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Directive Concerning the Shipment of Wheat and Coal to Liberated Countries

January 25, 1946

To the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Secretary of Labor, the Administrator of the War Shipping Administration, and the Director of the Office of Defense Transportation:

I have become increasingly concerned over the shortages of vitally needed supplies to liberated countries. I am particularly alarmed at what now appears to be a worldwide shortage of wheat. I am informed that many of the countries of Europe now possess less wheat than is necessary to maintain distribution, even though their bread ration is down to a starvation level.

The problem of supplying the destitute people of the world with this vital food rests mainly on the shoulders of the United States, Canada, Australia and Argentina. I am informed that estimated shipments through the first six months of 1946 will be at least 5 million tons short of the requirements of the deficit areas. In view of this situation, this Government is recommending that each of the supplying countries accept its proportionate share of the responsibility in meeting the urgent requirements of the liberated countries on an equitable basis. Furthermore, this Government recommends that each of the importing countries procure from its own internal sources the maximum quantity of wheat, and make the best possible use of existing stocks.

Upon my return from the Potsdam conference I stated: "If we let Europe go cold and hungry, we may lose some of the foundations of order on which the hope for world-wide peace must rest. We must help to the limits of our strength, and we will."

I should like to emphasize the last sentence of that statement and request that you give the personal attention to this problem which the seriousness of the situation demands.

Everything possible must be done to provide the necessary handling, inland transportation, port facilities, and ocean transportation required to move all the wheat and flour which can be provided. We must reduce to a minimum the quantity of wheat used for non-food purposes. Also, all other efforts must be made to increase wheat for food and for this purpose the possibility of increasing the extraction ratio in milling should be explored.

I have asked Mr. Snyder to coordinate all of the movement activities in this country to make certain that we attain maximum shipments of wheat as well as coal to liberated countries. Mr. Synder has directed the establishment of a Movement Coordinating Committee and it is my that your Department is represented on Committee. I have also asked him to keep me fully informed of the progress made and to report directly any major difficulties which are not readily adjusted by action.


Harry S Truman, Directive Concerning the Shipment of Wheat and Coal to Liberated Countries Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232137

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