Franklin D. Roosevelt

Executive Order 8989—Establishing the Office of Defense Transportation in the Executive Office of the President and Defining Its Functions and Duties

December 18, 1941

By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, as President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, and in order to define further the functions and duties of the Office for Emergency Management with respect to the state of war and to assure maximum utilization of the domestic transportation facilities of the Nation for the successful prosecution of the war, it is hereby ordered:

1. The term "domestic transportation" whenever used in this Order shall include railroad, motor, inland waterway, pipe line, air transport, and coastwise and intercoastal shipping.

2. There shall be in the Office for Emergency Management of the Executive Office of the President an Office of Defense Transportation, at the head of which shall be a Director appointed by the President. The Director shall discharge and perform his responsibilities and authorities under the direction and supervision of the President. The Director shall receive compensation at such rate as the President may determine and, in addition, shall be entitled to actual and necessary transportation, subsistence, and other expenses incidental to the performance of his duties.

3. Subject to such policies, regulations, and directions as the President may from time to time prescribe, the Office of Defense Transportation shall:

a. Coordinate the transportation policies and activities of the several Federal agencies and private transportation groups in effecting such adjustments in the domestic transportation systems of the Nation as the successful prosecution of the war may require.

b. Compile and analyze estimates of the requirements to be imposed upon existing domestic transport facilities by the needs of the war effort; determine the adequacy of such facilities to accommodate the increased traffic volume occasioned by the war effort; develop measures designed to secure maximum use of existing domestic transportation facilities; and stimulate the provision of necessary additional transport facilities and equipment in order to achieve the level of domestic transportation services required; and in this connection advise the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board as to the estimated requirements and recommend allocations of materials and equipment necessary for the provision of adequate domestic transportation service.

c. Coordinate and direct domestic traffic movements with the objective of preventing possible points of traffic congestion and assuring the orderly and expeditious movement of men, materials, and supplies to points of need.

d. In cooperation with the United States Maritime Commission and other appropriate agencies, coordinate domestic traffic movements with ocean shipping in order to avoid terminal congestion at port areas and to maintain a maximum flow of traffic.

e. Perform the functions and exercise the authority vested in the President by the following, subject to the conditions set forth in paragraph 3 of this Order:

(1) Sec. 1 (15) of Interstate Commerce Act as amended, USC title 49, sec. 1 (15).

(2) Sec. 6(8) of Interstate Commerce Act as amended, USC title 49, sec. 6(8).

f. Survey and ascertain present and anticipated storage and warehousing requirements at points of transfer and in terminal areas; and encourage the provision of increased storage, loading, and unloading facilities where necessary.

g. Represent the defense interest of the Government in negotiating rates with domestic transportation carriers and in advising the appropriate governmental agencies with respect to the necessity for rate adjustments caused by the effect of the defense program.

h. Advise upon proposed or existing emergency legislation affecting domestic transportation, and recommend such additional emergency legislation as may be necessary or desirable.

i. Keep the President informed with respect to progress made in carrying out this Order; and perform such related duties as the President may from time to time assign or delegate to it.

4. In the exercise of its functions and authority with respect to transportation priorities and preferences, the Office of Defense Transportation shall be governed as to the relative importance of deliveries required for defense by such instructions, certifications, and directives as may be issued by the Office of Production Management pursuant to the provisions of the Executive Order of August 28, 1941, entitled "Delegation and Coordination of Priority Authority"; and the Office of Defense Transportation shall take all lawful steps within the scope of its authority to effect such deliveries through appropriate public or private agencies.

5. In the study of problems and in the discharge of its responsibilities, it shall be the policy of the Office of Defense Transportation to collaborate with existing departments and agencies which perform functions and activities pertaining to transportation and to utilize their facilities and services to the maximum. Particularly, the Office of Defense Transportation shall maintain close liaison with the United States Maritime Commission in the consideration of problems involving the relationship of ocean shipping with coastwise and intercoastal shipping and inland transport; with the Interstate Commerce Commission on problems of rates, routing, and car service; and with the War and Navy Departments with respect to the strategic movement of troops and supplies by domestic transportation carriers. The Office of Defense Transportation may arrange for the establishment of committees or groups of advisers representing two or more departments and agencies or private transportation groups, as the case may require, to study and develop plans for the coordination and most effective use of existing domestic transportation facilities.

6. To facilitate unity of policy and action and the use of existing governmental services, the heads of each of the following departments and agencies shall designate a responsible representative or representatives to maintain formal liaison with the Office of Defense Transportation: The Department of War, the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the United States Maritime Commission, the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Federal Works Agency, the Federal Loan Agency, the Board of Investigation and Research appointed under the Transportation Act of 1940, the Office of Production Management, the Office of Price Administration, the Economic Defense Board, and such additional departments and agencies as the President may subsequently designate.

7. There shall be within the Office of Defense Transportation a Division of Railway Transport, a Division of Motor Transport, a Division of Inland Waterway Transport, a Division of Coastwise and Intercoastal Transport, and such other operating and staff divisions as the Director may determine. The Director may provide for the internal management of the Office of Defense Transportation and shall obtain the President's approval for the appointment of the heads of the above divisions and such other divisions as may be established.

8. Within the limits of such funds as may be appropriated or allocated to the Office of Defense Transportation, the Director may employ necessary personnel and make provision for the necessary supplies, facilities, and services. However, the Office of Defense Transportation shall use such statistical, informational, fiscal, personnel, and other general business services and facilities as may be made available through the Office for Emergency Management.

Signature of Franklin D. Roosevelt

The White House,
December 18, 1941.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Executive Order 8989—Establishing the Office of Defense Transportation in the Executive Office of the President and Defining Its Functions and Duties Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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