, information as to the military and civilian needs for solid fuels;

2. Obtain currently from the solid fuels industries and from any other sources, governmental or private, information relating to development, production, supply, availability, distribution, utilization, transportation, and handling of solid fuels;

3. Make recommendations to the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board, the Office of Production Management, the Office of Price Administration, the transportation agencies of the Federal Government and to any other appropriate Federal departments and agencies concerning measures relating to the production, storage, pooling, transportation, distribution, marketing, and consumption of solid fuels for the purpose of promoting the maintenance of a ready and adequate supply at reasonable prices;

4. In cooperation with the solid fuels and related industries and with consumers of solid fuels, and in coordination with the Office of Production Management, carry on such programs as will promote economy and efficiency in the development, production, distribution, utilization, transportation, and handling of solid fuels, and as will facilitate the operation of the solid fuels industries so as to meet the requirements of the national defense program;

5. Advise and make recommendations to the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board, the Office of Production Management, and other appropriate defense agencies with respect to the material, equipment, and supplies which will be required by the solid fuels industries in producing, transporting, and distributing the tonnage needed for civilian and defense purposes;

6. Make other recommendations to appropriate Federal departments and agencies concerning measures affecting the supply and availability of solid fuels as may seem necessary from time to time.

In carrying out these responsibilities, the determinations of the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board and of the Office of Production Management will, of course, govern as to the requirements for national defense, direct and indirect, and as to the establishment and administration of priorities and allocations.

The heads of the agencies and departments concerned are being informed of this designation and I am requesting that they inform you in advance of any action proposed which may affect the maintenance of an adequate supply of solid fuels and of all 'meetings or conferences dealing with these problems.

I anticipate that you will use your present staff in the discharge of these responsibilities to the fullest extent possible. Within the limits of such funds as may be made available, you may make provision for the necessary services and facilities and you may employ necessary additional personnel, including the appointment or designation, with my approval, of an assistant to whom you may make any necessary delegation of functions.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Appointment of Harold L. Ickes as Solid Fuels Coordinator for National Defense Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/210230

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